The German-African inter- and transdisciplinary CLIMAFRI project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and will develop adaptation strategies in the transboundary Lower Mono river catchment of Togo and Benin. The overall goal is to reduce the current and future flood risk while considering climate change by integrating science-based data with information and knowledge from local stakeholders and communities.
The project collaborates with the environmental ministries in Togo and Benin, the responsible local authorities and the Competence Center of the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) to develop a transboundary river basin information system. The sustainable use of the project results in CLIMAFRI is ensured by a proactive engagement of sector-spanning actors and the education of future decision makers and scientists within the framework of the WASCAL Graduate Programme. CLIMAFRI was initiated by Togo and Benin with the concrete demand to reduce the negative impacts of flood and non-regulation of water resources. Data and tools will be made available locally and regionally in West Africa.
The overall project is being implemented by UNU-EHS and conducted by a dedicated team of experts. Alongside MCII the project consists of German and African scientists, a water management company (BCE), a regional education center in Africa (WASCAL) and the national ministries as responsible political authorities as the basis for multi-sectoral collaboration.
Through the deployment of a Ph.D. researcher, we are contributing to work packages by providing research contributions on the feasibility of implementing insurance-like approaches to protect communities against floods in the Lower Mono River Basin. In doing so, the assessment of already existing flood risk-sharing strategies among the population at risk will be at the center of our research. In this way, we support the project’s aim to co-design possible adaptation solutions to floods in close cooperation with the affected population, research institutions, and ministries in the partner countries.
Our Project Partners
We are partnered with the United Nations University – EHS, the University of Bonn, ZEF, Björnsen Consulting Engineers GmbH, University of Bayreuth, West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use, University of Lome, University of Abomey-Calavi, Ministry of Environment in Togo, and the Ministry of Living Environment and Sustainable development in Benin.
Flood events in West Africa have devastating impacts on the lives of people. Additionally, developments such as climate change, settlement expansion into flood-prone areas, and modification of rivers are expected to increase flood risk in the future. Policy documents have issued calls for conducting local risk assessments and understanding disaster risk in diverse aspects, leading to an increase in such research. Similarly, in a shift from flood protection to flood risk management, the consideration of various dimensions of flood risk, the necessity of addressing flood risk through an integrated strategy containing structural and non-structural measures, and the presence of residual risk are critical perspectives raised. However, the notion of “residual risk” remains yet to be taken up in flood risk management-related academic literature. This systematic review seeks to approach the notion of residual risk by reviewing information on flood impacts, common measures, and recommendations in academic literature. The review reveals various dimensions of impacts from residual flood risk aside from material damage, in particular, health impacts and economic losses. Infrastructural measures were a dominant category of measures before and after flood events and in recommendations, despite their shortcomings. Also, spatial planning interventions, a more participatory and inclusive governance approach, including local knowledge, sensitisation, and early warning systems, were deemed critical. In the absence of widespread access to insurance schemes, support from social networks after flood events emerged as the most frequent measure. This finding calls for in-depth assessments of those networks and research on potential complementary formal risk transfer mechanisms.
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