Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation into Development Planning for Sustainable Development in the Kassena-Nankana West District

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It is argued that climate change is the greatest contemporary global threat to sustainable development, and that the risks associated with climate change will become more severe over time. In Ghana, climate change has threatened the lives and livelihoods of people particularly in the three regions of the north. Despite this, adaptation to climate change which is fundamental for sustainable development has long been viewed to be far away from the immediate concerns of development and therefore not incorporated into poverty reduction programmesacross the country. In order to address the daunting challenges posed by climate change, central and local authorities need to undertake planned adaptation and integrate climate change in development planning in order to reduce the vulnerability of the poor. In this regard, the study sought to examine the extent to which climate change adaptation has been mainstreamed into development planning in the Kassena-Nankana West District.The study adopted the qualitative approach involving the use of in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and observation. The study found that, whereas the level of vulnerability to climate change in the District was high, adaptive capacity was low. Initiatives in the District were in response to environmental challenges rather than climate change hazards or impacts. As a result, the District’s approach to fighting climate change was reactive. Mainstreaming was ineffective both at the district and sub-district level. The District had no strategy for addressing climate change and the understanding and capacity of decentralized departments/agencies about climate change was low. A number of challenges accounted for the poor mainstreaming of climate change in Kassena-Nankana West District. These include limited knowledge on climate change risks and disaster preparedness, the neglect of indigenous knowledge and weak institutional capacity among others. Some of the prospects for mainstreaming climate change adaptation in the District include the wealth of unexploited indigenous knowledge on climate change adaptation and the non-institutionalization of climate change in the District. Therefore, the study recommends that, climate change adaptation should be institutionalized within the structures of the Assembly and indigenous knowledge on adaptation should be given priority attention.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi – Ghana, in Partial Fulfilment for the award of Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management