12.06.2012 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Adapting to climate change in coastal areas of West Africa

Senegal is one of the countries covered by the project. © UNESCO

Populations at risk from coastal flooding will rise from one million in 1990 to 70 million in 2080 along the Gulf of Guinea, the Gambian and Senegalese coastline and all the way to Egypt.

A mapping of risks due to rising sea level shows an increase from 15 to 95 cm in 2100, threatening 30% of coastal infrastructure.

Climate change will cause the displacement or shrinking of more than 80% of coastal habitats.

Meeting to access risks

These are the conclusions of the first pilot phase of the Adapation to Climate Change in Costal Zones project (ACCC).

Launched on 25 November 2008, the pilot focused on five countries: Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. 

International and national experts from the countries concerned are meeting on 12-13 June 2012 at UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar to discuss the results of the first phrase.

Need for 2nd phase

"We will present all project results to start a reflection on key issues facing the need to adapt in coastal areas in West Africa, "said Annie Bonnin Roncerel, Project coordinator.

"We will then finalize the process of monitoring and evaluation of the project," she adds.

The ACCC project aimed to assist countries to develop integrated management of coastal zone to better preserve the impacts of climate change and contribute to the fight against erosion.

It was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented through the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and UNDP. 

"While the project has made progress in terms of adaptation, but much remains to be done," said Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director of UNESCO Office in Dakar.

"We sincerely hope that the efforts underway for launching a second phase of the project will succeed. This will strengthen the gains of the first phase, "she added.

Launching a guide for decision-makers

A guide for policy-makers has been prepared as part of the project and will be launched during the meeting.

"This guide is a tool for decision-makers regarding the selection and implementation of different options for coastal protection," says Annie Bonin Roncerel.

The guide is available in English, French and Portuguese.

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