Knowledge Sharing for Climate Change Adaption

Enhancing climate adaptation through land use planning in Shama district, Ghana

Associated Organization: Friends of the Nation

The Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Governance (ICFG) initiative, locally known as Hen Mpoano (Our Coast) seeks to strengthen capacity for land and shorefront planning and decision making at the district scale. In addition, the initiative will pilot approaches that anticipate the impacts of climate change on shorefront communities and infrastructure.

Themes: Crosscutting Issues

Regions: West Africa

Countries: Ghana

Followers: 1 people are following this project

Overview:

Sea level rise and changes in extreme weather events, particularly increased intensity of rainfall events are the climatic stressors anticipated to significantly transform the coastal landscape of Ghana. Projections from existing vulnerability assessments undertaken for the entire coastline indicate that sea level rise by 1 metre will inundate over  1,110 km2 of coastal and shorefront landscape and accelerate coastal erosion which is currently occurring at 3-8 metres per year along sections of the country’s coastline. This phenomenon is anticipated to impact coastal wetlands and lagoons resulting in loss of biodiversity; destruction of human settlement and loss of associated livelihoods. Furthermore, sea level rise is projected to negatively impact freshwater supply systems for urban and rural communities in coastal areas.

 

Communities in the Shama district are likely to suffer these impacts. Already, expressions of change of coastal ecosystems and people in this area include development of coastal flood plains, unplanned construction in shorefront areas and rapid degradation of mangroves and associated wetlands.

Goal 

the project will incorporate climate change adaptation into land use planning, decision making and management.    

Objectives 

Generate information to highlight the extent of risk of people, property and infrastructure to climate related impacts. 

 Build capacity of district government to understand and apply climate information in land use decision making.

 

Current activities

Approach    

  Communication and awareness raising.   

Communication with local communities regarding risk to flooding, exposures and sensitivity to coastal erosion and anticipated SLR commenced in January 2011. Central to the process was the identification of fundamental land use and socio-economic issues likely to be magnified by climatic stressors. The use of orthophotos in participatory land use mapping exercises stimulated discussions among key stakeholders – Chiefs and elders, elderly men, elderly women and the youth – on the vulnerability of their landscape to the impacts of recurrent flooding as well as potential threats posed to settlements and economic infrastructure by future SLR. Integrated into this activity was awareness raising and education of community members. Involvement of community people in participatory mapping and characterization of the  features on the landscape as well as their exposures and sensitivities to climatic and non-climatic hazards improved their understanding of the issues and instigated willingness to relocate to areas earmarked for their resettlement. This was true for two sites – Krobo and Anlo Beach. 

 

Research and vulnerability assessment

The participatory mapping exercises generated local knowledge and information on present, expected and preference land uses – this information will be processed with and integrated into geographic information systems (GIS). Land cover mapping using satellite images will be undertaken to map the time dimensions of transformation of the natural landscape in the sites and the district in general. This will provide useful technical information for a site specific vulnerability assessment.

 

Vulnerability assessment of rapidly eroding coastlines and flood plains contiguous to the water reservoir in the Inchaban catchment will be conducted to map risk of property, infrastructure and people to flood hazards. High, medium and low risk areas will be mapped and superimposed on existing layouts to identify in a more compelling way, the potential conflicting uses of land and space and how this will play out under different flooding and sea level rise scenarios.