Case Study

Ghana Roadmap for Resilient Infrastructure in a Changing Climate

Co-developing a roadmap of prioritized climate adaptation investment options
Country/Geographic region Ghana/Sub-Saharan Africa Global Program
Country Income Level Classification Lower-Middle Income
Hazard(s) mitigated Climate-related hazards
Type of financing Grant (Technical Assistance)
Type of governance National Government
Lever of change Meeting SDG Targets and Related Frameworks
Main Actors ●        Ghanian Government
●        Global Center on Adaptation (GCA)
●        UNOPS
●        UNEP
●        Oxford University
Case study Summary Ghana: Roadmap for Resilient Infrastructure in a Changing Climate (the Roadmap) identifies the country’s climate adaptation needs across the energy, water, and transport sectors. A prioritized roadmap of investments and policies accompanied by relevant financing options was co-developed with government stakeholders.
Key Takeaways ●        Decision-makers need better tools and data to provide actionable information on how to identify adaptation needs in the country and to prioritize infrastructure investments that will address the existing and future risks of climate impacts, needs and gaps through informed investments that are more cost-effective in the long term, including nature-based solutions
●        Adaptation investment options need to be based on the country’s needs and backed by robust research and analysis to provide evidence-based, impactful adaptation projects and enabling environment interventions for funders and financiers to invest
●        Ghana is committed to implementing the Roadmap of 35 adaptation investment options and to building a more sustainable, resilient, inclusive, and prosperous society. However, the government cannot do this alone and requires additional financial resources from development partners and private sector

Program Rationale

Climate change impacts are expected to increase Ghana’s exposure to hazards such as flooding and frequent and intense droughts, threatening its socio-economic growth, development, and lifeline infrastructure. Future energy availability for about a quarter of a million people in rural parts of Ghana is threatened by drought, given their reliance on wood fuel for household energy generation. Climate risks also threaten major components of the country’s electricity generation and transmission due to exposure to drought and flooding. An infrastructure assessment reveals that 54% of dams assessed are exposed to floods and 23% to droughts under high hazard by 2050. Furthermore, 13-14 million people risk losing access to healthcare due to disruptions in the transport sector in the Eastern, Central and Western regions. Expected damage loss across the country under a high-flood scenario in 2050 could reach US $3.9 billion in damages to roads and highways, which is triple the estimated $1.3 billion invested in transport infrastructure in Ghana in 2019.[i]

Infrastructure resilience is central to achieving Ghana’s sustainable development by safeguarding the economy and society. Infrastructure also plays a role in 92% of Ghana’s SDGs.[ii] Despite their importance to the country’s development, these infrastructure systems are not designed to cope with the impacts of climate change. Repeated cycles of acute and chronic climate change could halt economic growth, strain public finances, and threaten to disrupt or even reverse progress towards achieving the SDGs. Exposure of these infrastructure systems prompted a need to prioritize investments in areas with the greatest adaptation needs and focus on improving the resilience of women and other vulnerable groups who are disproportionately impacted by climate events and have limited resources to recover from the damages.

Ghana: Roadmap for Resilient Infrastructure in a Changing Climate (the Roadmap) was developed under the leadership of Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the University of Oxford, and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). As a new type of study for the country, the Roadmap quantifies Ghana’s climate adaptation needs across the energy, water, and transport sectors and provides a prioritized roadmap of investments and policies accompanied by some relevant financing options.

Program Development

The Roadmap was developed in partnership with government stakeholders engaging 119 individuals across more than 20 government ministries and organizations to align and inform Ghana’s national strategic plans and priority areas for investment in infrastructure. The whole-of-government participatory engagement process aimed to instill ownership of climate adaptation solutions across the relevant government entities responsible for infrastructure development and operation. This effort required strong endorsement from the government and coordination across agencies in different sectors and data sharing to ensure the availability of up-to-date and high-resolution information on climate hazards and infrastructure assets, and to prioritize adaptation options based on the existing priorities of each sector.

The Roadmap utilized nearly 100 data sources, including geospatial datasets and policy documents. The participatory nature of the stakeholder engagement process used the best available data and expert knowledge from partners and stakeholders across the country, including national and local government ministries and agencies, utilities, and the academic community. Personnel from these entities formed the project’s Technical Working Group (TWG). Over the course of 18 months, the TWG provided inputs for the analysis and coordinated the prioritization of national adaptation needs, along with the final selection of adaptation options for the roadmap to ensure that those options were grounded in evidence and aligned with government objectives and capacity.

The Roadmap employed a new methodology and used tools from partners to develop a novel geospatial assessment of 156 nationally significant built and natural infrastructure assets across 4 different hazard types and 11 areas of the enabling environment for the entire infrastructure lifecycle. The study methodology comprised a four-tier approach of: (i) quantifying infrastructure adaptation needs geospatially and at the asset scale; (ii) evaluating adaptation investment and policy options exhaustively within the built, natural and enabling environments; (iii) developing a roadmap of prioritized adaptation investment and policy options for meeting the quantified needs and contributing to national development priorities (the SDGs, NDCs and Gender impacts); and (iv) identifying potential sources of financing for the adaptation options identified.

