Promoting Climate Change Adaptation in a context of multiple crises in Burkina Faso: The role of civil servants

Project summary

The project aims at identifying and studying the potentialities for the civil servants to promote climate change adaptation and sustainable development within a context of overlapping crises. The climate crisis affects the livelihood of millions of people in Burkina Faso and increase human migration. In addition, a security and humanitarian crisis with frequent jihadist attacks on both civilians and public institutions challenge everyday life in large parts of the country, and the country experiences a (chronic) health crisis with epidemics and infectious diseases threatening the health of the population. This project studies the intersection of these crises from the perspective of civil servants. More specifically we examine ethnographically how civil servants working in the ministry responsible for the Climate Change Adaptation initiatives and civil servants in other key ministries work to 'keep the wheels running' and how they understand their own roles in policy promotion and implementation in the current context of multiple crises. An important outcome of this project is the provision of in-depth understanding of how civil servants working in the 'core of the state' understand the challenges and potentialities for the enhancement of sustainable development in Burkina Faso and how focus and coordination of CCA initatives can be strengthened in a context of multiple crises. The project takes an ethnographic approach exploring the professional as well as the personal narratives of a number of civil servants. In addition, the project examines the social life of key documents (particularly the National Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation) in order to examine the stakes and the balance of power surrounding these documents. The overall design of the project takes the current fragile security situation in Burkina Faso into account through a combination of short-term institutional fieldwork with extensive use of digital research methods. Capacity strengthening both in relation to junior and senior scholars and in relation to involved research participants is an essential component of this project. A total of four PhD fellows (three from Burkina Faso and one from Denmark) are included in the project and the project invites ihe involved interlocutors, the civil servants, to become active participants in the research project through the establishment of a series of stakeholder engagement platforms.

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