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Key findings from Senegal NCAP Project

Multiple Authors


Climatic threats to the Senegalese tourism sector are shown in Table 1. The risk to the Senegalese tourist industry is that the combined impact of these threats, which would include compromised properties, narrow beaches, limited drinking water supplies, poor bio-diversity and natural attraction and generally uncomfortable temperatures, could make Senegal increasingly unattractive to tourists seeking a coastal holiday. This could have a devastating impact on tthe Senegalese economy.

Table 1: Climate Related Threats to Important Senegalese Tourist Zones

Sine-Saloum Delta Petite Cote Langue de Barbarie
  • Saline intrusion into important fresh water supplies
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Seafront erosion
  • Soil degradation
  • Elevated temperatures
  • Seafront erosion
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Land subsidence
  • Loss of beaches
  • Elevated temperatures
  • Loss of bird life
  • Loss of beaches
  • Lose of endemic plant forms
  • Saline intrusion into important fresh water supplies
  • Seafront erosion
  • Elevated temperatures

Adaptation Options

Coastal zone management adaptation strategies proposed for consideration were classed according to a ‘protect, adapt, or retreat’ typology. These were:

  • Construct coastal protection works, paying attention to the fact that these can degrade the natural beauty of the coastal environment;
  • Restore natural protection such as mangroves or barrier islands;
  • Construct new tourist accommodation and services farther from the seafront; and
  • Importation of sand to eroded beaches, which is a temporary solution and can damage the zone from which sand is collected.

In terms of the adaptation strategies appropriate for the construction of buildings to support the tourism sector, the following potential adaptations were proposed:

  • Replace concrete based construction, with high aggregate demands typically met by mining local beaches and dunes, with more traditional building materials;
  • Construct all new buildings farther from the seafront;
  • Require that financial instruments used to secure construction funds of new construction directly on the seafront must mature over a shorter time frame consistent with the threat posed by coastal zone erosion; and
  • Increase insurance premiums on new construction positioned directly on the seafront and ensure they mature over a shorter time frame consistent with the threat posed by coastal zone erosion.

In terms of proposed adaptation activities in the tourism sector itself, the following concepts were provided for public consultation:

  • Develop new marketing strategies to increase interest in new tourism products offered in the interior of the country;
  • Create an inter-ministerial panel to resolve problems confronting the tourism sector in the areas of health, water supply, and public works; and
  • Encourage direct investment by players in the tourism sector in the protection of critical coastal zone ecosystems which are a central part of the tourist experience in Senegal.

General Policy Adaptations

At the end of the public consultation process with key players in the tourism industry, a set of general policy adaptations were prioritized, along with specific actions to be taken in the three target zones. Policy adaptations were:

  • Define a zone of maritime public domain, within which new construction and aggregate mining will be strictly prohibited;
  • Require the preparation of Environmental Impact Reports for all new construction in the coastal zone; and
  • Promote eco-tourism, particularly targeted at interior regions of the country.

Transport Infrastructure

Climate scenarios suggest that in the future Senegal will be warmer and may experience increases in the intensity of storm events, particularly in the northern portion of the country. In this context the current state of the road network in Senegal is concerning, particularly when combined with the anticipated rise in sea level.

In terms of flooding two particularly vulnerable areas are the link between Saint-Louis and Bakel along the Senegal River where shifting sand disrupts the ability to install and manage a functional drainage system, leading to regular flooding and occasional road damage during storm events. In the Dakar region low lying roads are regularly damaged when heavy rains coincide with high tides and strong storm surges. Of particular concern is Route National 1 that links the capital to the rest of the country as an exit from the Cap Vert Peninsula and the Western Cornish Road the runs along the Atlantic seafront. Roads in the city of Saint-Louis itself are also prone to flooding when the Senegal River floods, the tides are high and the storm surges are strong (Figure 1). In light of the importance of these two urban centers, there are large efforts to define adaptation activities focused on these regions.

Figure 1: Vulnerable Roads in the Vicinity of Dakar and Saint-Louis

Adaptation options

Based on the assessment of the vulnerability of the road network linked to potential changes in climate, combined with consideration of where disruptions to roads would have the largest negative impact on the national transport infrastructure system, a series of potential adaptation activities were developed in preparation for public consultation with key players in the sector. These included:

  • The construction of new roadways around flood prone areas;
  • The construction of suspended roads;
  • Improvements to road drainage systems;
  • Improvements in the quality of asphalt used to pave roads;
  • The establishment of a regular road maintenance program to be implemented following each rainy season;
  • Consolidation and reinforcement of road beds on seafront roads;
  • The construction of seawalls and coastal zone protection measures; and
  • A land use policy to shift population centers out of flood prone areas.

These adaptation activities were presented to key actors in the sector who then followed standard NAPA project prioritization methods to identify priority actions for which project papers were prepared and submitted to the UNFCCC.

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Senegal NCAP Project

Netherlands Climate Assistance Programme (NCAP)

Methodology of Senegal NCAP Project

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Lessons learned from Senegal NCAP Project

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