Climate changes are evident throughout Burkina Faso. The eastern and southwestern parts of the country, which generally have more favourable weather, are increasingly hit by high temperatures and pockets of drought. The government is helping villagers dig wells and build small water reservoirs to better utilize the country’s scarce water resources.
Due to its geographical position, Burkina Faso is characterized by a dry tropical climate which alternates between a short rainy season and a long dry season. Burkina Faso’s climate is prone to strong seasonal and annual variation due to its location in the hinterland and within the confines of the Sahara. The country has three climatic zones: the Sahelian zone in the north receiving less than 600mm average annual rainfall; the north-sudanian zone in the center receiving an average annual rainfall between 600 and 900mm; and the south-sudanian zone in the south with an average annual rainfall in excess of 900mm.
Climate change may affect the Sahelian region of Africa through severe variations in rainfall, water shortage and low agricultural yield. This should amplify drought risks and evaporation, and reduce agricultural productivity (a 10% drop in rainfall is expected by 2050; GIEC, 1997). In addition, climate change will probably result in higher temperatures (a 1.4-1.6°C rise is expected by 2050; GIEC, 1997), potentially increasing the risk for forest fires or bushfires.
Values adopted by Government under the National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) were instrumental in assessing vulnerability and adaptation capacities to climate variability and change. Priority measures include (1) Ensuring disaster risk reduction is a national and local priority with a strong institutional implementation base, (2) Identify, assess and monitor disaster risks and enhance the early warning system, (3) Use knowledge, innovations and education to build a safe and resilient society at all levels, (4) Reduce underlying risk factors, and (5) Enhance disaster preparedness for efficient response at all levels.