ACECoR and Japan advance integrated sediment management in West Africa
WACA Japan visits Ghana to assess coastal situation and future prospects based on coastal engineering.
“I thank the Japanese team for coming a long way to Ghana and I hope future cooperation will lead to long-term human resource development.” Prof. Denis Aheto, Director of ACECoR.
One might think that beach erosion is caused by direct forces such as high waves or rising sea level. In reality, the root cause is often human activities: Interruption of downstream sediment transport caused by sediment deposition in dam reservoirs and excessive river sand mining, reduce sediment supply to the coast.
To address coastal erosion and other coastal issues, it is essential to take an integrated approach from the river catchment to the coast. In West Africa specifically, effective and sustainable solutions cannot be taken without looking at the root causes in upstream areas.
ACECoR and Japan Partnership under WACA Knowledge Hub
To promote Integrated Sediment Management in West Africa, research, training, and capacity development play a critical role; and we need practitioners who can approach the issue in a holistic way.
To mobilize global expertise on coastal management, WACA developed Global Knowledge Hubs with leaders in relevant fields, to create synergies across academia, countries and think tanks.
One of them is the WACA Japan Knowledge Network established in September 2021 with Japan Infrastructure Development institute (IDI) as coordinator. IDI contributes to international social development and to better sustainable living conditions by participating to infrastructure projects.
Under the WACA program, IDI signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with ACECoR (Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience), University of Cape Coast, leading the way in grooming the next generation of innovators. ACECoR’s mission is to further the sustainable management and use of coastal environment. This is done by training people and conducting demand-driven research to support coastal policy development in Africa.
In line with the MoA, IDI will collaborate with ACECoR to make experiences, knowledge and technologies on coastal erosion, flood and sediment management available to West Africa countries. As an island nation with 75% of its land covered by mountains, Japan boosts a rich experience in Integrated Sediment Management that considers coasts, mountains, and rivers. Activities will include knowledge exchange, research studies, training programme, expert dispatch, short courses and academic cooperation between Japanese relevant organizations and ACECoR.
- A first Online Workshop on Integrated Sediment Management in WACA Countries was organized with regional partners in May 2022 to build awareness on the issue. About 80 participants from different WACA countries participated.
- A technical mission of Japanese experts visited Ghana, October - November 2022 to deepen the cooperation between ACECoR and Japan. The two teams visited several coastal sites including the Volta River estuary where they explored areas of cooperation; and the Anlo Beach for a joint topographic survey to better understand the challenges.
- Professor Yoshimitsu Tajima of the University of Tokyo gave a lecture to ACECoR researchers and students on a rapid assessment of Ghana coasts and future prospects based on coastal engineering.
Deepening the collaboration
Based on the lessons learned from the site visits, the teams agreed to prepare a concrete plan for future cooperation. This includes cooperation to strength modern research; building the educational capacity of ACECoR on Integrated Sediment Management and especially on coastal engineering; and applying for a joint research project on Integrated Sediment Management.