FAO Regional Office for Africa

Green Climate Fund approves new project to strengthen climate resilience of communities in Benin’s Ouémé river basin

The 6-year project is co-financed and implemented by the Government of Benin and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization

© FAO

18 July 2022Cotonou - The Government of Benin and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Benin welcomes the decision by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to approve the Ouémé Basin Climate Resilience Initiative (OCRI) which aims to strengthen the climate resilience of communities living in the area, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forestry and land use. More than a quarter of a million people in Benin will directly benefit from the Initiative, and 6 million will indirectly benefit.

"We are pleased to see the formal approval of this major project which is the result of good collaboration between FAO, the GCF and the Government of Benin. I look forward to working together to see real benefits for the people of Benin, through better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life,” FAO Representative in Benin, Isaias Angue Obama Oyana, said. 

Agriculture is the driving force behind livelihoods and food security in Benin, but it is also highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Changes in temperature and rainfall, as well as seasonal variations in Benin's Ouémé Basin, threaten the region's agricultural productivity and, consequently, the livelihoods and food security of the people who depend on agriculture for their well-being. About 61% of the population of the Ouémé Basin - mainly smallholders - work in the agricultural sector, which is also the main economic sector in the region.

Building Climate Resilience in the Ouémé Basin  

The project will reduce the vulnerability of rural communities to climate stressors and extreme weather events, such as flash floods and droughts, and will also improve agricultural productivity and strengthen the climate resilience of the entire population of the Ouémé basin through agroforestry and climate-resilient agriculture. A comprehensive and integrated approach to basin management, combined with the strengthening of climate-resilient value chains (for maize, cashew, shea and mango), and the institutionalization of integrated, low-carbon and climate-resilient management in the Ouémé basin, will ensure the long-term sustainability of the project and its potential for expansion.

Using Farmer Field Schools (FFS) and Dimitra clubs (discussion and decision-making groups of women, men and young people) will allow communities to engage in a process of transformation of social and gender norms in order to facilitate gender equality, social mobilization and participation of rural populations in the economic, political and social life of their communities.

Approximately 330,000 smallholder farmers will directly benefit from the project's activities, while the basin's population of 6 million people will benefit indirectly. Best practices in climate-resilient land and water management will be applied to 95,000 ha in the Ouémé basin.

Partnership for Benin’s future

With a total value of US$35 million ($18M from the Green Climate Fund, $17M in co-financing), the project is co-financed in Benin by FAO, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP), the Ministry of the Living Environment and Sustainable Development (MCVDD) and the National Fund for Environment and Climate (FNEC).

The six-year project will be implemented in partnership with FNEC and MCVDD, as well as MAEP through projects funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). As an entity accredited by the GCF and a specialized agency of the United Nations, FAO will use its expertise in the field

agricultural practices and the sustainable management of natural resources to guarantee the achievement of the objectives of the project.

Through innovative partnerships with the National Fund for Agricultural Development (FNDA) and local microfinance institutions, the project aims to increase smallholder farmers' access to microfinance services, contributing to scale-up and long-term sustainability of OCRI's activities.