Madagascar The Mandrare River, greatly reduced after three years of drought, ori- ginates in Andohahela SE Madagascar
© Meg Gawler / WWF


Climate change is altering the very fabric of the world around us. Globally, changes in atmospheric conditions are being accompanied by changes in precipitation patterns, sea level, air and ocean temperature, and the very chemistry of the ocean itself.

The impacts of climate change in Madagascar are already evident. For example, in 2005 bleaching events associated with warm ocean temperatures affected up to 80% of coral coverage, along with anemones and giant clams, on the northeast coast of Madagascar. These changes have serious implications for the unique biodiversity, natural resources, and human communities of the island nation of Madagascar, changing both the basic characteristics of the environment and the delivery of ecosystems services on which local communities depend.

in Madagascar in recent years, attention has mainly focused on mitigation actions motivated by the possibility of raising funds from carbon markets. However, Madagascar ranks among the lowest carbon emitting countries in the world. At the same time, its natural resources form the basis of the economy and the livelihoods of the 75% of rural population, and its biodiversity is one of the richest in the world.

Climate change has the potential to cause radical changes in ecosystem function and biodiversity across the island, threatening food and water supplies for Madagascar’s inhabitants, as well as the sociocultural fabric of society. In such a situation, the impacts of climate change need to be addressed in a holistic way, tackling both sides of the issue - reducing emissions caused by deforestation and increasing the resilience of systems.

Madagascar currently does not have the capacity needed to design and implement actions to reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Within Madagascar, there are few people with the skills and knowledge to identify specific vulnerabilities to climate change, or to successfully translate global strategies to local or national action. This means that the government, NGOs, and other organizations are in danger of being caught unaware by the negative effects of climate change on their work, and will have no plans to minimize vulnerability.

By increasing the ability of Malagasy people and organizations to take a proactive rather than a reactive approach to adaptation, this project will increase the effectiveness and decrease the costs of such action, as well as decreasing the cost of climate change overall. By increasing capacity within country, this project will also reduce the cost and greenhouse gas emissions associated with flying external experts into Madagascar to carry out climate adaptation work.

In January 2008, the WWF Madagascar & Western Indian Ocean Programme (MWIOPO) organised a workshop to assess the vulnerability of the marine and terrestrial biodiversity of Madagascar to climate change. The workshop identified a number of ways in which climate change is affecting Madagascar’s marine and terrestrial ecosystems, the links between land and sea, and human communities that depend on natural resources for subsistence and livelihoods.

It is clear, however, that incorporating climate change into conservation and development planning is a long-term need and requires a well established capacity within the country. Indeed, WWF MWIOPO is currently co-presiding the new Madagascar Protected Areas commission and has provided critical support to a national-level priority-setting to identify terrestrial and marine new protected areas to be implemented as part of the Durban declaration. WWF MWIOPO has also been mandated by the IOC to set up a regional network of marine protected areas of the Western Indian Ocean islands. All of this work will greatly benefit from the integration of resilience issues.

In addition, WWF MWIOPO is working closely with local communities in its priority ecoregions to promote sustainable natural resource management and improved livelihoods compatible with biodiversity conservation.

Tropical Storm Guillaume in the southwestern Indian Ocean close to Mauritius and Madagascar. Waves ... 
© MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC
Tropical Storm Guillaume in the southwestern Indian Ocean close to Mauritius and Madagascar. Waves in the region were as high 24 feet.
© MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

Overall Goal and Specific Objectives

Provide support to WWF and its conservation partners in developing in-country capacity for climate change analysis and adaptation.
1. WWF MWIOPO integrates climate change adaptation in its conservation work and is able to support its conservation partners in this area.

2. Awareness of climate change impacts on biodiversity and livelihoods is increased within the Malagasy conservation community, decision-makers and targeted local communities.

3. Climate change adaptation strategies and measures are implemented within WWF MWIOPO priority ecoregions
© WWF / Martin HARVEY
Baobab tree (Adansonia grandidieri) at sunset, Madagascar. The project covers both moist and dry forests.
© WWF / Martin HARVEY


Recruitment of Climate Change Programme Officer based in Antananarivo

• Preparation for national workshop on ‘Climate Change Adaptation Capacity Building’ for more than 80 conservation national and regional practitioners

• Preparation for workshop on integration of climate change considerations in ecoregional planning in Ala Maiky and Ala Atsinanana ecoregions

• Translation of key climate change adaptation documents and references

• Preparation of a Factsheet Series highlighting key climate change impacts and adaptation priorities in Madagascar

• Working with the Department General of Meteorology for preparation of an information brochure on Madagascar’s climate and climate change
© Martina Lippuner / WWF Madagascar
Kids in Ambatoriha, Northern Madagascar
© Martina Lippuner / WWF Madagascar


For the next 12 months the challenges for this project will be:

• Ensuring adequate engagement of national Government stakeholders in light of the current political instability and institutional arrangements for climate change

• Identifying key partners to maximize synergies in climate change activities in Madagascar

• Adequately engaging with international and national partners to develop tools and education materials suitable to the Malagasy context
© Martin Harvey / WWF
Storm clouds over the ocean. Bird Islands, Seychelles
© Martin Harvey / WWF