Addressing accelerating climate change-induced urban-to-rural migration through Low Emissions Climate Resilient Agro-Spatial Development in Togo [Togo LECR – ASD Programme]

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Addressing accelerating climate change-induced urban-to-rural migration through Low Emissions Climate Resilient Agro-Spatial Development in Togo [Togo LECR – ASD Programme]

Changing climatic conditions and ecological hazards are an important migration driver in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the threats are slow in the making. These include rising temperatures, desertification, biodiversity loss, land and forest degradation. On top of this is the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme climatic events such as floods and droughts, which have led to major displacements in the past years. Climate change is also pushing rural-to-urban migration in Togo to the edge of the absorptive capacity of urban centres limiting their ability to manage adequately a growing flow of people in search for a better life. Direct consequences of harsher climatic conditions include the observed abandonment of rural areas correlated with lost interest in agricultural production and natural resources rapid depletion, whereas urban expanses evidence the acceleration of informal settlements formation in slums with significant impacts on health, poverty and social instability, also aggravated by climate change. Between 1995 and 2008, Togo was faced with heavy rains, sources of flooding which led to the displacement of populations in the country. In fact, according to the second communication on climate change (UNDP-Togolese Republic, 2010), Togo has experienced, on July 3, 1995, heavy rains that affected 125,000 people only in the city of Lomé and its surroundings. Twelve years later, the 2007 flood resulted in 42 loss of human life in the Savannah and the Maritime regions, 245,869 victims and 51,902 destructions of homes, estimated at 2,595,100,000 Francs CFA. Besides, 10,957 ha of crops were damaged. Other heavy rains which occurred the following year caused some 141,331 disaster victims throughout the country, particularly in the Maritime and the Savannah regions. In total, these three floods, therefore, caused the displacement of 512,200 people, who had to leave their homes.

Therefore, effective adaptation measures are needed in many under-deserved rural areas to maintain populations, keep them active in supporting low emissions and climate resilient activities; while at the same time halting the migration of poor populations towards more vulnerable urban sites. Primarily designed to promote holistic adaptation and resilience in response to the multisectoral vulnerability to which populations and ecosystems are exposed to across the country—affecting agriculture, water resources, energy production, coastal and marine ecosystems from coastal climate change impacts and sea level rise related risks, salination and accelerated coastal erosion, human settlement and health—well undertaken, this programme will also fast-track a move towards an emissions development pathway unlike the current model favouring crowding of displaced population in high carbon intensive cities.

The programme is informed by the concept of Providing Urban amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) to address the underlining causal effect between climate vulnerabilities and rural- to-urban migration while further mitigating income shocks due to seasonality, market volatility and climate variability. It follows an agro-spatia approach in the pursuit of low emissions and climate resilient development, by creating climate-smart agro-processing complexes integrated into climate-smart villages or smaller towns for the resilience of ecosystems, populations and rural economy in the face of climate change. The Programme will build not only resilience but also adaptation to future climate change already underway. Its activities target mainly rural areas and smaller towns where agriculture resilience boosted by sustainable and modern farming techniques and value addition in processing of crops are also seen as the bedrock of growth and employment. Its strong nexus with access to: energy, water and connectivity offers the prospect of substantially enhanced rural incomes by a factor of three or more. Both climate-smart villages and climate-smart agro-processing will enable a wide range of interventions such as precision farming including precision irrigation and fertigation; seasonal weather forecasts and long-range predictions; more appropriately chosen crops, in particular, higher productive crops and improved seeds; reduction in agricultural losses (through the promotion of post-harvest drying methods and cold storage etc.); production of higher added value through processing that enables higher prices in markets; connectivity and creation and/or strengthening of cooperatives, both able to provide more control over sales; etc.

The executing entity, BOAD will support the government of Togo in the implementation of this programme structured around 3 main components: (1) Infrastructure building for climate-smart villages and agro-processing complexes. These investments will be made nearby existing villages, townships and towns; (2) Setting up a financial mechanism including the creation of a two-window fund and a special purpose vehicle (SPV). The first window to support agro-based resilient economic activities in the climate-smart villages; the second will support enabling activities and small scale community-based adaptation practices; and the SPV for the expansion of the model of the low emissions and climate resilient agro-spatial development to other villages to replicate both the climate-smart villages and the agro-processing complexes; (3) Policy interventions, technical assistance and capacity building for local communities to adopt a low emission and climate-smart and resilient agro-spatial development approach.

Cover date 28 January 2021
Document type Concept note
Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement (West African Development Bank)