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Climate change is increasing the incidence, frequency and magnitude of natural disasters and exacerbating the vulnerability of many countries and communities. It is therefore essential to enhance resilience and the capacity to adapt to a changing climate, above all for the poor who are the most affected. Photo © C&S Northway

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Photo by: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (Flickr)

Contact: Pierre Sigaud, Ministry of Ecology : pierre.sigaud@developpement-durable.gouv.fr; + 33 1 40 81 76 65

The initiative aims at improving the ability of people in West African coastal regions to adapt. Human activity is causing the receeding and transformation of the shoreline and climate change threatens the economic assets in the coastal zone and people’s livelihoods. The main threats are erosion and flooding. The challenge is for coastal countries to manage their coastal landscapes in ways that spur economic growth and reduce poverty while adapting to the effects of climate change.

In support of the UNFCCC process, the World Bank - as lead organisation - developed a 2015–18 Africa Climate Business Plan, “Stepping up Support for Africa’s Climate-Resilient and Low-Carbon Development.” The WACA Program is part of that plan, which includes $1 billion of investments in coastal zone resilience.


The objectives of the initiative are to raise awareness of the magnitude of the problem, highlight possibilities to act, and call for international support to help cover the cost of action.

Concretely, countries involved in the initiative taken action in several ways, including through estimating the costs of coastal erosion and flooding, and conducting technical analyses to inform country-specific investment plans. Those plans aim to:

  • (a) reduce coastal erosion hotspots by 30% by 2020 and by 70% by 2025
  • (b) protect 30% of the population in priority flooding areas by 2020 and 70% by 2025
  • (c) have a coastal information monitoring system operating in all participating countries by 2020

Future expectations:

The program is the strategic foundation for long-term engagement by the World Bank Group in West Africa’s coastal areas. The aim is to work with countries to develop multiyear, multicountry investment plans that fully take into account climate change risks and scenarios.

Photo credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (Flickr)

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