The paper further describes the West Africa context in relation to the changing climate conditions it has been experiencing in the last decades. The third section analyses selected cases of disputes, tensions and conflicts around West Africa shared rivers. Cases analysed in the paper include: the middle valley of the Senegal River (between Senegal and Mauritania), the downstream half of the Niger River (between Nigeria and Niger), the Volta River (between Ghana and Burkina Faso), the southern part of the Lake Chad (between Cameroon and Nigeria).
The paper then analyses the common features of these cases. Finally, it suggests mechanisms for preventing and managing the risks of climate-induced water conflicts. These suggestions are meant to make transboundary watercourses spaces for cooperation instead of fields of conflicts and tensions
This paper reviews current knowledge of the potential impacts of climate change on water resour-ces in Africa and the possible limits, barriers or opportunities for adaptation to climate change in internationally-shared river basins. Africa faces significant challenges to water resources management in the form of high variability and regional scarcity, set within the context of generally weak institutional capacity. Management is further challenged by the transboundary nature of many of its river basins. Climate change, despite uncertainty about the detail of its impacts on water resources, is likely to exacerbate many of these challenges. River basins, and the riparian states that share them, differ in their capacities to adapt. Without appropriate cooperation adaptation may be limited and uneven. Further research to examine the factors and processes that are important for cooperation to lead to positive adaptation outcomes and the increased adaptive capacity of water management institutions is suggested.
In recent years more and more cases are noted where communities and even government authorities tend to blame upstream countries for phenomena such as deficits in discharges or rivers, floods, water weeds, etc… which, in many cases, appear to be rather linked to climate change and variability. The paper uses the examples of past, current and potential zones of tensions to analyse climate-induced risks of conflicts in West Africa. Illustrative cases analysed in this paper include: the downstream half of the Niger River (between Nigeria and Niger), the middle valley of the Senegal river (between Senegal and Mauritania) and the Volta River (between Ghana and Burkina Faso), the southern part of the Lake Chad (between Cameroon and Nigeria). Finally, the paper calls for the need for policy-makers’ and communities’ increased awareness on the impacts of climate change and variability on the region’s water resources. It also makes the case for strengthening basin-level and regional cooperation in hydro-climatic data collection, analysis and sharing.
The main objective of this study is to determine the role of dams and irrigation schemes in the overall economy and ecology of the Inner Niger Delta and the upstream region (extending across both Mali and Guinea). An integrated assessment has been conducted to determine the direct and indirect costs and benefits of different Niger River management regimes. This involved an analysis of i) potential changes to the hydrology, ii) subsequent ecological impacts, and iii) social and economic effects. Estimating the costs and benefits associated with dams in the Niger River basin required the use of various valuation techniques, such as the production function approach and the contingent valuation method.