In Benin, like most other coastal nations, a high proportion of the population and the largest city are on the coast. In Benin's case, half the nation's population (over 3 million inhabitants) is on the coast and in the city of Cotonou, in the Gulf of Guinea. The coastal location is important to Cotonou's economy but the coastal region is vulnerable to sea-level rise, with potentially catastrophic impacts on the economy, the population and natural systems. The continued advance of the sea, coastal erosion and the rise in sea level, exacerbated by human activity on the coast, have medium- and long-term consequences that are already threatening vulnerable communities and disrupting the least-protected sensitive ecosystems. This paper focuses on the erosion of Benin's coastal region, and analyzes biophysical and socioeconomic vulnerability to the rising sea levels and coastal erosion affecting the city of Cotonou and its coastal plain; it also discusses the ways in which vulnerability could be reduced.

Village-Based Management of Woody Savanna and the Establishment of Woodlots for Carbon Sequestration project’s main activities are centered around three government-owned protected forest areas covering about 126,700 hectares. Eight government ministries and numerous local and national nongovernmental organizations will coordinate extensive planning to maintain a sustained yield of various forest products, especially timber, which is scarce in the target area. The management plan envisioned must integrate inventory and growth data, maps of vegetation types and acreage, site conditions, and all relevant social and economic data. The plan will indicate where reforestation or other improvements are needed and which species and stands of timber may be scheduled for harvesting in the years ahead. Fire protection systems, wildlife management, and sustainable livestock-grazing schemes are also crucial components of the plan.

Benin has shown a strong commitment to issues relating to the global environment and sustainable development. This project builds on that commitment by supplying the Government of Benin with the financial and technical resources necessary for them to:

  • Educate target groups of peasant farmers, herders, hunters, and traditional beekeepers on the crucial social, economic, and ecological role of trees in woody savannas
  • Educate women on how to build improved, energy-saving cooking stoves
  • Engage local people in the development of rules, techniques, and management plans for the sustainable, multipurpose use of forest resources
  • Empower local people to implement sustainable forest management plans.

Related Content

National Adaptation Plans in focus: Lessons from Benin

This country briefing on the process to formulate and implement National Adaptation Plans in Benin considers firstly the country context and the climate change risks. The groundwork for supporting NAPs is considered, covering the policy, planning and budgetary framework, priority adaptation sectors in Benin's NDC, climate assessments, the implementation of adaptation actions and plans thus far. The briefing contains a timeline of the process to formulate and implement NAPs in Benin. Challenges, successes and opportunities are also discussed.

ProDoc - Strengthening the Resilience of Rural Livelihoods and Sub-National Government System to Climate Risks and Variability in Benin

ProDoc for Strengthening the Resilience of Rural Livelihoods and Sub-National Government System to Climate Risks and Variability in Benin project. Dated 13 June 2017.

Strengthening the Resilience of Rural Livelihoods, Sub-National to Climate Risks and Variability in Benin

The "Strengthening the Resilience of Rural Livelihoods and Sub-National Government System to Climate Risks and Variability in Benin" project will work to ensure that climate change and gender are included in development plans and budgetary processes, improve agricultural infrastructure and human capacity to cope with changing rainfall patterns, and diversify income-generating activities on the community level.

From an economic perspective, the implementation of the project will generate agricultural revenues. Moreover, the construction phase will generate direct, indirect and temporary jobs in the five selected communes. Furthermore, this project targets sectors (agriculture in particular) that contribute greatly to the economy in Benin in terms of GDP and employment, and by supporting these sectors and improving their resilience, the project will make a clear and direct contribution to the economy. It will create opportunities for rural livelihood diversification leading to increased economic security and less reliance on climate-sensitive rural activities. It is expected that the introduction of new adaptive practices and appropriate technological packages into crop production will increase productivity in the long run. This will help rural communities and farmers to improve their overall production and better manage risks from droughts or floods. The project will improve the adaptive capacity of the most vulnerable community members and most disadvantaged groups.

The social benefits from this project are therefore manifold, since, with the acquired greater economic power, the concerned beneficiaries and communities will be able to invest in healthcare and education. Enhanced nutrition will be experienced by beneficiaries – through improved food supplies and a greater diversity of available food. With stronger health, beneficiaries will be able to engage more fully in livelihood activities. Regarding security threats in the country, the project aims at increasing cohesion between different local groups, through new infrastructure making essential resources such as water more accessible to all.

This project will have several environmental benefits, notably by improving land, soil and water management, mitigating land erosion and introducing improved agro-sylvo-pastoral practices and techniques. In all, 6237 hectares of land will be protected and improved through sustainable land management practices.

Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Thematic Area: 
POINT (2.2521972508485 9.0015580242753)
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$4.4 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$30 million
Project Details: 

Benin is vulnerable to climate change. Medium-term climate projections for its territory indicate important risks of insufficient levels of rain, increased evapotranspiration and more rainfall variability from one year to another. Therefore, droughts are more likely to become more and more intensive. This will impose significant challenges – most notably on growing rain-fed crops, natural tree regeneration and grazing animals. The National Land Planning scheme further describes droughts, floods and late rains as three major climatic risks. Projects aiming at preserving these areas are therefore a clear priority at the Government level.

Climate change has important impact on the agricultural sector. Agro-climatic parameters are constraining for the agricultural and forestry sector, especially in the South-West and in the Far-North that suffer frequent droughts. Academic work from Boko (1988), Afouda (1990), Houndénou (1999) et de Ogouwalé (2004), are showing that rainfall decrease, reduction in the length of the agricultural season, persistence of negative anomalies, minimal temperature increase is now typical for Benin’s climate. Rainfall regimes and agricultural production systems are therefore modified.

