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