University of Ghana - Accra, Ghana

Unit or Programme:
Department of Geography and Resource Development
Environmental and Urban Studies
Unit Director:
Professor Martin Oteng-Ababio
Contact details:
Professor Martin Oteng-Ababio
Osman Alhassan
+233 24 438 2281
+233 30 250 3390

This Urban Environmental Management and Disaster Risk Reduction Study Group emerged in 1991 from an initial collaboration between a trans-disciplinary team of scholars hosted by the University of Ghana’s Department of Geography and Resource Development  with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). The study group has engaged in many research projects both individually and collectively with other international institutions (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UNDP, UN-Habitat, WHO and UNICEF among others) on various environmental health and integrated urban risk issues which are common throughout Ghana.

Although the group’s work is mainly focused on Ghana, it has produced scholarly research outputs and publications in leading international journals, either as a collective or through individual members, thus giving the members of the study group a high international profile.

A central objective of the study group to make their research projects findings accessible and applicable by using their research to advance policy formulation and programme implementation in improved environmental health, disaster risk and poverty reduction. In this regard, it has done consultancy work for the Ministry of Environment and Science especially the Environmental Protection Agency, UNICEF, WHO, UN-Habitat, and other local partners in Ghana including Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies. Therefore these projects have aimed at assisting to create healthier and liveable human settlements which are also secure through strengthened capacity in disaster risk reduction both in Ghana and internationally.

Over the years, the study group has been focused on developing the capacity of the next generation of researchers and practitioners, specifically in the environmental and urban risk field, by developing courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Commissioned research
  • Urbanisation and Climate Change: The case of Ho, Tamale, Ashaiman and Sodom and Gomorrah (2013) commissioned by University of Health and Allied Sciences-Ghana
  • Community resilience through early warning of flood and drought events (2014 – On going) commissioned by NADMO
  • Community resilience through stakeholder participation in Sabon Zongo (February 2014 – On going) commissioned by Accra Metropolitan District
  • University of South Florida (USF World) collaborative research project on developing a toolkit for community resilience (July 2012 – September 2013) commissioned by University of South Florida
  • Seismic vulnerability mapping in Accra (2012) commissioned by Department of Geography, University of Ghana
  • Fire risks in urban markets (2012) commissioned by Department of Geography, University of Ghana
  • Women’s Assessment of Ghana’s Emergency Response System (2013 -  On going) commissioned by Janok Foundation
Academic Courses

The university offers a number of undergraduate and postgraduate disaster risk themed modules in the their geography department courses and programmes which include;

Undergraduate courses

  • B.A/Bsc. Geography: Theories and Analytical Methods for Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction
  • B.A/Bsc. Geography: Policies and Strategies for Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction
Postgraduate programmes
  • Mphil  Geography: Concepts and Methods in Advanced Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Mphil  Geography: Applied Integrated Disaster Risk Reduction (IDRR) in Urban Ghana
  • PhD Geography: Hazards and Vulnerability Mapping for Adaptation to Climate Risks in Savanna Ecoystems

Short Courses:

The University provides a number of regular  short courses each year;

  • Introduction to Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Urban Areas
  • Community Information Base for Environmental Health Management (EHM) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
  • Strategies for Community Resilience Building