Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Mali.


Mali's economy is based primarily on the exploitation of natural resources. Natural hazards and interrelated climate change  impacts lead to drought repetitions, floods, bushfires, destabilization of rainfall and uncertainty in an already sensitive agriculture sector. In 2007, Mali’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) laid the groundwork for a national plan of action on change and identified several poverty and economic growth criteria to be used in the evaluation and prioritization of proposed new projects. The plan focuses on the key vulnerable sectors identified in the NAPA and includes three focal areas: expanding agricultural extension services, securing water for agriculture, and domestic energy development. The cost requirement for climate adaptation action for Mali (2015-2020) is US$1.062 billion and shall be used for funding five major programs including forestry, agriculture and renewable energy.

Adaptation Options for Key Sectors

  • Introduce improved technologies including the provision of inputs to improve soil conditions, and water harvesting to secure productivity under variable rainfall patterns.
  • Seed priming, or soaking of millet and sorghum seeds in water prior to sowing, has been shown to increase yields by 50 percent and should be implemented. 
  • Increase intercropping with shade tree species to prevent loss of soil moisture, prevent wind-shed, and provide fodder for livestock Increasing the density of cowpea plantations to secure livestock fodder. 
  • Increase irrigation capacity.
  • Increase educational and outreach activities to change management practices best suited to climate change.
  • Improve pest and disease forecast and control. 
  • Increase supply, e.g. by using groundwater, building reservoirs. 
  • Improve or stabilize watershed management, particularly in flood plain areas where runoff sources are being degraded.
  • Increase water use efficiency, reduce water use, introduce water recycling, and improve  irrigation practices. 
  • Develop and introduce flood and drought monitoring and control systems to respond to changing conditions. 
  • Implement awareness-raising activities on the potential impacts of climate change on health, including projected changes in the outbreaks of water and insect-borne diseases, as well as appropriate response mechanisms for dealing with these.
  • Improve provision of sanitation and reliable access to potable water.

Gaps and Needs

  • Although downscaled climate information is available for several station across Malil, there is a need to improve the derivative statistics calculated from these data and link them to critical sectoral thresholds in order to better understand how climate change is likely to impact these sectors, particularly with regards to extreme events.
  • Specific research is required on new methods are necessary to improve water use in agriculture, in particular in those regions which are currently facing water deficits during the dry seasons.
  • An often ignored research gap is understanding what is needed (particularly at the community scale) to build and enhance the socio-economic capacity to adapt and to manage disaster risks. Indeed, a better understanding of the differential nature of vulnerability within the country’s high-risk geographic regions is needed. Analyses of sector impacts must be complemented by social, economic and political assessments of vulnerability and resilience.
  • Water supply and demand studies need to be conducted across the country. Responding to climate change in the water sector is hampered by a limited understanding of how water supplies will be impacted by rising temperatures.
  • Detailed assessments of climate change impacts and risks across a variety of sectors are required in order to develop sound response strategies, in particular focusing on food security, water resources and coastal resources.
  • Climate change, particularly the projected changes in rainfall across West Africa, remains uncertain in part because of a lack of understanding in the processes that generate tropical rainfall. There is a need to increase our understanding and ability to reproduce realistic inter-annual and inter-decadal rainfall variability in the climate science community, and this is an area which requires more research.
  • Community risk assessment and participatory risk assessment methodologies should be promoted with a direct link to action and planning at the sub-national and local levels.
  • The use of existing meteorological information is limited to specific agencies, and this information needs to be tailored to decision makers across a wider series of sectors, including water resources management.
  • There has been a relative lack of support to agricultural initiatives in subsistence farming, and this gap must be addressed in order to guarantee Mali’s future food security. From an institutional and policy perspective, this requires a concerted effort to support agricultural activities and favorable price policies.
  • Strengthening the institutions of farmers is key to guaranteeing access to inputs and necessary credits for increased productivity.
  • The limited integration of climate change considerations into current development activities needs to be addressed by strengthening coordination among the country’s relevant institutions.
  • Responding to climate change requires that a significant effort is made to raise education activities and awareness regarding current and projected climate variability and change. Integrating climate change into formal education curricula as well as community awareness programs could help in meeting these goals.
  • There is a general lack of sector-specific data, including data on fisheries and agriculture, which needs to be addressed in order to develop appropriate response measures.
  • Comprehensive vulnerability maps could support disaster planners in preparing communities for worse case impacts as well as helping local communities take an active role in identifying appropriate response mechanisms.
  • Anecdotal evidence of changes in climate needs to be formally catalogued across the country. For example, there is evidence that water quality and quantity is being reduced, but these dynamics are not well understood due to a limited understanding of the country’s hydrometeorological systems. In many cases, there are no weather monitoring sites that could provide key information on flash floods and water flows to managers downstream.