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PRESS RELEASE

World Bank Approves Funds to Boost Niger’s Resilience to Natural Hazards and Climate Change

December 11, 2013

WASHINGTON, December 11, 2013 - The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$106.65 million to strengthen Niger’s resilience to climate change and natural hazards such as drought and flooding in the communities within the Tillabéri, Niamey, Dosso and Diffa regions along the Niger and Komadougou Rivers.

“The Niger Government has made important strides to address drought and food insecurity, two major risks to Nigeriens,” said World Bank Country Director for Niger Ousmane Diagana. “I am delighted to support today’s Project that will build upon those efforts and strengthen institutional capacity, boost implementation of Government disaster risk management initiatives, and help to incorporate climate change adaption into the country’s development strategies.”

Today’s funds will support the Disaster Risk Management and Urban Development Project, that aligns with Niger’s Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES) 2012-2015. The total estimated Project cost of US$106.65 million includes a US$100 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit, and a US$6.65 million grant provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF)’s Least Developed Countries’ Fund (LDCF).

“The actions in today’s Project will improve risk mitigation planning in urban areas and in upstream watersheds as well as emergency response capacities at the national level,” said Christoph Pusch, World Bank Practice Leader for Disaster Risk Management in the Africa Region. “These activities will promote climate change adaption in the country’s development strategies in a way that will benefit all Nigeriens, particularly the many poor farming families who are especially vulnerable to natural hazards.”

The financing will support a combination of infrastructure rehabilitation and disaster risk management works to ensure sustainability to future flooding events in the urban and rural areas of the four target regions. Physical investments involve, but are not limited to, new drainage canals and collectors in Niamey, Dosso, Kollo, Say, Tera and Tillabéri, rehabilitation of basic services and infrastructure for communities relocated after past flooding events, upstream watershed integrated flood risk mitigation measures involving sustainable land and water management techniques and river bank protection using plants and mechanical flood protection measures.

The Project includes activities designed to strengthen urban development and disaster risk management capacity for local governments and national agencies. This includes efforts such as technical assistance to local governments; support for disaster risk management skills such as risk-informed planning, early warning, preparedness and response capacities, and gender-sensitive climate change adaptation.  

Today’s project is designed to be flexible and allows the Government to request reallocation of resources so that these can be deployed speedily to respond to major emergencies. This flexible arrangement strengthens the county's financial preparedness against natural disasters.

“The 2012 flood in Niger destroyed over 115,000 ha of crops and 30,000 animals died, and the frequency and intensity of flooding in Niger is likely to increase due to climate change, population growth, insufficient planning and environmental degradation” said World Bank Task Team Leader Richard James. “This Project’s actions will contribute to Niger’s resilience and will have a positive impact on agricultural growth, which is the principal source of food and income for more than 80 percent of Niger’s population including rural and urban residents.”

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/242/AFR