Protecting Southern Volta's Coastal Heritage: The Vital Role of a Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan

Feature Article Protecting Southern Volta's Coastal Heritage: The Vital Role of a Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan

The southern region of Volta, known for its rich culture, diverse ecosystems, and abundant natural resources, faces a grave threat from ongoing tidal waves, coastal erosion and floodings. These destructive forces, exacerbated by climate change, have jeopardized not only the livelihoods of the coastal communities but also the very essence of Southern Volta's identity. In response to this pressing challenge, a Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan under WACA has emerged as a beacon of hope, aiming to preserve and protect this invaluable coastal region.

Preserving Cultural Heritage:
Southern Volta is home to a vibrant tapestry of cultures, traditions, and communities. These coastal areas have borne witness to centuries of history, shaping the identity and the significance of the region. However, the relentless onslaught of tidal waves, coastal erosion and lagoon floodings threatens to erase this age-long cultural heritage. By implementing the Coastal Master Plan, Southern Volta can safeguard its historical landmarks, sacred sites, natural ecosystems and the tangible and intangible heritage that bind its communities together.

Protecting Ecosystems:
The coastal ecosystems of Southern Volta are not only breathtakingly beautiful but also teeming with biodiversity. Mangrove forests, estuaries, coral reefs, ecosystem services, etc. provide a habitat for numerous species, some of which are endangered or unique to the region. Coastal erosion disrupts these ecosystems, endangering marine life and the livelihoods of fishermen. The Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan recognizes the importance of these ecosystems and includes measures to protect and restore them. Preserving these habitats benefits not only the environment but also sustains the traditional fishing practices that have sustained communities for generations.

Safeguarding Natural Resources:
Southern Volta's coastal areas are a treasure trove of natural resources. From fisheries to fertile agricultural lands to salt pans, these resources play a pivotal role in the region's economic prosperity. However, the relentless encroachment of the sea threatens to render these resources inaccessible. The Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan seeks to preserve these resources by implementing innovative restoration and risk reduction projects. By safeguarding these assets, the plan contributes to the region's economic resilience and food security.

Directing Coastal Activities:
One of the core functions of the Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan is to guide coastal activities. This entails directing investment in the design, implementation, and operation of large-scale innovative restoration and risk reduction projects. By centralizing planning and coordination, the plan ensures that efforts are synchronized, resources are optimized, and the region benefits from a holistic approach to coastal management.

Enhancing Resilience to Climate Change:

Climate change is amplifying the challenges faced by Southern Volta's coastal communities. Rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events pose an existential threat. The Coastal Master Plan recognizes the importance of adaptation and resilience-building measures. By implementing sustainable infrastructure and enhancing community preparedness, the plan equips Southern Volta to withstand the adverse effects of climate change.

West Africa Coastal Areas Resilience Investment Project (WACA ResIP) 1&2:

The WACA ResIP is a world Bank project which aims at protecting West African coasts from Mauritania to Soa Tomé and Principe. The phase one which is almost completed comprised countries like Mauritania, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin and Soa Tomé and Principe. The phase two comprises of Ghana, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia.

In Ghana, the WACA ResIP 2 aims at protecting some badly affected coasts of Ghana by employing gray and green or hybrid infrastructure to salvage these coasts. Keta Municipality, Anloga Distric and Ketu South Municipality among others are going to benefit from this project.

Hope Cometh:
Hope is coming to communities east of the Volta Estuary, from Kporkporgbor to Aflao. These communities will shortly brief sighs of relief from the onslaught and rage of the waves and the lagoon when Parliament of Ghana finally approves Ghana's part of the facility for the work to begin. Let's hope and pray for the WACA ResIP 2 to see the light of day. For now, it seems, that's the solution to the woes of communities east of the Volta Estuary as well as other places along the coast.

The Comprehensive Coastal Master Plan under WACA ResIP 2 is not just a document; it is a lifeline for the communities and ecosystems of Southern Volta's coastline. It represents a collective commitment to preserving cultural heritage, protecting vital ecosystems, safeguarding natural resources, and enhancing resilience in the face of climate change. By championing this plan, Southern Volta ensures that its coastal areas continue to thrive, not just for today, but for generations to come. It is a testament to the region's determination to weather the storm and emerge stronger, preserving the essence of Southern Volta for all to cherish.

Joel Degue
Writer, Author and Blogger.

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