The World Bank and the French Ministry of Environment, Energy and the sea have announced a joint effort in support of West African countries in strengthening the resilience of their coastal areas to climate change.
The collaboration will also identify opportunities for investments in the sustainable development of their “blue” economies.
The joint effort is a response to request from West African countries for international support in overcoming a wide range of challenges such as coastal erosion and flooding, overexploitation of natural resources, marine and coastal pollution, rapid urbanization, and unsustainable land use.
In 2015, the ocean was acknowledged as critical challenge in the climate change agenda. 2016 must be the time for action.
“In 2015, the ocean was acknowledged as critical challenge in the climate change agenda. 2016 must be the time for action. In signing this arrangement with the World Bank, France shows its support to West African countries in strengthening the integrated management of their coastal areas, in one of the most vulnerable regions of the world,” said French Minister of Environment, Energy and the seas, Segolene Royal.
World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, Laura Tuck noted that they need to move forward urgently in a concerted and effective manner.
“We know the physical impacts of climate change are felt strongly by the earth’s oceans, just as they are by our forests, our landscapes, and our economies. Coming just four months after the Paris climate agreement, this collaboration is a significant step towards building resilience for the millions of people who rely on oceans for their livelihoods,” he said.
The West Africa coastal areas host an abundance of natural resources, on land and at sea, that provide vital ecosystem services. The coastal areas are home to 31 percent of the region’s population and account for 56 percent of the region’s GDP.
More than 1.6 million tons of fish are legally captured in West African waters each year, with an estimated wholesale value of $2.5 billion.