Resilience and Climate Change

Joshua maintains the solar panels for his new irrigation system in Kpatua, Ghana, an Oxfam initiative.

Joshua maintains the solar panels for the new irrigation system in Kpatua, Ghana. The system irrigates the surrounding farmland, allowing Kpatua farmers to cultivate year-round. It is an Oxfam initiative. Credit: Nana Kofi Acquah / Oxfam

“We need to come together to act. We need to take action and protect the environment, because our life and health depend on it.”
Assou Awanda Sni, 25 years old.
Young Volunteers for the Environment

Accelerating climate resilience and justice in West Africa

In West Africa, climate change is a reality and is already having harmful effects on millions of vulnerable people living in poverty. By increasing droughts and floods, accelerating the degradation of natural resources and ecosystems throughout the region, with desertification and coastal erosion as the most visible effects, climate change is leading to higher risks of food insecurity and multiplies the threats of instability and conflicts, particularly in the Sahel. Climate change is also an injustice and inequality amplifier: while they are not responsible for it, women, youth and marginalized groups suffer a most disproportionate share of climate change impacts and get trapped into vicious cycles of chronic poverty.

The West African region’s greenhouse gas emissions represent barely 2% of global emissions with a rate per capita approximately 6 times below the world average. Due to their high level of vulnerability to climate change, West African countries critically need investments and innovations to improve their readiness and take the necessary adaptation measures to protect their populations.

Oxfam works with our partners and the West African civil society to promote low-carbon development models and economies and to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities in the face of climate change. We think it is possible to accelerate climate justice in West Africa with agricultural and energy policies focused on the sustainable management of natural resources and based on local knowledge, by supporting the creation of “green” employment and income opportunities for the people most exposed to climate change impacts, and by protecting their rights and building their capacities to demand accountability on the means allocated to addressing climate change.

How to mobilize young West Africans in the fight against climate change?

We asked this question to young climate activists participating at the West African Youth Consultation organized by Oxfam in Cotonou in November 2019. Oxfam listens to the voices of change. #youthforclimate