The commune lies in the hilly western side of Benin and covers an area of approximately 876 square kilometres. It also has a population of more than 50,000 people (2002). Moreover, Copargo is home to the country’s youngest mayor – and one who is passionate about climate change adaptation.
What happened in Copargo has demontrated that the LoCAL programme, with its performance-based grant mechanism, increased the subnational government capacity to increase the resilience of their community.
Fakri Karim, LoCAL’s Programme Manager
The mayor is partially overlooking a project by LoCAL to support and maintain an important levee. The levee has helped in water management during times of draught, flooding and in counteracting the unpredictability of the weather due to climate change.
The water levee has transformed the livelihood of locals living close to it. The rehabilitated levee has shifted the land around it from a track prone to seasonal floods to a large area of farmland. The structure has also employed 15 locals, women and men, as opposed to two people previously.
The youngest mayor in Benin is no stranger to this kind of project. He is passionate about the subject and has majored in agronomy with a specialty in water management, graduating in 2012 from Cotonou to come back and serve his commune, which is in need of environmentally friendly solutions. He has also received an award from the Consultative Committee for Youth at the beginning of 2016 for his outstanding contribution.
In fact, the programme has been greatly beneficial to the local population, for instance, in expanding opportunities to new produce in their markets. Since, the availability of water does not anymore depend heavily on the rainy season, local farmers have gone beyond cultivating traditional crops like maize, sorghum or millet to venture into new territory, expanding their offerings to the market – further diversifying their sources of income.
“The sales of pepper have changed the way farmers deal with land management. Local farmers are seeing more revenue coming from diversifying their crops and that there is a demand for an array of produce” said Mr. Ouorou.
The mayor explained that the programme is doing so well, that there is a growing interest in funding 10 percent of it by the local municipality. The levee serves a variety of needs not only linked to the provision of water for crops, but also for drinking water for livestock and helping preventing the flooding of the area during the rainy season.
Because of Copargo’s unique location near the most mountainous region of Benin, a variety of crops can be cultivated in this area that might not be able to grow elsewhere.
Close by, the Atacora Department, a drier region, boasts three seasons – rainy, famine and Harmattan (a season of cool and dry winds running from October to November), the LoCAL programme is considering to support the construction of a levee, based on the experience in Copargo, that would help to counteract the changing weather and improve the livelihoods of the locals.
The LoCAL programme of UNCDF provides a mechanism to increase awareness and response to climate change at the local level, integrate climate change adaptation into local governments’ planning and budgeting systems, and increase the amount of finance available to local governments for climate change adaptation. LoCAL combines performance-based climate resilience grants (PBCRGs), with technical and capacity building support. It uses the demonstration effect to trigger further flows for local adaptation, including global climate finance for local authorities, through their central governments. LoCAL is supported by the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance and the governments of Belgium, Liechtenstein and Sweden.
For more information, please contact
LoCAL Programme Manager