event 30 Aug 2022

Frexus at Stockholm WWW 2022 // Improving security and climate resilience with participatory processes

This year’s Stockholm World Water Week is centred around the topic of “Seeing the Unseen: The Value of Water”. The Frexus session explored how local communities in sub-Saharan Africa may improve their climate resilience and security situation through participatory processes by taking the discussion further on water, energy and food insecurity and its implications for stability and peace. With examples from the ground, the convenors reflected upon a process that builds on advanced analysis tools to enable a participatory creation and implementation of action plans.

SIWI Invite Improving security and climate resilience with participatory processes

© Water, Peace and Security Partnership

Developing solutions to water-related issues

The Stockholm World Water Week organised annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a leading conference on global water issues. World Water Week is the place to explore new ways of managing water and tackle humanity’s greatest challenges: from food security and health to agriculture, biodiversity, security and climate. This year, the event’s theme was “Seeing the Unseen: The Value of Water”, bringing together professionals, experts, innovators and entrepreneurs from various sectors and countries with the aim of developing solutions for water-related challenges.

The need for climate- and conflict-resilient communities

The online session "Improving security and climate resilience with participatory processes” was held on August 24th 2022. It aimed at taking the discussion on water, energy and food insecurity and its implications for local, national and regional stability and peace further by identifying opportunities and ways for participatory processes with local communities. The opening speech given by Ilaria Mussetti representing the European Union (EU), highlighted how participatory processes are needed for peaceful, climate-resilient communities to manage their lands, natural resources, and ecosystems. She underlined that the EU stands believes in the principle that there is never a one-size-fits-all solution for peacekeeping, and this is especially true for the heterogeneous societies of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Context-adapted tools in the service of decision-making

Provisional version of the local tool: conflict scenarios.

He highlighted the importance of the participatory approach during which the tool was developed, as it raised awareness, created spaces for dialogue between actors, and contributed to a common understanding of the interactions between natural resources, climate change, and security.

Joint development of the tools by the local communities under the auspice of the Frexus project. © GIZ

Impressions from the intervention area

The session then embarked on a panel discussion that aimed to understand how the participatory process works and what its added value compared to other approaches. Panellists from the Sahel region as well as the international development cooperation community discussed how the employment of advanced analysis tools can facilitate an intricate understanding of fragile contexts. The panel discussion was moderated by Susanne Schmeier, where Audrey Légat from Deltares elaborated on the importance to engage the local communities in the conflict resolution and decision-making process via appointing co-moderators and co-creators while gathering information and data for the tool.

Aminata Attinine Assane, the Mayor of Farray in Niger highlighted that the results of the Frexus project are already visible. Farmers and herders in her commune had ongoing conflicts over natural resources (especially water), but via jointly identifying the problems and thanks to dialogue, the conflict parties feel heard and there are less fights and deaths between the two livelihood groups.

Contribution of Aminata Attinine Assane (Mayor of Farray) at the Frexus session at Stockholm World Water Week 2022. © GIZ

Similarly, Jean Abdias Compaoré representing the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) highlighted that the added value of the participatory approach is a cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder dialogue on conflicts and the impacts of climate change. He mentioned that the different levels can be linked through a systemic conflict analysis to identify and categorise local and cross-border conflicts as well as the actors and propose integrated and regional solutions.

Lawali Dambo

Key messages and outlook

The highlights of the session were touched upon by Alexandre Mesnil, the Regional Coordinator of the Frexus project. He emphasized that the keyword of the participatory approach is its flexibility, which offers a shared vision as the base of conflict resolution. He pointed out that as we already have the capacities and tools to understand complex and fragile contexts. Conflicts around water, energy, and food insecurity, exacerbated by climate change can be addressed by actions that have been developed in and adapted to their local context, so it is time to act and move forward with the effective implementation of corresponding measures.

The discussion was thoroughly documented and will yield an outcome document that provides the target audience with hands-on insights on how to move from a sound understanding of a fragile situation to the implementation of corresponding measures that improve security and climate resilience for local communities.

The entire session (in French) is available to watch on the World Water Week YouTube channel : click here

Additional Resources to find out more about the Frexus project

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