Home to more than 400 million people, West Africa suffers from severe climate-related hazards, which affect communities, livelihoods, and infrastructures and hamper development and economic growth. Coastal areas, which host about one-third of the population in the region and more than half of its gross domestic product (GDP), are particularly vulnerable to climate risks. In 2017 only, coastal erosion, flooding, and environmental degradation caused losses of US$3.8 billion in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Togo. Current sea-level rise rates are expected to lead to accelerated coastal erosion, flooding in low-lying coastal areas, and increased salinization of soils, and surface and ground waters.
This adds to other challenges, such as urbanization processes that are accelerating around the world, particularly in Africa and Asia. More than half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, and by 2050, two-thirds of people are expected to live in cities Although cities may have many advantages, urbanization is not without challenges, from spatial urban development to access to infrastructure, sanitation, transport, and other basic services.
After the pandemic, the global energy crisis has pushed up the prices of energy, food, and other commodities, further putting pressure on African economies. The current situation has exposed not only the need but also the additional benefits of moving towards a transition to low-carbon and resilient societies. Furthermore, the need for a just transition is key to promoting inclusive climate policies and sustainable development.
This side event will focus on sharing practical knowledge and exploring the collaboration between different actors to respond to these challenges and progress toward a climate-resilient and just development.