Direct impacts of climate change on agriculture concern crop behavior, pedological modifications and yield reduction. At the crop level, phenomenon of shortening of growth cycle and premature bloom are happening, due to the increase of temperature. Besides, agricultural yield will be seriously affected by the repeated effect of rainfall deficiencies and perturbations. Hence, integration of adaptation into the agricultural sector would be crucial for reducing vulnerability of the sector.

Available evidence suggests that the most certain manifestation of climate change on precipitation is an increase in variability while the directions of changes are much more uncertain. These predicted changes in climate, despite uncertainties, are likely to have an impact on farmers who engage in subsistence or rain-fed agriculture, the landless who are usually dependent on on-farm labor opportunities, and women-headed households.

Many environmental and adaptation benefits are expected to be delivered by the project at the national and local levels, among which:

  • Improved living conditions of agro-pastoral communities (through diversifying and increasing production and income).
  • Ensuring food security in concerned communes and villages
  • Better linkages between disaster risk management and climate change, by addressing existing vulnerabilities through development and operational planning, policy processes, and incentive systems.
  • Creating a virtuous circle by reducing risks induced by flooding.  
  • Emphasis on a multi-level, integrated approach to pastoral and agriculture development through support and funding for a range of initiatives to help communities and households undertake income generating activities, accompanied by awareness raising, diversification of income sources, information and capacity building.
  • Mainstreaming gender issues into pastoral development namely by: (i) addressing in all initiatives the specific needs of women and men (for instance, through well-tailored training programs, gender-sensitive income generation activities, etc.); and (ii) by identifying interventions that specifically target women as main beneficiaries (for instance, to better address households’ subsistence priority needs, cash transfers will be provided directly to women).
Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Outcome 1 - Climate change and gender are included in development plans and budgets at national and sub-national levels

Output 1.1. The capacity of the five targeted departments and municipalities and all relevant ministries to integrate gender responsive climate change adaptation in their planning and budgeting work is improved 

Output 1.2. The technical capacity of agricultural extension agents and local NGOs concerning resilience to climate change is improved

Output 1.3. The coordination and communication between actors is improved


Outcome 2 - Productive agricultural infrastructure and human skills are improved to cope with altered rainfall patterns

Output 2.1. Small scale climate resilient water harvesting infrastructures are designed and implemented in the five targeted municipalities

Output 2.2. Risks of floods and riverbanks erosion are reduced through the stabilization of slopes of critical riverbanks using bamboo plantation

Output 2.3. Resilient practices, such as drip irrigation techniques or short cycle improved seeds, are adopted in the five targeted municipalities


Outcome 3 - Communities’ adaptive capacity is improved by more diversified income generating activities

Output 3.1. Targeted population’s dependency and vulnerability to climate change effects is reduced through the introduction of alternative livelihoods

Output 3.2. All women of target population (3,281 women) are trained on alternative livelihoods to agriculture to better cope with climate change impacts

Output 3.3. The capacities of 300 rural entrepreneurs and 50 SMEs (aiming at 50% women) to develop business plans in the field of sustainable craft and small-scale manufacture are strengthened in order to stimulate employment and growth


Benjamin Larroquette
Regional Technical Advisor
News and Updates: 

Le PNUD et le FEM appuient le Bénin à renforcer la Résilience des populations face aux risques climatiques

Cotonou, le 11 décembre 2017 : Le Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD) a signé ce jour avec le Gouvernement du Bénin à travers le Ministère du Plan et du Développement un document de projet d’un montant total de 34 950 000 USD (dont une contribution de 4 450 000 du Fonds pour l’Environnement Mondial et du PNUD) pour aider le pays à renforcer la résilience des populations rurales face aux risques climatiques.


The United Nations Development Programme and GEF support Benin in strengthening resilience to climate risks

11 December 2017 Cotonou, Benin – The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) signed today with the Government of Benin, through the Ministry of Planning and Development, a project document for the total sum of U$ 34.95 million (including a contribution of US$4.45 million from the Global Environment Facility Least Developed Countries Fund and UNDP) to help the country strengthen rural populations’ resilience to climate risks.

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Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Outcome 1 - Climate change and gender are included in development plans and budgets at national and sub-national levels

Outcome 2 - Productive agricultural infrastructure and human skills are improved to cope with altered rainfall patterns

Outcome 3 - Communities’ adaptive capacity is improved by more diversified income generating activities

Construire un avenir énergétique durable au Bénin

De nouveaux projets soutenus par le PNUD et financés par le FEM renforcent la résilience et la durabilité du secteur de l'énergie au Bénin

Le Bénin fait face à de nombreux défis énergétiques. Seul un tiers de la population a accès à l'électricité, des interruptions fréquentes perturbent le service, plus de 80 % de l'électricité est importée, le bois demeure la source d’énergie principale pour la cuisson et un climat changeant entraîne une hausse des températures et des pressions accrues l’approvisionnement en énergie du pays.

BTOR - Benin, Saliou Toure (20-25 Nov 2016)

Purpose/Objective of Mission: 
- To participate in the Inception Workshop (IW) for the project on “Strengthening the resilience of the energy sector in Benin to the impacts of climate change”, representing UNDP-GEF;
- To discuss UNDP-GEF procedures for programing: Reporting, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)  Requirements; Project Implementation follow-up/deliverables, and also to assist the CO staff on general GEF portfolio management issues (ATLAS, GEF rules and regulations);
- To have field visit of the project sites