The brief highlights how climate change has the potential to reduce GDP per capita by 8.5-14.5% in the deltas, through impacts on infrastructure, agriculture and fisheries. Traditional adaptation options, such as embankments and protection and restoration of mangroves, could only reduce these effects by up to 40-50%, thus minimising but not ruling out negative impacts.
The DECCMA Ghana team has been successful in its proposal “Empowering women and transforming gender relations in the Volta delta, Ghana”. The project will bring together researchers with local and national policy-makers, a leading Ghanaian advocacy NGO, and traditional leaders to build networks and share research findings with the aim of co-producing knowledge that leads to women’s empowerment and transformation of gender relations in Sogakope and Keta in the Volta delta. In-keeping with the CDKN aim “From knowledge to action in African countries”, the project aims to take forward findings from DECCMA that women in the delta have high labour burdens due to out-migration of men, combined with a land tenure system that does not provide security of tenure.
Houses are submerged by sand in Keta (photo: Katharine Vincent)
This week Professor Kwasi Appeaning-Addo, deputy PI of DECCMA Ghana and now Director of the Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana, will be presenting key findings on climate change, migration and adaptation in the Volta delta to a meeting of development partners within the Environment and Natural Resources Sector Working Group. The presentation will provide an opportunity to highlight complementarities and where DECCMA research findings can inform adaptation programming in Ghana.
DECCMA Ghana has released a short film that summarises its research activities, findings and impacts from four years of investigation into climate change, migration and adaptation in the Volta delta. In the clip, DECCMA researchers Sam Codjoe, Kwasi Appeaning-Addo, Mumuni Abu and Cynthia Addoquaye-Tagoe, and coordinator Gertrude Owusu, highlight how the project has engaged with stakeholders and built relationships in order to inform policy. Chair of the National Expert Advisory Group, Honourable Clement Humado, also outlines why he accepted the role and how the project has benefited the country.
DECCMA has just released a new publication, “Climate change, migration and adaptation in deltas. Key findings from the DECCMA project” available to download in optimal resolution (15MB) and lower resolution (6MB). The publication summarises our key findings on the present and future situation of deltas, highlights some of the impacts our research has had on policies and plans in Bangladesh, India and Ghana, and reflects on the capacity that has been built through the DECCMA project.
DECCMA’s latest story of change outlines a policy change in Ghana’s Coastal Development Authority Bill 2017. Based on submissions from DECCMA, made by the chair of DECCMA Ghana’s National Expert Advisory Group, Honourable Clement Humado on 20th October 2017, the Bill had a clause added, that the governing body of the authority would have “two persons with relevant expertise nominated by the President at least one of whom is a woman” (Section 4.1(i)). Prior to this submission, there was no mention in the draft Bill of the need for coastal development expert advisory input. DECCMA’s contribution here has thus been to create a tighter link between science and decision-making, thereby supporting evidence-informed policy in Ghana. More information on how this change came about can be found in our latest story of change.
DECCMA has released a new infographic that summarises what we know about deltas in the present and future. Deltas are already exposed to sea level rise, coastal erosion, flooding and salinisation. In the future climate risk will increase beyond 2050, but the particular nature of hazards differs between deltas. In the Volta in Ghana, for example, erosion and flooding is driven by waves and sea level rise; whereas the future of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna is more dependent on sediment input than other deltas.
Deltas are already important contributors to national economies. In the future agriculture will become less significant in economies due to land degradation and erosion, but models show a slight increase in the productivity of brackish fisheries.
People in deltas are already mobile but in future mobility will be exacerbated by the effects of climate and environmental stresses on livelihood options.
Adaptation is already taking place, but more will be required in future. Infrastructural adaptations, such as dykes and embankments, are required, as is effective planning, such as the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100. Policy frameworks should be revisited to enable gender-equitable adaptation and support for internally displaced persons. Migration also provides opportunities for adaptation.
DECCMA and the Delta Alliance recently co-convened a session on 21st June at Adaptation Futures 2018 in Cape Town on the topic “Adaptation practice and experience in deltas in the global south”. The session included presentations from both DECCMA and Delta Alliance members.
Ricardo Safra de Campos presents on “Migration as an adaptation”
DECCMA PI Robert Nicholls chaired the session. Katharine Vincent from Kulima Integrated Development Solutions presented research on observed adaptations in deltaic Ghana, India and Bangladesh and Ricardo Safra De Campos from the University of Exeter presented the first research findings of the DECCMA project on “Migration as an adaptation”. The presentation showed that households in deltas employ a variety of adaptation strategies in the face of environmental and climate risk, including migration.
The Delta Alliance Egypt and Ghana wing coordinators presented experiences in delta planning and management. Professor Mohamed Soliman from the Coastal Research Institute presented innovative ways to create natural flood defenses and sand dunes along Alexandria’s coast to stop recurrent coastal flooding. Ken Kinney from the Development Institute in Ghana, presented the challenges of the Volta delta and the process of establishing a network of knowledge institutes, governments and local communities to work on integral land use planning. Both presentations showed that a holistic coastal management plan is needed that integrates coastal management with economic and land use planning.
As with all sessions at Adaptation Futures 2018, DECCMA and the Delta Alliance were invited to provide three “takeaway” points for consideration by the authors of the IPCC 6th Assessment Report. The points were:
There is a growing body of literature highlighting the potential future of deltas under climate change, taking into account sea level rise and sediment flux, among others.
Hard adaptations such as embankments are critical to protect infrastructure, lives and livelihoods in deltas.
There is evidence of a variety of household adaptations in deltas, which include in situ adaptations and migration.
In mid-May, Professor Kwasi Appeaning Addo of the University of Ghana shared findings from the DECCMA project during a student exchange workshop on the Volta delta organised by TU Delft and Delta Alliance in the Netherlands.
Speaking on “Shoreline change in the Volta delta and implications for coastal communities” as part of a scientific seminar in the Faculty of Architecture (13-18 May 2018), TU Delft, Prof. Appeaning Addo, Co-PI for DECCMA Ghana, highlighted the key factors responsible for change in the Volta delta. He highlighted key findings of DECCMA research in the assessment of migration as an adaptation option in the delta under a changing climate to deliver policy support on sustainable gender-sensitive adaptation.
He noted that findings from DECCMA project cut across issues regarding policy implementation, assessment of biophysical hazards, land cover change and migration and these requires the management of the Volta delta to be viewed as an integration of coupled biophysical and socio-economic systems.
Participants at the seminar included Ghana government delegation of the Volta delta mission, the Dutch government, director of Delta Alliance and members of the Ghana – Netherlands Students collaboration programme.
The DECCMA team comprises an international, multi-disciplinary consortium all working together to achieve the common goal of evaluating migration as an adaptation in the context of climate change in deltas. In this short clip we outline some of the highlights and challenges of working as part of a consortium, and some lessons learned for future consortium projects.