Dakar and Pikine, from planning to action
Published: 27 Jun 2021
Dakar and Pikine are moving forward in the fight against climate change, having completed their respective climate plans. These cities have identified actions, designed to provide climate and energy-related solutions, and ultimately solve the problems of the territory and its population.
After several years of work, Dakar and Pikine are currently finalising their respective plans on energy and climate, in line with the Determined National Contribution presented by Senegal in December 2020, to respond to the great challenge of climate change. The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) has accompanied both cities in this process of learning, dialogue and intense work, in which political actors, technicians and representatives of civil society have participated.
Climate change is already a reality in Senegal, which affects the life of its population: it is expected that in 2025 the availability of freshwater per inhabitant will be reduced by half, from 4500 m3 per year, to about 2000m3 per year. Several studies also project a reduction in rainfall of around 30% in 2030, accompanied by series of heavy rainfall episodes, an increase in average temperatures that could be near 2ºC and sea level rise of around 1.4mm per year.
If we focus on the region of Dakar, the problem of climate change is aggravated by the type of demographic and urban growth that the region has experienced, going from 400,000 inhabitants in the 70s, to more than 3.8 million inhabitants nowadays, according to the projections of the National Statistical Agency for 2020. This growth, caused largely by the rural exodus and the drought crises, has resulted in dramatic urban growth, characterised by informal settlements with poorly adapted infrastructures, making them especially vulnerable to the climate change effects, as evidenced by flood damages every year.
Acknowledging this challenge, several local authorities in the country and in the region are working to integrate the climate dimension into their development plans. The cities of Dakar and Pikine, supported by CoM SSA, have taken the lead in this work, and are currently in the finalisation and validation phase of their respective climate plans. It is now the time to reflect on the work done so far, identify best practices, and draw lessons learnt from the process. The city of Pikine shares the conclusions here in French.
A common effort: ongoing progress
Over the course of more than three years of intense activity, CoM SSA has supported the cities of Dakar and Pikine to conduct specialised studies on issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, vulnerability to climate change, access to energy, or, in the case of Dakar, energy efficiency in public buildings. Furthermore, a major effort has been made to sensitize and involve civil society in this process, and to train technical and political leaders on the challenges of climate change.
The city of Dakar has launched the DakClim (Dakar agit pour le Climat) platform, which brings together 28 civil society organizations working in sectors such as waste management, mitigation of the effects of floods, coastline management, or the development of green spaces. As for Pikine, the city has created 21 Local Committees on Sustainable Energy and Climate Change (CLED), that also develop citizen initiatives related to environmental management and climate change.
Additionally, and with the idea of making visible the importance and the impact of specific actions, both cities have carried out small projects to promote energy sustainability. The city of Dakar, for example, is currently building two hospital rooms with bioclimatic materials. The goal is to show how, building with the right materials, can drastically minimise electricity consumption. In this same line, Pikine has constructed two photovoltaic installations in public buildings (a secondary education centre and the city's great mosque), which highlights the importance and advantages of energy sufficiency.
Time for action and solutions to climate challenges
Having completed the planning stage, the key problems and challenges of the territory have been identified and the strategy to be followed has been defined. Both cities currently face, with the support of CoM SSA and the Spanish Cooperation Agency AECID, the challenge of implementing concrete actions, enabling them to have an impact and to offer solutions to the problems identified. This new stage is focussed on defining viable projects in sectors such as public transport, energy efficiency of buildings, renewable energy or waste management, capable of providing alternatives and of accomplishing the necessary transformation of the territory.
In this step, from planning to action, CoM SSA will continue to assist Dakar and Pikine, linking local authorities and key stakeholders, to facilitate access to financing mechanisms to encourage the mobilisation of funds. It is undoubtedly an ambitious and exciting challenge that cities face with great respect, with the certainty that they are working in the right direction to improve the quality of life of their population.