Climate Risks and Adaptation Activities

Coastal ecosystems across Africa are at high risk of sea level rise, erosion, and flooding, which pose significant potential for impact to countries’ economic activities, especially in the tourism sector. Increasing urbanized surface area and human activities including sand mining, water pumping, and pollution has degraded habitats important for marine biodiversity. In the Nile delta, for example, a one-meter sea level rise is projected to inundate 20% of the land area by 2100, and 0.5m sea level rise would displace 67% of the cities’ populations. Related climate risks include saltwater intrusion into farmland, erosion and intensified flooding, fisheries decline, reduced availability of freshwater resources.

Coastal ecosystems and associated nature-based solutions are a significant contributor to climate adaptation in coastal countries and especially for small islands states. Coastal protection and limiting coastal erosion are critical to reduce impacts from severe weather events. Successful coastal and marine ecosystem management can support food security and the livelihoods of coastal communities. Adaptation activities in the sector captured by this report include coastal wetland protection and restoration, beach and dune nourishment, coastal development setbacks, fisheries management and strengthening capacity, development of climate-informed tourism best management practices, and flood hazard mapping.

Context of Broader Investment

Africa is endowed with a vast network of aquatic resources and extensive interconnected oceans. The total length of Africa’s coastal line is 26,000 km which makes the blue economy particularly important for commercial, environmental, and developmental purposes. The African Union defines a blue or ocean economy as “sustainable economic development of oceans using such technics [sic] as regional development to integrate the use of seas and oceans, coasts, lakes, rivers and underground water for economic purposes, including, but without being limited to fisheries, mining, energy, aquaculture and maritime transport, while protecting the sea to improve social well-being”. There are no reliable estimates available for the level of existing stock or investment gap in sustainable coastal ecosystems sector in Africa, though a recent UNEP report suggests that there is close to USD 5 billion annual investment gap in broader nature-based solutions (NBS) related financing in Africa. Globally, the investments in NBS need to triple by 2030 and quadruple by 2050. Public sector financing dominates the landscape contributing over 85% of the funding while public international funding for NBS for adaptation in developing countries is only 1.5% of the total flows.


This project has been developed in partnership with the Global Center on Adaptation


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