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Benin adopts national legislation on climate change

Coastal erosion is one of the manifestations of climate change in Benin. Photo credits: UNDP Benin
28 June 2018, Benin - The Republic of Benin's National Assembly, on June 18, 2018, adopted a Law No. 2018-18 regulating climate change across the country. The adoption of this law by the National Assembly places Benin amongst the first countries to adopt national legislation on climate change. From now on, with this legislation, Benin can prevent, protect and manage the consequences of climate change, which threaten its population in the short, medium and long term.
"It is a major act that our country adopts this law and the Government supports this approach, " said José Didier Tonato, Minister of the Living Environment and Sustainable Development for MPs at the end of the vote. "You allow us to align ourselves with the international requirements of climate change management, especially to position Benin in the top position of the countries, which are in compliance with the UN Convention on Climate Change, but especially vis-à-vis the Paris Agreement to regulate the level of global warming", he added.
Benin's Climate Change Act aims to "... combat climate change and its negative effects and consequences and increase the resilience of living communities. Among other things, it makes it possible to take effective measures of response, adaptation and mitigation by setting specific objectives for sustainable economic and social development, security and energy efficiency, in accordance with the specific provisions of the relevant national and international legal instruments for climate change ".
The vote on the climate change bill in Benin is one of the main results of the partnership between the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Government of Benin with the collaboration of the Network of Benin Parliamentarians on Climate Change and Sustainable Development.
The process that led to the passage of this law lasted more than a year and went through several stages: (i) preparation of the draft bill under the supervision of UNDP and in the framework of the implementation of the Benin Preparation Project for access to the Green Climate Fund, funded by the German Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety; (ii) quality assurance of the basic version of the law by national experts, international experts from the United Nations Environment Programme, magistrates, bailiffs, notaries, lawyers, planners, local elected officials, climatologists, senior officials and senior diplomats; (iii) ownership and carrying of the law by parliamentarians through exchanges and workshops; and (iv) study in committee and adoption of the law.
For the purposes of this law, all development strategies and programs, at both national and local levels, to be developed or under development, must henceforth incorporate climate change in terms of measures and actions under the adaptation, mitigation, capacity building and technologies.
The manifestations of climate change in Benin are the decline of rains, rising temperatures, especially in the northern part of the country, drought, floods, and late and violent rains. These major climatic hazards affect livelihoods and patterns in the agriculture, water resources, coastal and forestry sectors. This has led to numerous impacts over the last three decades, in this case, the drop in agricultural yields, the disruption of agricultural calendars, the drop in water levels in dams for drinking water supply, the prolongation of the low-water period, the submersion of banks, etc. In addition, Benin is a coastal country. If nothing is done over the years the third of the coastline will disappear under the effect of the rise in sea level.
The promulgation of the law by the President of the Republic is expected in the coming days, as well as the taking of the various decrees of application. In addition, a large awareness campaign, training and educating people on the negative effects and consequences of climate change, will be organised.