Coastal West Africa and Climate Change
Vulnerability to Impacts and Institutional Needs
By Tetra Tech ARD
Understanding the possible impacts of climate change on the people and ecosystems of coastal West Africa can help decision makers plan and take action to address them. This brief explains those possible impacts and offers recommendations.
The main climate impacts include rising sea levels and a higher incidence of extreme rainfall events, both of which can lead to more flooding. This will cause more coastal erosion, harm wetlands, fisheries and croplands, and pose increasing risks to infrastructure and urban populations.
The brief notes that it appears that no single institution in West Africa has the ability or mandate to address all of these threats. Environment ministries can struggle to influence the wide range of sectors with coastal interests. Institutions will need to work across national boundaries to share knowledge and experience.
The brief outlines areas for possible research, including on integrating climate change into urban planning, and a mechanism for regional collaboration. Climate services, it says, need to be more fully developed, such as early warning systems. Climate impacts on particular fish species and ecosystems also need to be better understood.
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