At COP 27, UNOWAS with its partners convened two side events on the implementation of the Dakar Call to Action on climate change, peace and security
Dakar, 18 November 2022 – As part of the implementation of the Dakar Call to Action on Climate Change, Peace and Security in West Africa and the Sahel adopted at UNOWAS’ Regional Conference held in Dakar in April 2022, the United Nations Office for West Africa, and the Sahel (UNOWAS) organized two side events on Climate Change, Peace, and Security at the annual COP27 summit on the 15th and 17th of November.
The objective of both side events was to showcase the UN’s work to promote climate action for peace in the region in accordance with the three priorities outlined in the Call to Action, notably: evidence-based analysis and policymaking; integrated partnerships; and climate financing for sustaining peace.
Speaking via Videoconference, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Giovanie BIHA, emphasized, “the collaborative effort of the UN system and partners” and the importance of promoting climate action and peace as twin goals “given that climate adaptation and peacebuilding go hand in hand.”
Participants in both events stressed the high vulnerability of West Africa and the Sahel to climate change, which reduces access to arable land, to sources of income and livelihood, thereby increasing resource competition that can trigger conflict or intensify already existing tensions.
The discussions during the two side events underlined the need to streamline research, policy development and action, to prioritize solutions that are conflict sensitive, gender-informed and nature-based and to scale up women and youth locally led climate adaptation and innovations under the umbrella of the Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI). Participants further agreed to come together to explore options for climate funding that could benefit populations residing in both conflict-affected and conflict-prone locations in West Africa and the Sahel.
Among the key partners were the United Nations Office of the Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel (OSCDS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the African Union’s Great Green Wall Initiative, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Research Institute for Development (IRD).