Climate Resilience Across the Rural-Urban Continuum

Project summary

Projected and existing severe impacts of climate change in West Africa’s Sahel interact with high population growth and livelihood insecurity and fragility. The resulting increased mobility and rapid urbanisation further challenge local governments’ capacity to provide basic infrastructure and services whilst protecting local ecosystems. Small towns are growing rapidly in numbers and size in the region and can play an important role in supporting adaptation to climate change that contributes to socially and environmentally sustainable development pathways, including both social justice and environmental integrity. Local governments have a key role in adopting innovative solutions to control and reduce local environmental risks and support ecosystems. To do so, access to relevant data at the appropriate scales is essential, along with technical and financial capacity. This multidisciplinary project contributes to the understanding of the interplay between climate change, small town growth and local governance, and explores pathways to sustainable adaptation through case studies in four emerging small towns located along the border between Burkina Faso and Ghana. It assesses relevance and accessibility of existing environmental, demographic and socio-economic data at different scales; examines the ecosystems-urbanisation-livelihoods nexus with specific attention to the reliance on, and impacts of different groups’ livelihoods on ecosystems; and investigates the factors that contribute to local governance systems’ ability to support sustainable adaptation to climate change. The project is designed to ensure strong interdisciplinary collaboration between natural and social scientists, and to engage with local and national stakeholders to identify and promote positive policy responses. The project’s outputs will inform ongoing global debates on climate change governance and sustainable adaptation.

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