The training took place on 21-23 June in Dakar, Senegal and was hosted by the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River Basin (OMVS). It brought together 33 participants from 16 basins mostly in Africa (Congo, Gambia, Great Lakes, lake Kivu/ river Ruzizi, Nile, North-Western Sahara Aquifer System, Orange, Okavango, Senegal, lake Victoria, Volta, Zambezi) as well as some basins in Eastern Europe (Dniester, Drin, Neman) and Central Asia (Chu Talas).
In the opening session, the recently elected/appointed High Commissioner of the Senegal Basin Development Organization explained that a main driver for the creation of his river basin organization in 1972 was the need to raise common resources to deal with recurring droughts in the Senegal basin which were eventually tackled through the construction of commonly owned water infrastructures. The last summit of heads of state in May 2017 had decided to tackle the climate change challenge by developing a climate investment plan. Other basins present also shared their experience. The Lake Victoria Basin Commission for example prepared a project proposal which was accepted by the Adaptation Fund. The Observatory for Sahara and Sahel became accredited to the Adaptation Fund and is in the process of doing so for the Green Climate Fund. The riparian countries in the Dniester River basin jointly developed a transboundary adaptation strategy and related implementation plan.
Transboundary cooperation in climate change adaptation is crucial to prevent mal-adaptation and make adaptation in shared basins more effective. However, many climate funds do not yet consider applications for joint interventions in transboundary basins. River basin organizations have an important role to play in transboundary basins: depending on their mandate, resources and structure, this role may range from knowledge generation on climate change and its impacts, knowledge sharing, experience sharing between member states and adaptation strategy development to monitoring and evaluation or even implementation of adaptation measures. River basin organizations need to find their “niche” and demonstrate their added value to submit applications to climate funds. Political buy-in from all basin countries is needed – in this regard, a strong transboundary agreement or arrangement in the basin can be useful.
These were some of the outcomes of a training on preparing bankable project proposals for financing climate change adaptation in transboundary basins which was organized for the first time by a partnership of UNECE, the International Network of Basin Organizations and banks: the World Bank, the African Water Facility/ African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank as well as the lead countries for climate change adaptation activities under the Water Convention, namely the Netherlands and Switzerland. The French Development Agency also contributed to the training.
Participants learned about definitions and concepts of climate change adaptation and finance, the project cycle, stages of preparing a project proposal and dos and don’ts in this process. The Bank representatives explained the different criteria for bankability, as well as the large variety of funds available. It was clarified that project proposals need to be adapted to the donor, technically sound and financially viable, and comply with environmental protection and social standards. In this respect, compliance with international water law is an important aspect to be underlined in fund applications.