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Dear partners,
We are seeing much interest in partnering up around WACA’s objective: to strengthen the resilience of coastal communities and areas in Western Africa.
In this issue, you will read about private sector’s commitment to WACA at the February Private Sector Dialogue in Abidjan, efforts to make knowledge work for coastal resilience, regional consensus on research gaps and more on the progress of developing the WACA Platform.
Making sure that facts, knowledge and efforts are communicated is imperative.  So, here we explain how governments and regional think tanks have built a network of communicators to expand WACA’s reach. Finally, Thomas Price, Coordinator of the WACA Regional Implementation Support Unit, tells us his story from the front line of Mauritania
But the big headline is the staggering cost of coastal degradation, about 5% of four West African countries GDP in 2017, according to a recent World Bank Report.
We’d love to hear your views on the WACA Program, and your ideas for mobilizing knowledge,  finance and dialogue to tackle coastal erosion, flooding, and pollution in West Africa.
With best regards,
Peter Kristensen
The Private Sector Commits to WACA!
In February 2019, about 200 private sector actors gathered in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to explore how to engage in strengthening coastal resilience. The investment climate has been fragile given the limited access to data and knowledge on the physical and financial impact of coastal erosion on businesses, and the challenges in spatial zoning, compliance monitoring and enforcement. As ports have a strong impact on the coast, WACA engage with the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa to promote the integration of environmental considerations in ports activities and seek further partnership.
Read the blog by Elikia Abraham and  Melissa Landesz on the obstacles to private sector investment.
Watch one of the TV coverages of the WACA Private Sector Dialogue
The WACA Communications Network is now Operational
In February 2019, the Centre de Suivi Ecologique in Dakar, Senegal, hosted a WACA Communication & Institutional Development Workshop. Thirty-five participants from countries and regional organizations worked on framing WACA in the regional context and on tools to expand WACA’s reach including common communications objectives, strategic messaging, stakeholder mapping, and leadership coaching. Teams are now refining workplans and budgets.

Coastal Voices: Reviving Nouakchott’s Coastal Dunes
by Thomas Price, Coordinator of the WACA Regional Implementation Support Unit, IUCN Senegal

Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital and biggest city is at, or below, sea level. Its coast is protected by a fragile wall of dunes at risk from natural erosion, sand mining, grazing of livestock on dune vegetation, and careless abuse of the landscape for leisure like dune racing. The protective wall breaks open at points, accelerating erosion and allowing seawater to wash into the city, assaulting buildings, roads, freshwater supply and public space. Protecting the dunes is a priority, and the government is using World Bank financing to overcome the challenge.
The WACA Mauritania Team is using nature-based solutions such as planting thorny branches as anchors to fix the sand in place and recreate a living wall of dunes that protects Nouakchott from the sea. The plants regenerate and thrive, the landscape recovers, local communities benefit, and the result is green, sustainable and replicable.
Erosion, Flooding and Pollution Cost a Staggering $3.8 billion to West Africa in 2017
Did you know that West Africa’s coastal areas host about one third of the region’s population and generate 56% of its GDP? These opportunities are however hindered by erosion, flooding and pollution which take a toll on the economy, destroy livelihoods and demolish infrastructure. According to a new World Bank study on The Cost of Coastal Zone Degradation in West Africa, environmental degradation in the coastal areas of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Togo cost $3.8 billion, or 5.3% of the four countries’ GDP in 2017.
Download the study, read the news article and watch the Facebook Live interview with Maria Sarraf, Practice Manager at the World Bank.

We can Make Knowledge Work for Coastal Resilience
In February, the Global Center on Adaptation gathered partners who expressed interest in committing knowledge resources to the WACA Platform. In March, the French Research Institute for Development convened a meeting to get a regional consensus on gaps, needs and priorities for research on West Africa’s coastal issues as part of the WACA Platform. Both exchanges fed into the design of the Knowledge Pillar and the proposal for the interim Technical Advisory Committee (iTAC) that will provide cutting-edge expertise to the WACA Program.

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West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program - WACA · 1818 H St NW · Washington, DC 20433 · USA

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