Environmental Management

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 665–678 | Cite as

Adaptation to Climatic Hazards in the Savannah Ecosystem: Improving Adaptation Policy and Action



People in Ghana’s savannah ecosystem have historically experienced a range of climatic hazards that have affected their livelihoods. In view of current climate variability and change, and projected increases in extreme events, adaptation to climate risks is vital. Policies have been put in place to enhance adaptation across sub-Saharan Africa in accordance with international agreements. At the same time, local people, through experience, have learned to adapt. This paper examines current policy actions and their implementation alongside an assessment of barriers to local adaptation. In doing so it links adaptation policy and practice. Policy documents were analysed that covered key livelihood sectors, which were identified as climate sensitive. These included agriculture, water, housing and health policies, as well as the National Climate Change Policy. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were also held with key stakeholders in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Analyses were carried using thematic content analysis. Although policies and actions complement each other, their integration is weak. Financial, institutional, social, and technological barriers hinder successful local implementation of some policy actions, while lack of local involvement in policy formulation also hinders adaptation practice. Integration of local perspectives into policy needs to be strengthened in order to enhance adaptation. Coupled with this is a need to consider adaptation to climate change in development policies and to pursue efforts to reduce or remove the key barriers to implementation at the local level.


Adaptation Policy action Multiple climatic hazards Savannah ecosystem 



DR. Gerald A.B. Yiran was sponsored by Commonwealth Scholarship and Periperi-U (USAID) Prof. L.C. Stringer was supported by the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, award ES/K006576/.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Resource Development, School of Social SciencesUniversity of GhanaAccraGhana
  2. 2.Sustainability Research Institute, School Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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