Climate Change and Rural Livelihoods in Ghana: the impacts, adaptations and barriers

Climate change poses considerable threats to socioeconomic development and ecological systems across Africa. This is particularly critical for smallholder farming communities in dryland agroecosystems where climate change interact with non-climatic stressors and shocks to exacerbate the vulnerability of rural livelihoods. Ghana is already suffering from significant climate change impacts and is projected to experience increased temperatures and erratic rainfall patterns in the coming years and decades. This threatens the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those relating to poverty reduction (SDG 1), food security (SDG 2) and climate action (SDG 13).

This talk focuses on providing an understanding of the adverse impacts of climate change and variability on rural livelihoods in northern Ghana and how these perpetuate existing vulnerability among rural households and communities. Drawing on personal research from across rural Ghana, this talk spotlights the various practices employed by rural communities to moderate the adverse impacts of climate risks. The talk also highlights the key barriers confronting rural communities in their attempt to address the impacts of climate change. The talk concludes by proposing a number of recommendations such as increased use of climate services, climate-smart agriculture interventions and changing cropping choices, aimed at making rural livelihoods in northern Ghana more resilient in the face of climate change and variability.

Prof. Philip Antwi-Agyei is the Director of the Office of Grants and Research at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Philip is a former Commonwealth Scholar, who obtained his PhD from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom in 2013. Philip is an interdisciplinary climate change scientist whose research involves developing innovative multi-scale methodologies for assessing vulnerability and adaptations to climate change across the local, regional and national scales. Specifically, his research uses spatial databases, ecological studies and field-based participatory approaches aimed at broadening understanding of how climate change and variability affect food security and livelihoods.

Prof. Antwi-Agyei was a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 oC, and a Contributing Author on the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC. He has consulted for leading international organisations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, Accra), the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Canada, and Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency, to mention but a few. Philip developed the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Framework for Ghana and the National Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan for the Infrastructure Sector (Water, Energy, and Transport Sectors). Prof. Antwi-Agyei was the Consultant for the adaptation component of Ghana’s Updated Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Prof. Antwi-Agyei is a recipient of several prestigious international grants including the International Foundation for Science (2010–2013), Climate Impacts Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement Fellowship (2015–2016) funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, Innovation Grant from the London School of Economics and University of Leeds, United Kingdom (2016–2018), and Science for Weather Information and Forecasting Techniques (2016–2021) funded by the Global Challenge Research Fund. He has also won grants under the Climate Research for Development (2019–2021), an initiative of the African Climate Policy Centre in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. Philip was a Fellow under the Future Leaders–Africa Independent Research (FLAIR) (2020–2022) and Collaboration Grants (2021–2022) funded by the Royal Society, London.

He has published extensively in reputable international peer reviewed journals on climate change issues and presented his research outputs in several international conferences and workshops. Philip serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Climate and Development (published by Taylor and Francis). He also serves on the Editorial Board of Journal of Environmental Policy and Governance and is a regular reviewer for several leading high impact factor journals on climate change related matters.

The Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery and Biodiversity Network are interested in promoting a wide variety of views and opinions on nature recovery from researchers and practitioners.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this lecture are those of the author alone, they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery/Biodiversity Network, or its researchers.