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The West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) project is a large-scale research-focused programme initiated to develop effective adaptation and mitigation measures to climate change. The geographical focus of WASCAL is on West Africa with in-depth research in case study watersheds in Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

WASCAL is based on three principle components: a Competence Center, a core Research Programme and a Graduate Research Programme. The Competence Center will contribute to the development of local research capacity, and serve as a service center for the partner countries, building on the national research communities of the West African countries participating in WASCAL.

The Core Research Programme relates to the scientific activities of the Competence Center, and is implemented by a network of German and West African research institutes. Within the Core Research Programme, UNU-EHS will investigate the linkages between climate change and the state and security of rural livelihoods in West Africa.

The Graduate Studies Programme involves the creation of six Doctoral programs and four Master’s programs in West Africa, which contribute to the education of the next generation of African scientists and policymakers in the field of climate change and land management.

For detailed information please visit: www.wascal.org

Time span

Planning phase: August 2011 - September 2012 

Research phase: October 2012 - February 2016 

Key goals

The main objective of WASCAL is to enhance the resilience of social-ecological systems to the impacts of climate change and increased climate variability. Specific objectives of the work undertaken at UNU-EHS are: 

  • to identify, characterize and quantify major climate change-related hazards to rural households/communities at different spatial and temporal scales

  • to determine the probability of occurrence and potential intensity of those hazards

  • to analyse rural households’ exposure, vulnerabilities and risks to rapid onset and creeping hazards in the context of climate change

  • to explore potential coping and adaptation strategies in order to reduce the overall vulnerability and risk and increase the resilience to the identified hazards.

Expected outcomes

UNU-EHS coordinates a work package on Risk Assessment and Analysis within WASCAL, which aims to identify social groups among rural households that are the most affected by the consequences of climate change and related environmental hazards, to explore their coping and adaptation possibilities and to develop a multi-hazard risk assessment approach at multiple scales. Using in-situ data, household surveys and remotely sensed data climate induced risks mainly focusing on floods and droughts will be assessed.

Important outcomes of the research will be exposure, vulnerability and risk profiles at various spatial scales for Burkina Faso, Ghana and Benin. Furthermore, based on the research conducted within this Work Package, recommendations on suitable coping and adaptation strategies will be derived.


Daniel K. Asare-Kyei, Julia Kloos, Fabrice G. Renaud (2015), Multi-scale participatory indicator development approaches for climate change risk assessment in West Africa, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction Volume 11, Pages 13-34

Kloos, J., Renaud, F. 2014, Organic cotton production as an adaptation option in North West Benin, Outlook on Agriculture, 43(2), pp. 91-100

Asare-Kyei, D., Kloos, J., Renaud, F. (2013) Participatory approaches to develop indicators for multiple risk assessment linking different scales in West African Social-Ecological Systems under climate change. Proceedings of 2nd Android Annual Conference, Limassol, Cyprus, October  23 to 25, 2013.

Partner organizations

Please view a full list of partners at the official WASCAL website.

Funded by



  • Dr. Fabrice Renaud

  • Tel.: + 49-228-815-0211

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