Support to the Union of the Comoros for strengthening resilience to climate change

At a glance

2016-05-01 to 2019-01-01
Active programmes
Ministry of Production, Environment, Energy, Industry and Handicrafts, Vice-Presidency in charge of the Ministry of Finance, Budget, Economy, Investment and External Trade
Total budget
3,00 M€
GCCA priority area(s)

The Government of the Comoros has defined a firm political will by placing the fight against climate change at the same level of priority as the fight against poverty. Thus, the Comorian authorities have a clear purpose of "leading the country on the path of sustainable growth and green, climate-resilient and low-carbon development"; a vision stemming from the spirit of the Itsandra manifesto adopted in December 2011, on the partnership for green development in the Union of the Comoros.

The main climate issues related to the project are defined as follows: (i) environmental protection to effectively combat the impacts of climate change, (ii) the management of up-to-date geographic information systems closely linked to building resilience to CC impacts with decision-making based on CC-related risk mapping, (iii) education and awareness of all levels for a better understanding of issues related to CC and (iv) strengthening the technical and material capacities of stakeholders in terms of climate change. This facilitates CC mainstreaming into government strategies and national planning processes as well as the coordination and monitoring of development actions.


Small island developing state (SIDS), the Union of the Comoros is an archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean with a cramped fertile volcanic area (2,170 km2), high altitude areas and varied microclimates, and biodiversity classified as a global "hotspot". Densely populated (800,000 inhabitants and 395 inhabitants/km2), the country is economically and socially largely based on agriculture, which is not enough to cover the food needs of the population. Demographic pressure is putting strong constraints on the environment, already affected by climate change. The population is expected to double in 50 years and more than 42% live below the national poverty line. Malnutrition is responsible for 43% of infant mortality.

The economy is rural (72% of the population) and is based on agriculture, livestock and fishing (57% of the active population). 80% of food/subsistence production (bananas, tubers, legumes, coconut, etc.) is self-consumed within family micro-farms with low yields - often practicing polyculture.

Terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems are threatened by human pressure and climate change. The natural resources (water, fauna, flora, soil), on which the Comorian economy and society are based, are weakened. Forest areas are shrinking to cultivate new agricultural plots, accentuating erosion, the reduction of water reserves (groundwater and fresh water), resulting in a loss of soil fertility. Deforestation provides timber and especially firewood for cooking food and distilling the essential oil of Ylang.

Thus, the Comoros are both highly dependent on imports for their food security, widening the country's trade balance deficit, and sensitive to exogenous shocks. 70% of food needs in volume are covered by imports (flour, vegetables - rice - oil - sugar - frozen meat products, etc.), i.e. 44% of imports of goods, 31% in value and 29% of GDP.

Nevertheless, in addition to the adoption of sectoral policies, strategies and action plans, the Comoros ratified more than 14 multilateral agreements on the environment, including the Paris Agreement.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
3,000,000.00 €

Overall objective

Overall objective:

Contribute to the development and poverty reduction efforts of the Union of the Comoros by strengthening resilience to climate change.

Specific objective

Improve consideration of climate change by national and local actors in strategies, projects as well as planning, coordination and monitoring mechanisms.

These objectives shall be achieved through:

  • the establishment of mechanisms and tools for data management, capitalization and dissemination of information on climate change;
  • strengthening the capacity of key stakeholders;
  • supporting the integration of climate change into develoment strategies, at national and local level; and implementing local pilot actions to improve resilience and the living conditions of vulnerable populations.


Mechanisms and tools for data management, consolidation and dissemination in relation to climate change are operational and shared by the main actors.

Basic cartographic data are updated through the acquisition and processing of satellite images and aerial photos and the preparation of base maps and ortho-photo maps. A national geographical information system is developed to enable the sharing of geographical information in relation to climate change. The project also supports the consolidation and sharing of climate-related experiences and data, notably through the production of guidelines on good practices and locally appropriate approaches and techniques.

The capacities of key climate change stakeholders are strengthened, and climate change mainstreaming is improved in government strategies and in national development planning, coordination and monitoring processes.

This component includes information and awareness raising activities on climate change and adaptation strategies; capacity building in relation to climate change mainstreaming and the response to climate change; the strengthening of mechanisms for mainstreaming climate change in the transport sector and in relation to the prevention and management of natural and climate-related risks; and support for cross-sectoral planning and coordination in relation to climate change.

Since September 2014, the project has supported the integration of climate change issues in the national development strategy currently under preparation.

Climate change resilience and the living conditions of vulnerable populations are improved through the implementation of pilot local actions.