This systemic approach to detailed infrastructure planning is built on the previous work undertaken by the government and partners. The Government of Ghana demonstrated its commitment to enhancing resilience of its society through development of the study by collecting expertise across the government. The government also used the results of this study to inform strategically relevant plans and policies such as the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and the revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). 

Program Implementation   

The key findings from Ghana: Roadmap for Resilient Infrastructure in a Changing Climate found significant risks from flooding, drought, and other climate-driven hazards across the energy, water and transport sectors. Based on the climate risks identified, the study proposed 35 adaptation options, which were prioritized on their suitability for addressing identified risks, government needs, and co-benefits to broader sustainable development objectives by the proposed options. These 35 adaptation options were identified through desk-based research and participatory stakeholder workshops, which included representation from across the Government of Ghana and its ministries, agencies, utilities, and other organizations. Project concept notes were developed for these shortlisted options that include: 16 options involving investment in the natural environment, 15 involving built infrastructure, and 13 involving enabling environment components as well as nine solutions transcending these areas. Of these solutions, 11 are cross-sectoral or have application to more than one sector.

The project concepts provide broad geographical representation across Ghana and aim to capture its natural resource potential and harness nature-based solutions , when appropriate, to provide wider adaptation benefits. These project concept notes provide essential information for engaging potential finance sources and offer a roadmap of financing options on how public and private sector resources could be mobilized, along with financing options from more traditional sources. The study formed part of the Government of Ghana’s integrated approach to building systemic climate resilience and supported the mobilization of finance for climate resilience in Ghana. The study laid the groundwork for project partners to continue to collaborate and identify implementation options for the project concepts outlined in the roadmap. GCA is building on the learning of this national program to implement a similar approach in Bangladesh and in other African countries, such as Kenya and Senegal, through local institutions.

The insights from the project also have helped to broker solutions for downstream investments. At the time of writing, GCA, in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), is working to implement a Scaling Renewable Energy Mini-grid and Net Metering Program that seeks to support Ghana in the electrification of island communities and move closer to Ghana’s identified development objectives, such as Sustainable Energy for All by 2030. GCA is conducting climate risk assessments on potential climate hazards in the districts that will benefit from the electrification program.

Through its Technical Assistance Program, GCA is also providing technical support to the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF) as part of its application to become a Direct Access Entity to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which will enable Ghana to be able to take greater ownership of the implementation of climate finance. Furthermore, GCA is using a data-driven approach to identify and prioritize nature-based solutions by analyzing how they can deliver value for money and protect lifeline services, not only infrastructure assets.

Lessons Learned

  • Strategically planning the financing for projects within a roadmap can help accelerate action toward a more climate-resilient future. The national infrastructure risk and resilience program builds on state-of-the-art analytics to model the systemic risk of climate change on infrastructure assets and services. This analysis quantifies adaptation needs and helps to prioritize a pipeline of adaptation investment options. In Ghana, the national assessment is already influencing investments on the ground. Finally, the data and recommendations are currently also being integrated into the Ghana National Adaptation Plan (NAP).
  • Identifying innovative financing mechanisms incentivizes private sector engagement and financing from non-traditional sources. The study used the Sustainable Infrastructure Financing Tool (SIFT) developed by UNOPS in collaboration with the University of Oxford to explore the range of financing options for resilient infrastructure. An assessment of Ghana’s financing landscape reveals that the Government of Ghana has access to 82 infrastructure-related funds, of which it has had existing relationships with 36 (44%) within the past 10 years. In total, 78 funds (95%) provide funding for projects in the built and natural environments, whereas 58 (71%) provide funding for enabling environment activities.

Of these funds, 51 (62%) were identified as being able to provide project preparation financing – an important area to develop full bankable project proposals – necessary to engage private sector finance in climate adaptation in the country. Securing finance for the Roadmap to address critical infrastructure adaptation needs requires robustly justified project concepts and fully prepared projects that are suitable for financing.

  • Effective capacity building requires a concerted effort and a clear plan to transfer knowledge to sectors and ministries that will implement guidance. Implementation of the Roadmap was accompanied by a plan and concerted effort to transfer knowledge to those who would implement it. For example, the Roadmap allowed infrastructure analysts in the Government of Ghana to conduct further assessment of the country’s infrastructure resilience in the future, integrating new and updated data as it becomes available. Periodic reviews and updates of the resilient infrastructure roadmap will ensure its continued relevance to Ghana’s adaptation needs and emerging global priorities. Knowledge management is critical to ensure the continued use of evidence-based methods and tools across the government. Transfer of knowledge to interested stakeholders in-country through a handover of datasets and training in open-source tools used to conduct the resilience analysis will be completed.

[i] Thalsded, Ghana: Roadmap.

[ii] Ibid.


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