UNESCO IOC Reports on West African Coastal Adaptation Project

31 January 2012: The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has reported on the implementation of a project titled Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal zones of West Africa (ACCC), which involves Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde.

The project involves the development of pilot activities in one selected sites per country targeted at reducing the threat of coastal erosion, while increasing biodiversity and strengthening the adaptive capacities of local communities and ecosystems. The project also aims to mainstream climate change considerations into development plans, such as tourism strategies and coastal urban planning.

According to UNESCO, the pilot project in Varela, Guinea Bissau, involves beach cleaning, mangrove restoration and afforestation, which are carried out with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). On the regional level, IOC/UNESCO aims to develop training on, inter alia, climate change and coastal zone management, techniques for mangrove restoration and littoral dune afforestation. In addition, a website, network and database are being created to exchange experiences and support sub-regional activities. UNESCO further reported that a ‘training of trainers' programme was organized, through the Sandwatch programme, which is supported by UNESCO in the Caribbean and Pacific islands regions, and seeks to teach scholars how to monitor beaches effectively. [Adaptation to Climate Change in Coastal zones of West Africa (ACCC) Website] [UNESCO Press Release]