RIPS Press Release

Assessing How People Adapt to Climate Change in Deltas: Case Studies in Asia and Africa

Researchers from the University of Ghana in collaboration with the University of Southampton and three other institutions in India, Bangladesh and Egypt are undertaking an international project to understand the effect of climate change on people living in Deltas in South Asia and Africa, and how they respond.The $1.025m Canadian dollar DECCMA (DEltas, vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation) project is funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Deltas are economic and environmental hotspots and often support high population densities, estimated at over 500 million people globally, with particular concentrations in South, South-East and East Asia and Africa. The four deltas, which are the focus of the DECCMA project, are home to almost 200 million people, many of whom are farmers who provide food for a large proportion of the population.

Deltas, many of which are found in Asia and Africa, were identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as being especially vulnerable hotspots to climate change and sea-level rise with poor understanding of the possible adaptation responses. The project considers two large deltas – Nile in Egypt and the Ganges-Brahmaputra in Bangladesh and India, plus two smaller deltas – the Mahanadi in India and the Volta in Ghana. 

The just under five-year DECCMA project will examine how people are adapting to the physical effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, alongside socio-economic pressures, including land degradation and population pressure, in delta regions. It aims to develop methods to predict how these four deltas may evolve over the next 50 to 100 years and provide Governments with the knowledge and tools to ensure future policy can maximise planning services and programmes to the benefit of the region’s population. There will be a particular focus on the potential benefits of planned migration versus other adaptation choices such as dike construction.

The project will involve working with the Government and people in the deltaic communities to understand the challenges; look to develop an integrated assessment tool, which brings all the different factors together – economic, social and physical – to identify with a wide range of stakeholders the implications of different adaptation options to those challenges.

Ghana’s part of this interdisciplinary project is led by Prof. Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe from the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) as the Principal Investigator. Dr. Kwasi Appeaning Addo from the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences (Faculty of Science) is the Deputy Principal Investigator and Dr. Cynthia AddoquayeTagoe from the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) is the Project Coordinator. The project will also engage researchers from the University of Ghana, the University of Cape Coast, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana Meteorological Services Department, Hydrological Services Department, Water Research Institute, Ministry of Finance and the National Development Planning Commission.