Lessons learned from Ghana NCAP Project

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 30th Mar 2011

Lessons Learned and Strategic Recommendations

Ample evidence is now available that climate variability and climate change are having profound effects on socioeconomic development and the livelihoods of communities throughout the world. This situation has been confirmed in Ghana through the various vulnerability assessments conducted as part of the NCAP project. Indeed, Phase 1 of the project demonstrated that the overall impacts are unacceptably high for key socio-economic sectors in the country. Urgently needed are the kinds of sectoral and cross-sectoral adaptation initiatives identified through the various consensus-building activities of Akropong Approach carried out in Phase 2.

Climate change will systematically disrupt Ghanaian communities that are reliant on subsistence farming and fishing livelihoods. For farming, impacts brought on by climate change will degrade soil conditions and reduce food production. For fisheries, increased sea water temperatures will adversely impact fish stocks in coastal areas. Income from these and other economic activities will diminish, making an already severe poverty situation worse. These developments will be particularly onerous for women who lack secure land rights, access to credit, and access to other agricultural inputs and services. Strategically focusing certain adaptation innovations on women builds their individual adaptive capacity whilst facilitating their contributions towards national development and promoting national welfare.

Vulnerability to climate change reaches beyond social and economic impacts into the very nature of sustainable livelihoods in Ghana. Indeed, the study’s conclusion strongly supports the existence of a strong relationship between current climate and persistent poverty levels. Under conditions of future climate change, the exacerbation of poverty conditions in Ghana could be regulated by the reform of national policymaking that focus on a range of overarching activities spanning awareness raising, new insurance schemes, capacity strengthening, and network building.

Foremost among future activities will be the need to raise awareness among policymakers and the public regarding the impacts of climate change. While a number of strategic adaptation options have been identified and recommended for urgent action, there will be an ongoing need to fine tune the understanding of hazard locations, evolving risk factors, and acutely vulnerable communities and groups. As this information is integrated into planning and policy dialogues and the public at large – a framework for which has been successfully developed using the Akropong Approach – it will help in reducing future vulnerability by integrating actions that protect people against disease, food insecurity, diminishing water availability, and energy insecurity into strategic discussions. There will also be the continuing need to increase technical capacity through education, and training in key skills for community groups, health and other sector workers.

Finally, the manner in which adaptation in Ghana is carried out will determine the success with which the strategic recommendations are implemented. As has been discussed in the previous sections, the findings of the project strongly suggest that a more holistic approach to adaptation is needed in Ghana. There is a need for close co-operation across the affected sectors – forestry, water, agricultural, coastal zones, public health, land use planning – to ensure that every opportunity is taken to secure the overlapping and strategic benefits of adaptation initiatives and to avoid any maladaptive or zero-sum results. Considering the uncertainties that still surround many of the key findings offered in this report, such policies should be flexible enough to adapt to any future changes in resource, market and climatological conditions.

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Ghana NCAP Project

Methodology of Ghana NCAP Project

Key findings from Ghana NCAP Project