The Gender-Based Climate Smart Integrated Flood Management Project seeks to use information and communication technology (ICT) through citizenry voice in engaging duty bearers to promote holistic approach to flood management in communities along the Odaw Stream, which is a flood hotpot in the city of Accra.
The project further identifies with Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contributions of the Paris Climate Agreement on Adaptation aspects of “Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure” and similar protocols such as the African Union Agenda 2063 in aspects of climate change and resilient communities, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The project goals include developing flood early warning system (FEWS) using ICT and remote application through social media platforms, text messaging and sirens, within the catchment of the Odaw Stream in Accra.
It would also assist city planners and managers to integrate climate data, ICT and spatial planning to deliver on flood management.
The action centre of the project is the central business district of Accra focusing on the Odaw, and benefits accruing to formal and informal sectors, least capacitated and highly vulnerable in society such as women, the poor, children and migrants.
The lead communities are Odawna, Avenor, Alajo and Alogboshie.
The Project Principal Investigators are Dr Delali Dovie, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow, Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS), University of Ghana and Dr Raymond Kasei, Senior Lecturer, Department of Climate Change and Food Security, UDS.
The workshop was therefore, organised to update stakeholders on how far the project had come and to seek their inputs into the dissemination and the way forward.
It was attended by over 60 participants drawn from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Okai Koi South and North, Ayawaso and Osu Klottey Sub-Metropolitans.
Professor S. N. A. Codjoe, the Director of RIPS, University of Ghana, said their research showed that most of the flooding that occurred in Accra emanated from the Akuapem hills in the Eastern Region.
He said the project had erected three weather stations along the course of Accra flood waters from the origin to the destination.
He said in partnership with Vodafone, text messages on floods would be sent to people to caution them on pending floods.
He said the project would help reduce the time between flood warning and response from enhanced preparedness, and also minimise impacts on the vulnerable such as women and children.
Dr Dovie said it was evident that population growth challenges were compromising spatial planning in urban and peri-urban communities and cities and Accra was no exception.
He said the haphazard development of human settlement such as building on waterways and green spaces from increased resident demand for housing had contributed to increased exposure to flood risks.
He said science had high confidence in increased frequency and intensity of floods in coastal cities and disruption of infrastructure as a result of climate change.
He noted that seasonal forecast for West Africa had already shown that Ghana would experience heavy floods in2017 with climate change as the major driver.
Dr Dovie explained that recent floods in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and associated deaths, injuries, damage to infrastructure, the environment, the disruption of life and the functioning of the community presented institutions and society with new forms of challenges of building and managing cities.
He said there was the need for new and enhanced approaches to city planning and management towards building resilience of cities.
“We are grateful to our partner communities: Odawna, Avenor, Alajo and Alogboshie, state agencies and some private sector interest groups for their support, Dr Dovie said.
“We are seeking to remove barriers to science – policy outcomes, in supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially Goals 11 and 13 on ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’ and ‘Climate Action’, respectively, ” he added.
Dr Kassi said the project seeks to make our communities safe again.
He said the project would help minimise losses to gross domestic products (GDP) from rainy days absenteeism at work and physical assets.
Mr Desmond Appiah, the Chief Resilience and Sustainability Officer, Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) who steered the function, said it would require concerted efforts of all and sundry to address the perennial flood in Accra.
He said the AMA would soon set-up a Data intelligence Unit to facilitate smooth decision making.