By John C. Weber and Carmen Sotelo Montes
According to most climate forecasts, people in the West African Sahel— an arid to semi-arid belt stretching across northern Africa—can expect a hotter, drier and more variable climate this century. Already, environmental stresses are being felt and farming is increasingly more difficult in the region. But what do rural people in the Sahel perceive to be the reason for this changing climate? How vulnerable do they feel themselves to be? And, most importantly, what do they plan to do different in order to cope with the threats posed by the coming climate?
As part of an IFAD-funded project titled ‘Parkland trees and livelihoods: adapting to climate change in the West African Sahel’, we carried out a participatory analysis of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change involving approximately 500 men, women and children from 36 villages in the West African Sahelian countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. The analysis yielded some expected results, and some surprising insights. Read more. . .