From 9 until 12 May a group of representatives of the Ghanaian government and the Dutch Blue Deal Programme paid a visit to the Sand Motor project in Togo and Benin. The visit is part of the cooperation between Ghanaian organisations and the Blue Deal Programme.
Since the Blue Deal Programme focusses on the exchange of knowledge, good governance and capacity building, this visit was of great value. One part of the Blue Deal activities in Ghana is setting up a Delta Programme with the cooperating organisations for the coast of Ghana to deal with issues such as sea level rise, erosion and salt intrusion. A long-term plan, a Delta Fund, Delta laws and an overarching governance structure can be part of this Delta Programme.
The Dutch Blue Deal members were accompanied by the Ghanaian Water Resources Commission (WRC), a coordinating NGO for Delta Issues in Ghana, a representative of the district assemblies in the Lower Volta Delta, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Hydrological Service Authority (Hydro). Together they are taking the first steps into the development of the Delta Programme.
Sand Motor in Togo and Benin
Since 2022 the Dutch company Boskalis started the Sand Motor project along the coast of Togo and Benin as part of the West African Coastal Areas Management (WACA) programme. The main goal is to protect 40 kilometres of the coastline from the east of Togo to the west of Benin from erosion. The project includes the construction of new groynes and the rehabilitation of existing groynes. In addition, beaches are raised with more than 1 million cubic meters of sand. Finally, a Sand Motor of 6.4 million cubic meters is constructed on the Benin side of the border.
This Sand Motor is an innovative way of protecting the coastline by ejecting sand on the beaches through a submerged pipe. A large amount of sand is placed in strategic places, which over time spreads along the coastline due to the natural movement of wind, waves and currents. This principle of building with nature strengthens and maintains the coastline in a robust and natural way.
Nature Based Solutions and local involvement
The visit to Benin and Togo was a great opportunity to learn more about nature-based solutions like the Sand Motor and to work together with different organisations to set meaningful next steps in the protection of the coast of Ghana. Boskalis guided us along the coast to visit the various construction sites. They stressed the importance of the cooperation with the local people and local governments. Although on some locations the people started to oppose, it turned out very soon that they became strong supporters of this approach. Because the flood safety for the local communities is improved, the entrance to the sea is always guaranteed and ownership is established, and no fishing grounds have been destroyed.
The exchange of experiences with Togo and Benin about their approach was very fruitful for the Ghanaian organisations and the Delta Programme team learned from the strategies of Togo and Benin to protect the coasts. To broaden the knowledge, some participants of the meeting will also be visiting the Sand Motor along the coast in the Netherlands in June during the Blue Deal Congress.