Ghana is exposed to risks from multiple weather related hazards. The country is most exposed to risks from floods and droughts, particularly in the Northern Savannah belt. There are also risks related to coastal hazards, including storm surges and coastal erosion as well as landslides, earthquakes, pest infestations, and wildfires.
Between 1991 and 2011 the country experienced seven major floods. In 2010, floods in the White Volta River Basin affected hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed many of their livelihoods. Urban floods also regularly impact major cities, with the last major event occurring in Accra in June 2015.
Current development dynamics and demographic changes in Ghana further compound the risk of disasters. These dynamics are related to rural poverty, rapid urbanization, and environmental degradation. Agriculture and livestock, two sectors most impacted by weather-related hazards, constitute the mainstay of Ghana’s economy and employ 55 percent of the economically active population. Climate change and variability are already affecting Ghana’s water resources.
Over the last decade, Ghana has taken important steps toward a more proactive approach to reducing disaster risk. The Ghana Plan of Action for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (2012) summarizes strategic support for disaster risk management (DRM) from the government and its development partners. A DRM Country Plan developed by GFDRR in consultation with other stakeholders, is part of this effort and is an integral part of Ghana’s national action plan. In addition, a National Disaster Risk Reduction Policy (2011–2015) was adopted by disaster management stakeholders to ensure that all public institutions and non-governmental organizations factor DRM into their organizational planning, budgeting, and operations.
To further advance the DRM agenda, priorities include:
- Shifting the DRM national agency’s approach from response-oriented to prevention-oriented initiatives;
- Integrating DRM into urban and land use planning;
- Establishing mechanisms and strategies to integrate DRM into national and local development policies;
- Creating a legislative framework to enforce DRM strategies; and,
- Addressing flood risks in major urban areas.
GFDRR began supporting DRM efforts in Ghana in 2008 following severe flooding in the north. Its activities focus on building urban resilience and the country’s resilience to flooding.
GFDRR is supporting several ongoing activities in the Greater Accra Region. GFDRR support is helping facilitate investments in climate risk mitigation in Greater Accra, aligned with Ghana’s Indicative Nationally Determined Contributions of Ghana.
Technical assistance is supporting the preparation of the World Bank’s Greater Accra Clean, Resilient, and Inclusive Development Project, which aims to strengthen flood and solid waste management and improve living conditions of the most flood-prone communities in the Odaw basin in the Greater Accra Region.
Under the City Resilience Program, national and municipal authorities from Accra participated in the Comprehensive Financial Solutions for City Resilience Conference in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2017. Moving forward, Accra will be developing a concrete Capital Investment Plan to enable the mobilization of various sources of private capital to finance resilient urban infrastructure.
This builds on activities in 2016 and 2017, when GFDRR and the World Bank conducted a CityStrength Diagnostic in Accra at the request of the government. Key recommendations to address shocks and enhance urban resilience include: (i) improving metropolitan planning and coordination; (ii) integrating urban flood and coastal zone management; and (iii) enhancing resilience in vulnerable communities.
At the country-level, a flood forecasting system was launched in 2012 for the White Volta River by the World Bank with technical and financial support from GFDRR. Ongoing GFDRR engagements are working to improve the accuracy of flood forecasting model, expand the system to the Oti River Basin, and improve the communication of alerts. These activities have drawn on the knowledge and expertise of Japanese experts.
Following severe flooding in the White Volta Basin in 2010, GFDRR supported a flood hazard assessment, which produced hazard maps for different return periods, identified critical investment needs for hydrological service, and made the case for establishing a fully operational early warning system for floods.
Earlier, in 2009, GFDRR developed a DRM Country Plan with the UNDP and other national and international development partners, which has provided a framework for the engagements and investments of the government and development partners.
GFDRR proposes to increase efforts to support Ghana’s disaster risk reduction programs by helping the government:
- Build the capacity of national partners in coordination with the UNDP;
- Strengthen flood risk assessment and forecasting in northern regions and in Accra;
- Develop detailed multi-sectoral plans for climate change adaptation;
- Better understand the links between DRM and poverty;
- Strengthen urban resilience in Accra; and,
- Ensure the sustainability, improvement, and expansion of the flood forecasting to cover areas upstream of the White Volta River and its tributaries.