EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The MANCOGA Project - co-designing NbS using mangroves against coastal hazards in Ghana

Holger Brix1, Edem Mahu2, David Kaiser3, Christiane Eschenbach4, Donatus Yaw Atiglo5, and Joanna Staneva6
Holger Brix et al.
  • 1Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Institute of Carbon Cycles, Geesthacht, Germany (
  • 2University of Ghana, Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences, Legon, Accra, Ghana (
  • 3Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Institute of Carbon Cycles, Geesthacht, Germany (
  • 4Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Institute of Carbon Cycles, Geesthacht, Germany (
  • 5University of Ghana, Regional Institute for Population Studies, Legon, Accra, Ghana (
  • 6Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Institute of Coastal Systems - Analysis and Modeling, Geesthacht, Germany (

Coastal hazards such as erosion, flooding and pollution are major problems globally, exacerbated by increasing frequency and severity of hydro-meteorological extremes amidst inadequate technology and adaptive capacity. The Ghanaian coast is an example of a region impacted by such problems. Factors hampering the management and improvement of these issues include the lack of data, insufficient communication structures between stakeholders and missing pathways to informed decisions with sustained impact.

In this context, the MANCOGA project stands out by employing a co-design approach to develop a robust and participatory Nature-based Solution (NbS) to coastal hazards. The co-design pilot phase has drawn the focus onto steps for restoring wetlands, mangroves in particular, to provide sustainable livelihoods by protecting and reinvigorating coastal systems and environmental health.

In the implementation phase, MANCOGA will evaluate mangrove ecosystem services for their potential as NbS to a number of pressing local issues. A Digital Twin will use What-If scenarios to predict the role of mangroves as NbS for flood mitigation and erosion prevention. Being a dominant Blue Carbon ecosystem, mangroves will also contribute to climate change adaptation strategies as well as provide socio-economic value (e.g., through carbon credits). The wider effects on water quality, through the reduction of eutrophication, is critical for local economics, including fisheries. We employ aerial photography and remote sensing to identify possible nature-based solution areas.

The comprehensive community involvement of stakeholders from all societal and administrative levels facilitates frameworks to understand and evaluate effectiveness of NbS applications. The relationships and collaborative approach developed during the co-design phase will guarantee continued involvement of stakeholders. MANCOGA will provide a digital toolbox of intuitive, interactive tools to analyze and disseminate archived and new observational data, which will enable ecosystem service quantification before and after the application of NbS, and lead to knowledge-based decision-making.

We envision MANCOGA as the start of sustained collaboration, knowledge transfer and capacity building. Therefore, we warmly invite researchers and stakeholders, from Africa and elsewhere, to connect to MANCOGA and share experiences and efforts.

How to cite: Brix, H., Mahu, E., Kaiser, D., Eschenbach, C., Atiglo, D. Y., and Staneva, J.: The MANCOGA Project - co-designing NbS using mangroves against coastal hazards in Ghana, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-10108,, 2023.

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