Support for climate projects
The OSS has positioned itself as a go-between (Regional Implementation Agency) between the Climate Funds and its members and partners. In this context, the OSS was accredited as an implementing entity by the Adaptation Fund (AF) in 2013 and by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in October 2017.
These two accreditations strengthen the OSS role as a facilitator of partnerships and allow it to mobilize funds and thus, contribute to the implementation of policies and strategies related to the environment and sustainable development of its members and partners. As such, the OSS oversees the implementation of projects and programs on adaptation and/or mitigation of the effects of climate change, and provides technical assistance to other countries wishing to implement a readiness program.
Monitoring-Evaluation of UN Conventions to Combat Desertification
The OSS has made a substantial contribution to the design and development of monitoring-evaluation systems for the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention to Combat Desertification. The Organization has thus become a reference center for North African countries.
The Organization continues to play a leading role on issues related to monitoring-evaluation and is involved in most initiatives and programs affecting its area of action. For example, it has contributed to the identification of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) indicators and to the definition of approaches for their calculation.
The OSS has contributed to giving a consistent and realistic content to the Great Green Wall concept and to making the initiative a unifying program for integrated development projects and actions.
It works to promote the use of renewable energies and unconventional water, and the fight against deforestation and land degradation through various projects.
Environmental Monitoring and Earth Observation
Since 1992, the OSS has been developing innovative approaches to environmental monitoring covering both biophysical and socio-economic aspects. These approaches combine field-level monitoring techniques and spatial observation tools (Remote Sensing) in support of Agriculture, Food Security, and Sustainable Management of Land and Water Resources in Africa.
Improved knowledge of groundwater resources
The OSS approach was initially based on improving knowledge of groundwater (and in particular shared groundwater), which is less known than surface water.
This is how studies were first carried out on the North Western Sahara Aquifer System (NWSAS, shared by Algeria, Libya and Tunisia), on the Iullemeden Aquifer System (IAS, shared by Mali, Niger and Nigeria), then, on the Aquifer System of Iullemeden Taoudéni Tanezrouft (ITTAS, which is the IAS extended to Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania), and finally on the aquifer systems of the IGAD area. As for ITTAS, and in a second phase, groundwater - surface water interactions were studied. The improvement of knowledge focused on the qualitative and quantitative aspects, the creation of common databases, the establishment of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and the establishment of hydrodynamic models.
Although several goals have been achieved, knowledge is still very poor compared to more advanced countries.
Dialogue and consultation in the management of shared, surface or groundwater
Knowledge is only a tool that must enable the water needs of the populations to be met, by providing political decision-makers with reliable and up-to-date information so that they can make appropriate decisions.
The OSS area of action has ten major watersheds and twelve major transboundary aquifer systems. Out of the 760 billion m3/year of renewable water resources, more than 320 billion m3/year are shared. It goes the same way for the extremely important fossil waters (NWSAS and Nubian sandstone) which represent an element of survival for North Africa.
From the 2000s, the OSS put efforts for the creation of consultation mechanisms; the first related to the North Western Sahara Aquifer System. Created at the technical level in 2006, it then evolved to a political level in 2008, with a technical unit based at the OSS, led by a biannual rotating coordination.
This mechanism, became recognizable at the international level and is being replicated; the purpose is to gradually develop the same mechanisms for other aquifers in the OSS area of action.
The OSS know-how is shared within the framework of capacity building programs that it sets up for the benefit of its member countries and partners.
The projects developed by the OSS are always supported by awareness-raising and training actions to simplify new concepts and help adopt the tools that enable populations to cope with the impacts of climate change.
Consideration of gender and social inclusion are part of the requirements of the Climate Funds. In order to effectively take gender into consideration during the fundraising process, the OSS, adopted a gender policy in 2017, supported by action plans and is working to integrate the gender element in all its programs.It also makes particular efforts to support countries and partners in its integration, particularly in terms of preparing for climate finance.