Addressing Climate-Induced Drought and Desertification in Ghana: A Community-Centric Approach Stories

14 June, 2024

With global temperatures hitting record highs and rainfall patterns becoming increasingly erratic, the dire consequences of climate change, such as drought, land degradation, storms and floodings are intensifying. In countries like Ghana, which rely heavily on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fishing, and forestry, these environmental crises pose not just ecological threats but also critical challenges to community livelihoods and overall development.

In 2020 alone, Ghana faced direct economic losses from drought amounting to $95 million USD. Without significant intervention, these losses are projected to escalate to more than $325 million annually by 2050. The impact is particularly severe in countries ranked under the low or medium human development categories according to the HDI .[1] These countries are characterized by lower income, higher poverty rates, and lower life expectancy and educational attainment. Such countries also suffer from more pronounced social and gender disparities and possess minimal or limited adaptive capacities.

Community-Driven Solutions

Addressing the challenges of climate change in Ghana requires a localized, community-driven approach. Solutions must be tailored to meet the specific climate vulnerabilities of each community, address local financing needs, and align with governmental and market systems. For example, the introduction of drought-resistant crops and community-based water management systems has shown promising results in several local districts, demonstrating the effectiveness of grassroots initiatives.

Enhancing Local Climate Finance

Financial resources to address climate adaptation needs play a crucial role in these efforts, resources that currently remain scarce or unavailable. Expanding access and localizing climate finance is designed to deliver three key outcomes:

  • Provide direct benefits to communities, fostering socio-economic and environmental improvements that promote gender equality and inclusivity.
  • Enhance capacity and ownership of local governments to plan interventions, manage funds, and transparently monitor expenditures and results.
  • Leverage additional funding, unlocking new investments through innovative funding sources.

To address climate change issues such as land degradation, drought and desertification, storms and floodings in vulnerable countries such as Ghana, localized climate finance makes a lot of sense. Firstly, it prioritizes pressing adaptation needs of the people that are most marginalized and disproportionately impacted. Secondly, it interlinks the solutions for drought mitigation and land restoration with local economic value chains and socio-developmental priorities (thus strengthening the business case for future investments). And lastly, it provides the opportunity for addressing the financing gap of local governments often grappling with budget constraints and limited capacities.

Case Study: Cowater’s SIGRA Project

Cowater’s Global Affairs Canada-funded SIGRA project exemplifies this strategy in action. Launched in 2023, the initiative is designed to bolster investments in gender-responsive climate adaptation at the local level. It provides essential technical assistance to strengthen governance and national systems by collaborating with key Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs). Additionally, the project offers financial contributions to district governments, facilitating the funding and implementation of local, gender-responsive climate adaptation projects. This comprehensive approach not only empowers local entities but also enhances community resilience by enabling tailored responses to their unique climate challenges.


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