Promoting the resilience of economies in semi-arid areas in Burkina Faso
‘Promoting the Resilience of Economies in Semi-arid Areas’ (PRISE for its English acronym) is a global, collaborative and applied research programme between multiple international partners and countries, including Burkina Faso. It is aimed at catalysing inclusive and resilient development in response to climate change in semi-arid lands. PRISE's vision for climate resilience is one of economic and social development which at the same time eradicates poverty and maximises people's capacity to adapt to climate change (PRESA, 2019). The programme consists of a consortium established under the Collaborative Research Initiative on Adaptation in Africa and Asia (IRCAAA in French and CARIAA in English) (Ludi et al., 2018) and includes several international research groups from different sectors – principally climate migration, climate change and access to drinking water; tourism and climate change and economic opportunities and climate change. PRISE is particularly notable because it is driven by resilience needs expressed by stakeholders that have ultimately been integrated into national strategies to strengthen Burkina Faso's planning documents.
Within the framework of PRISE, Burkina Faso has benefited from three research projects: P1, P3 and P7. P1 focuses on future migration. P3 is focused on the impacts of climate change on private actors in the cotton value chain. Finally, P7 centres on water governance in semi-arid lands. P7 specifically examined how agricultural communities in the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso – a semi-arid region of high food insecurity - manage water and land resources in the context of increasing climate variability (Newborne and Gansaonré, 2017). P1, P3 and P7 act as interconnected and complementary projects within this broader research context. For example, on the issue of water resources, consequences from dam construction (e.g. sedimentation, reduced water flow) have resulted in increased migration, particularly to urban areas. If these migrants find jobs they have the opportunity to save money and return to their land to pursue other activities such as cotton development in support of traditional agropastoralism. Similarly, migration can promote remittances to finance and enhance cotton-growing activities.