Integrated management of Senegal's coastal areas: in-depth assessments and concrete measures for responding and adapting to climate change

Senegal’s coasts are affected by a number of environmental problems, including coastal erosion, coastal flooding, soil and water salinisation, mangrove degradation and a reduction in fish stocks. Coastal erosion, in particular, is recognised as one of the four main natural risks that affect Senegal, and vulnerability of the coastal zone is identified as an area of intervention under the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA). In the worst-affected areas, the coastline is retreating at a rate of two metres per year on average. Although the drivers of this phenomenon are in part of human origin (e.g. beach sand mining, coastal development), combined with natural problems (e.g. fragile coastal soils), their effects are expected to be exacerbated by climate change. Considering the significant demographic and economic importance of coastal areas, a comprehensive and effective response that integrates adaptation to climate change is required.

Laying the foundations for coastal zone management

Overall objective:

Contribute to climate change adaptation in Senegal’s coastal zones.

Specific objective:

Lay the foundations for an Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) plan to effectively address coastal erosion, while implementing concrete coastal protection measures.

Main expected results and activities: 

The foundations for an ICZM plan are in place.

This involves developing a GIS-based tool supporting coastal zone monitoring, planning and early warning; and strengthening the institutional and legal framework in support of the implementation of an ICZM plan. This includes identifying and sensitising stakeholders to be involved in the development of the national and local ICZM plans; conducting an assessment of all the legal provisions relevant to the management of coastal areas; taking stock of all ongoing planning initiatives in coastal areas; and promoting the establishment of institutional arrangements supporting consultation processes and ICZM, at the national and local level.

GCCA support is also provided for:

  • The development of the ICZM plan itself, in consultation with the various stakeholders, covering the whole coast of Senegal and with more detailed planning for four targeted areas: Cap Vert and Gorée island; the ‘small coast’ (Somone to Nianing); Diogué island (lower Casamance); and the Saint-Louis area (Gokh Mbathie at the border with the Langue de Barbarie area).
  • The design and implementation of coastal protection measures in areas threatened by coastal erosion (through studies and short-term technical assistance).
  • The collection of key missing data on coastal hydrodynamics, and their integration in the database of coastal areas.

Concrete coastal protection or adaptation measures are implemented to respond to priorities identified in the context of climate change adaptation.

Selected activities include the upgrading and clean-up of the landing and fish processing site in Bargny (Dakar); the upgrading and clean-up of the Bargny drainage canal; the restoration of coastal wetlands as a protection against coastal erosion; the setting up of erosion protection devices in front of the Saint Louis breach, at the level of the Doun Baba Dieye and Pilote Barre villages; the restoration of stretches of filao trees to strengthen dune systems that act as natural barriers against erosion; the production of seedlings in support of coastal ecosystem restoration; the establishment of consultation and cross-municipal coordination mechanisms for ICZM, including start-up support; the setting up of a collection system for fishing and fish processing waste; the setting up of a beach monitoring system; awareness raising on ICZM and coastal zone protection; and training and capacity building for key stakeholders on ICZM-related themes.

Key achievements: 
In the context of the project’s institutional component:
  • A GIS database of coastal areas has been created and is being periodically updated. 
  • Some missing data have been collected and uploaded into the GIS.
  • A technical study on the development of a coastal vulnerability monitoring and early warning mechanism is under way.
  • A study on the legal and institutional framework, bearing in particular on the understanding and application of existing laws and regulations, has been completed.
  • The setting up of institutional consultation arrangements in the context of ICZM is under way. Awareness raising among local stakeholders has been undertaken in the context of local planning workshops organised at pilot sites (Saint Louis, Dakar, Mbour and Diogué).
  • The development of a national ICZM plan and local ICZM plans for the same four target areas referred to above.
  • At least 276 ha of filao trees and 260 ha of mangroves were planted in areas of Petite Côte, Saint Louis and Casamance.
  • Regarding the activities related to the management of the coastal environment, a study on the fish waste sector started in March 2014. Its results were validated in July 2015.
  • At the request of Ministry, a detailed technical study of geo-tubes laying in Gandiolais was conducted in July 2015, then validated in September 2015. An environmental impact study has also been conducted and validated in September 2015.
  • The GIS, which was at the Ecological Monitoring Centre, was transferred to the DEEC (Directorate of Environment and Classified Establishments).
Lessons learned: 
  •  For programmes with activities in very specific, highly technical areas such as coastal management, it is useful and necessary to make specialised expertise available to support the drafting of terms of reference, analyse technical proposals and monitor implementation.
  • It would have been useful to include a capacity building component in the programme.
  • The institutional coordination of coastal activities must take place at a cross-cutting level, that should notably be empowered to address land use planning issues.
  • The link with the National Climate Change Committee is still rather weak and should be strengthened. Better coordination and alignment of the coastal protection and climate change agendas may support progress towards a more integrated, less infrastructure-focused response to coastal erosion. More strategic steering would be required.
Way forward: 

The project activities are completed since September 2015.

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