Climate changes are evident throughout Burkina Faso. The eastern and southwestern parts of the country, which generally have more favourable weather, are increasingly hit by high temperatures and pockets of drought. Due to its geographical position, Burkina Faso is characterized by a dry tropical climate which alternates between a short rainy season and a long dry season. The country’s climate is prone to strong seasonal and annual variation due to its location in the hinterland and within the confines of the Sahara. The country has three climatic zones: the Sahelian zone in the north receiving less than 600mm average annual rainfall; the north-sudanian zone in the center receiving an average annual rainfall between 600 and 900mm; and the south-sudanian zone in the south with an average annual rainfall in excess of 900mm[1].

Since 1975 annual average temperatures have been observed to increase by 0.6°C (USAID 2012). Furthermore, the increase in the average yearly temperatures of has been registered of approximately 0.10°C per decade from 1901–2013 (USAID 2017), with a warming of 0.26°C per decade over the last 30 years (USAID 2017). According to projections, by 2050, a 1.4 - 1.6°C rise in temperatures is expected (UNDP 2021) with temperature projected to increase by 3-4°C by 2080-2099 (World Bank 2021). Temperature increases vary across the country, with higher temperatures expected in the north, the southwest, and in the dry season (Potsdam Institute 2020; World Bank 2021) [1].

Climate change is having significant impacts on the Sahel region, including more rainfall variability, more extreme events like droughts, floods, and higher temperatures over time that will rise faster than the other regions. [2].

These effects can potentially trigger cascading risks for local livelihoods (especially agriculture and pastoralism), food security, communal and state-citizen relations, and could lead to more displacement. Indeed, Burkina Faso’s economy is largely based on agriculture, which employs 80% of the workforce[2].

Moreover, in Burkina Faso, 80% of the population lives on agriculture and livestock. In one of the poorest countries in the world, the effects of climate change cause even more hunger and threaten the subsistence of the inhabitant [3].


Burkina Faso has done very little to cause global warming. The country’s national GHG inventory estimated the country’s annual share global CO2 emissions to be 0.01% (2020).  Per capita emissions equalled 0.66 tonnes of CO2 in 2016.

The agriculture sector was the major source of GHG emissions in 2016, with 23 million tonnes emitted, followed by the Land-Use Change and Forestry sector and then by other fuel combustion [4].  

Despite this. climate change had and is having adverse impacts on the country’s environment and on the population livelihood [4].


Key policies and governance approach

Up to now, in response to the provisions of these protocols, it has developed and adopted a number of policy and strategy documents relating to climate change. These include: the National Strategy for implementing the Climate Change Convention adopted in 2001, the National Action Program for Adaptation to Climate Change (NAPA) in 2007, The development of a framework NAMA (2008), The National Adaptation Plan (NAP, 2014) [5].

To address and follow up climate change issues, a Permanent Secretariat of the National Council for Management of the Environment (SP/CONAGECE) was created within the ministry responsible for the environment and which will subsequently be transformed into the National Council for the Environment and Sustainable Development (SP/CONEDD) with expanded responsibilities.

In 1995, Burkina Faso established the Inter-Ministerial Committee to Implement the Actions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (IMCIAC). This committee has been fully involved in the preparation of the first National Communication on climate change [5].

Burkina Faso has submitted in 2015 its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the UNFCCC setting targets of GHG emission reductions by 2030, as indicated: 6.6% (unconditional), 11.6% (hybrid conditional) or 36.95% (adaptation co-benefits) reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 [5].

Based on the objectives defined in the UNFCCC directives, Burkina Faso finalized its National Climate Change Adaptation Plan (NAP) in 2015, which includes specific sectoral adaptation actions and a country-wide strategy. Reducing Burkina Faso's vulnerability to climate change requires the implementation of several integrated measures to strengthen agricultural production and water resource management, including systematic assessment of hydrometeorological risks and provision of early warnings. Other efforts focus on restoring degraded areas, improving sanitation services, protecting wildlife and forests, and promoting alternative energy sources. Adaptation actions at the community level are needed to translate the objectives of the many sectoral plans and policies already adopted in the country into specific results on the ground [6].


