Document Type

Honors Paper

Publication Date



The phenomenon of anthropogenic climate change requires immediate attention. Many of the most severe effects of climate change will occur in Sub-Saharan Africa. Least-developed countries (LDCs) in this region are particularly vulnerable to climate change, due to their geographical location and their poor ability to cope with the consequences. This study examines the various impacts, vulnerabilities, and adaptation strategies associated with climate change in sub-Saharan African LDCs, using Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and Senegal as case studies. Each of these three countries has developed a National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA), a country-specific climate change adaptation plan designed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A number of theories on adaptation emphasize the importance of having the capacity to adapt. Interestingly, the NAPAs do not include capacity-building in their prioritized lists of adaptation strategies. I hypothesize that this omission can be attributed in part to the countries’ adaptation priorities and to the countries’ low levels of extant capacity. It may be the desire of the LDCs to create technology-based adaptation plans that can be implemented by even their most vulnerable groups, namely poor rural populations. Furthermore, colonial legacies and low levels of development have, in some cases, compromised the capacity of governments to carry out the most basic and immediate tasks. Building the capacity to respond to climate change is not always possible for the governments of LDCs.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.