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Take a look at West Africa now: Atlas shows dynamic new landscape changes

The landscapes of West Africa are drastically changing as a result of human activity and climate change. Over the past 30 years, the Sahel and West African region have faced significant climatic disturbances due to devastating droughts and floods. Now, the area is plagued with land degradation and deforestation and a new USAID-funded project shows dynamic images like never before. The project, an atlas titled, "Landscapes of West Africa - A Window on a Changing World", vividly shows remarkable and subtle changes in 24 classes of land use and land cover (LULC) using satellite images collected in a time series from the mid-60's, 1975, 2000 and 2013.

USAID/West Africa along with partners, Comité Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS-The Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) documented nearly 50 years of dynamic change in LULC across the region. Now the dynamic results of this great effort are available for the masses for free, online.

This learning workshop that will be held on 13th to 14th December 2017 at Novotel Hotel in Dakar and will highlight six countries: Senegal, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Mauritania. The aim of this workshop is to stimulate discussion and actions that will underpin the longevity of the LULC program regarding the following topics: i) Sustainability - How the LULC data will be updated and maintained in the long run; ii) Compliance with international agreements - How the LULC data and products meet the needs of participating countries in honoring their commitments under their nationally-determined contributions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; iii) Support for regional initiatives - How LULC mapping and updates improve the effectiveness of national and regional programs such as the regional Food and Nutritional Security (FNS) program and the Food Crisis Prevention Network; and iv) Capacity development - How LULC products should be integrated into formal education - primary, secondary and university curricula - and advance academic research and extension under such initiatives as the UN-Climate Change Learn program.

This learning workshop was preceded by another held on September 27th- 28th for technical experts and officials in Accra, Ghana. During the September workshop, seven countries: Ghana, the Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Togo and Benin were highlighted.

The first interactive learning workshop and launch was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in July. The launch informed West African decision-makers, technical and financial partners in four countries – Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Chad – about how the atlas' time-series maps could be used as environmental monitoring tools and how decision-makers could use the information in action plans to address regional environmental challenges.

All West AfricaLULCproducts are available to the public via download at no charge from the project's website. Data and products acquired through the West Africa Land Use Dynamics project website have no restrictions on subsequent use, sale, or redistribution. To take a closer look at the changing landscapes of West Africa and to download tools and data, please visit https://eros.usgs.gov/westafrica/.

The media is invited to cover the opening on Wednesday, 13th December, 2017 from 8:30 at Novotel Hotel, Dakar.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy in Senegal.
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