Successes and remaining challenges 

Burkina Faso’s NAP remains an indispensable reference tool for adaptation to climate change at the national level. This instrument should make it possible to link the efforts of the different actors (politicians, researchers, communicators, the private sector, local governments, technical and financial partners) to reduce the country’s vulnerability, increase its resilience, and better manage its development. The involvement of actors at all levels will be essential to the success of the NAP’s implementation [7]. 

Even though action declined in the NAP has been incorporated into the two National Economic and Social Development Plans, which covered the period 2016–2020 and 2021-2025, Burkina Faso has not yet developed its long-term adaptation and mitigation strategy mainly due to its high cost [8].


Initiatives and Development Plans

In Burkina Faso’s NAP, climate change has a strong role and the plan’s vision is articulated as follows: Burkina Faso manages its economic and social development more effectively thanks to the implementation of planning mechanisms and measures that consider resilience and adaptation to climate change from the perspective of 2050.”

This new vision has the merit of ensuring greater consideration of climate change in development policies and strategies through three main actions [8]: (i) the application, in policy and strategy formulation, of an approach sensitive to climate change; (ii) the reallocation of funding to particularly vulnerable sectors and regions and (iii) the translation of national  budget priorities and allocations into sectoral and local government plans and budgets. 

The country has developed and adopted its first National Economic and Social Development Plan, which covered the period 2016–2020 and has adopted a new national development framework for the period 2021-2025, known as the "Second National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES-II)", which was drawn up in a participatory manner and adopted by the Council of Ministers at its meeting on 30 July 2021. The PNDES-II aims to make the country "a nation of peace and democracy, resilient, united and supportive, transforming the structure of its economy to achieve strong, inclusive and sustainable growth". It will serve as a federating framework for the implementation of development policies and programmes. Its implementation will be done in a synergy of action with all the actors concerned, namely the State, local authorities, the private sector, civil society, Burkinabè abroad and development partners [9].

From 2014 to 2017, a Study on the development of low-carbon methodologies for rural development through the efficient use of local resources” was undertaken by the Ministry of Environment, Green Economy, and Climate Change (MEEVCC), the Government of Burkina Faso, in collaboration with the Japan International Research Centre for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) and funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Government of Japan. The objective of the project was to achieve effective and efficient agricultural and rural development while contributing to climate change  mitigation and adaptation through the development of methodologies and techniques which efficiently use natural resources and provide benefits to local communities [10].

Moreover, since 2018, the World Bank is undertaking a project called “Strengthening Climate Resilience Project for Burkina Faso” which objective is to improve the country’s hydro-meteorological, climate and early warning services, and improve access to such services by targeted sectors and communities. This project has five components [11].


Goals and Ambitions

The National Adaptation Plan (NAP) aims, in the medium and long term, to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change by minimizing, reducing or avoiding risks and improving the capacity to adapt to climate change and seeks to promote the integration of climate change adaptation into development goals.

The country has also explicitly highlighted the country’s vulnerability to climate change in the its PNDES I and II listing it as one of the principal theaters to their development and for reaching their objectives [1].



[7], [8], [12], [13]

Burkina Faso intends to manage its economic and social development more efficiently by implementing planning mechanisms and measures taking account of resilience and adaptation to climate change between now and 2050. 
In long-term, adaptation actions will help protect accelerated growth pillars; ensure sustainable food and nutrition security; preserve water resources and improve access to sanitation; protect persons and goods from extreme climate events and natural disasters; protect and improve the functioning of natural ecosystems and protect and improve public health.

To make the NAP operational, it is recommended a fivefold strategy:

  • long-term capacity building of institutional frameworks
    involved in adaptation to climate change;
  • strengthening of information systems;
  • implementation of predictable, effective, and sustainable financial mechanisms;
  • reduction of the country’s overall vulnerability to climate change;
  • systematic integration of climate change adaptation into
    development policies and strategies.