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The vulnerability to climate change of Cotonou (Benin):

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Presentation on theme: "The vulnerability to climate change of Cotonou (Benin):"— Presentation transcript:

1 The vulnerability to climate change of Cotonou (Benin):
The rise in sealevel Dossou, K. M. R., Gléhouenou-Dossou, B. (2007): The Vulnerability to Climate Change of Cotonou (Benin): The Rise in Sea Level. Environment & Urbanization, Vol. 19: 65-79

2 Benin Cotonou: economic capital of Benin
3 million inhabitans on the coast and in Cotonou Tertiary sector activities and tradingcentres of international importance, as well as supplying financial resources to the country and municipality In the city: non agricultural (apart from inland fisheries) On the coast and city’s major roads: commercial and service oriented. Coastal fishing mainstay of Cotonou’s economy > Providing livlihood for more than 15,000 people 8,8 million inhabitans Benin’s economic potential depends to a large extent on that of Cotonou self governing port of Cotonou accounts 90% of the country’s customs receipts Activities undertaken in the city… Fishers but also associated jobs such as fish wholesaling and boat repairs

3 Core Focuses on the potential and actual effect on the city of the rising sea level and considers what possible adaptations could reduce its vulnerability to the effects of climate change. “The shoreline of Benin is a fragile ecosystem exposed to the negative effects of climate change such as: - rising sea and ocean level - changes in average rainfall patterns - increased atmospheric temperature, affecting natural ecosystems, human settlements, water resources & coastal infrastructure the marked coastline regression to the east of Cotonou”

4 Cotonou’s vulnerability to sea level rise
The rising sea level… will have a detrimental effect on coastal human settlements, especially in the Gulf of Guinea (GIEC/IPCC report) Very relevant to Cotonou > below sea level “A rise in sealevel could trigger a number of climatic phenomena such as coastal and riverbank erosion, flooding and salt water intrusion into Lake Nokoue. Furthermore, there has been decreasing rainfall in Benin, especially in the south, with precipitation decreasing by 9 per cent over 20 years in Cotonou. Each of these hazards undermines human systems (land use, livlihoods and human settlements) and disrupts the functioning of coastal and lagoon systems.” Main of the climate hazards facing Cotonou is the rise in sea level According to climatic simulations based on increased temperature, the sea level along the coast of benin could rise gradually GIEC/IPCC: group of intergouvernemental experts on climate

5 Argument: Coastal erosion and the surrounding area
Dynamic sub-regional phenomenon resulting from the disruption of coastal currents carrying sand. Threats to residential districts and road infrastructure Exposure of the industrial sector Threats tourism sector Signs and consequences of rising sea level and coastal erosion Loss of human settlements Impacts on human health Biophysical disurption Impacts on traditional fishing Salt intrusion

6 Adapting to the rise of sea level and its consequences
Benin has prepared two scenarios: - Technological adaptation through the installation of protective groynes (kribben) to stabilize the coastline - Relocation of activities, infrastructure and communities Researchers advice: - local NGO to play their advocacy role drawing politicians’ attention to the other climatic hazards that could furthur impoverish the people - raise awareness of local communities and encourage them to take responsibility with regard: occupation of land already identified as affected and protection of environment through appropiate behaviour - It is a matter of urgency to find ways for people and ecosystems to adapt so they can become less vulnerable - A groyne is an active structure extending from shore into sea Groynes are designed to slow down longshore drift and build up the beach. They are usually made of tropical hardwoods which are more resistant to marine borers and erosion. A few are made of concrete, steel or in more recent times large rocks. They are built at right angles to the shore and spaced about metres apart. Groynes may have a life of years but often have to be replaced rather than repaired physological and financial constraints

7 Link The rising tide: assessing the risks of climate change and human settlements in low elevation coastal zones - GORDON MCGRANAHAN, DEBORAH BALK and BRIDGET ANDERSON Settlements in coastal lowlands are especially vulnerable to risks resulting from climate change, yet these lowlands are densely settled and growing rapidly. In some countries (most notably China), urbanization is driving a movement in population towards the coast. Reducing the risk of disasters related to climate change in coastal settlements will require a combination of mitigation, migration and settlement modification.

8 Question Benin has prepared two scenarios by focusing on the technological adaptation and the relocation of activities. Do you think they have done well by focusing on these two aspects? Or do you think, like the researchers have advised, that the focus should (also) lie (more) on raising awareness of local communities? What is most important considering social justice and the effects of climate change on the long term? Health care – Fishery farms

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