The West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA) has been set up to help countries in the region to access expertise and finance for sustainable management of their coastal areas.
West Africa’s coastal areas are home to one-third of the region’s people, and delivers 40%, its gross domestic product (GDP). An abundance of natural resources, on land and at sea, provides vital ecosystem services that help drive economic growth and provide livelihoods of for low-income communities. But unsustainable development, pollution and climate-change–related events such as sea-level, land subsidence and coastal flooding contribute to the vulnerability of the region. Coastlines are eroding as much as 10 meters per year in some areas; fisheries are fully or overexploited; most urban areas do not have sewage services, and over the last 2-3 decades about ¼ of the region’s mangroves have been lost to degradation and destruction.
Earlier this month Christine Sams travelled to Benin to present the EO4SD – WACA workplan and share initial data with the technical committee of the Regional Programme to Combat Coastal Erosion (PRLEC). Government representatives from 11 West African countries were present at the meeting, which included a field trip along the Benin – Togo coast to view the issues first hand.