Support is provided to decentralised actors for the integration of environmental and climate-related vulnerabilities in existing local development plans, and for the formulation of plans and specific actions with regard to climate change, environmental protection and risk management. Local pilot projects aimed at improving people's resilience to climate change and their living conditions are implemented. These projects, to be selected via a call for proposals, focus on adaptation and and should be related to water and sanitation, agriculture and fisheries, terrestrial and marine natural resource management, risk prevention and management.

  • Updating map data

    In order to update the cartographic data, the GCCA has acquired high-definition aerial photographic coverage which makes it possible to update all the databases and to have a reliable geographical information system -GIS-. The high definition images cover Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli.

  • Capitalisation and sharing of experiences and data in the field of climate change

Capitalisation and sharing of experiences and data in the field of climate change, including the production of guides and guidelines on good practices, approaches and technologies adapted to the local context; the strengthening of national documentation centres; and the establishment of a clearinghouse/network at the level of the DGE and the University.

  • Information and awareness on climate change

    The GCCA has implemented a communication and advocacy strategy to promote knowledge and integration of climate change within government institutions, with civil society organisations, the private sector and the education sector as well as with of the Comorian population

  • Production of tools and sharing of geographical information relating to climate change

The acquisition and updating of cartographic data, production of tools and sharing of geographical information relating to climate change, among others:

– The creation of a national GIS (geographic information system) database

– The development of vulnerability maps

– Sharing data and making it available to decision-makers for decision support

– Training of GIS users

– The tracking system

– Technical and material support to services managing climate, socio-economic, environmental and planning data at the national level.

Renforcement de la planification et coordination intersectorielle -

  • Renforcement de la planification et coordination intersectorielle nationale sur les aspects du changement climatique, y compris la structuration d'un groupe de travail sur le changement climatique; et l'amélioration des systèmes nationaux de suivi, reporting et planification des actions liées au changement climatique

  • Strengthening intersectoral planning and coordination

Strengthening of national intersectoral planning and coordination on climate change, including the structuring of a working group on climate change; and improving national systems for monitoring, reporting and planning actions related to climate change

  • Strengthening climate change mainstreaming mechanisms

Strengthening mechanisms for integrating climate change into the "transport" and "prevention and management of natural and climate risks" sectors, in particular through an assessment of policies, legislation, regulations, strategies and plans; an assessment of the economic impacts of climate change; a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the transport sector including climate-related aspects; formulating proposals for mainstreaming climate change, including into budgeting and monitoring systems; and the production of guides and guidelines for the two sectors concerned;

  • Implementation of 11 pilot projects in the field for adaptation and mitigation to support the most vulnerable groups.

Achievements to date
  • Support to the Government in the framework of participation of all COPs since COP 21;
  • The updating of the basic map data of the islands of Grande Comore, Anjouan and Mohéli (first basic DC maps) was initiated;
  • Collecting existing data and background information on climate change;
  • Mapping coastal ecosystems and geomorphological structures;
  • Mapping risks related to climate change on the basis of phenomena: increased temperatures, changes in predictions, changes in the regime of vents, sea level rise, changes in climatic oscillations;
  • The preparation and launch of a call for proposals for pilot projects, to increase resilience and adaptation to climate change, leading to the financing, implementation and monitoring of 11 pilot projects resilient to climate change and contributing to the improvement of the living conditions of the most vulnerable populations.
  • Capacity building on: base map update tools, data collection and aerial image processing, GIS for staff of National Data Management Institutions (climate, socio-economic, environmental and planning), on the creation and maintenance of a website, IT equipment support to National Data Management Institutions for their operationalization
  • Studies on: the feasibility of a Climate Observatory, the impact of climate change on the transport sectors; the economic impact of climate change on the Union of the Comoros; the risk of cyclones in the Comoros Islands, data collection, documentation and comments.

Challenges and lessons learned
  • The measures taken by the Government at the start of the project demonstrate its willingness and commitment to this action;
  • In terms of resilience against climate change, a number of activities are already underway under EU funding (regional projects or via grants to civil society) or other donors. A matrix of donors has made it possible to identify the activities that have been carried out in this area to date. This intelligence is particularly useful to avoid duplication, better coordinate support in materials / training and capacity building, as well as to target the themes of the call for proposals planned under this project. The expertise made available under the GCCA ACP Facility has prepared a first matrix of these donors.
  • The acquisition of digital aerial images has created a national interest because of the critical importance of these images for all sectors - including private - and development projects. The operational phase of the AMCC programme ends in January 2019, it is essential to continue thinking about the development and use of high-resolution digital air coverage of the Comoros, in particular by laying the foundations and providing the necessary support within the main institutions (CATI/DGSC, SIG/DGEF, Herbarium and Geomatics Laboratory/UDC) with a view to ensuring that they: (i) data storage and management through databases, (ii) support for the establishment of a geo-portal for online data sharing and (iii) popularization of the variety of potential data applications (habitat mapping, introduction to the land register, agricultural statistics, preservation, environmental management).