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EVENT: Mainstreaming climate resilient infrastructure

How do we ensure that we are not promoting climate resilient poverty and how do we ensure robust decision-making in planning for and implementing water infrastructure that takes into account climate resilience? These are some of the questions panelists will be discussing at CDKN’s official side event at this year’s World Water Week in Stockholm. 

The year since World Water Week 2015 has been significant for sustainable development and climate change practitioners. In September 2015 world leaders agreed 17 SDGs, establishing a set of 169 targets to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change by 2030. In December, 196 countries agreed to limit global warming to 2’C with an aspiration for 1.5’C, something the Guardian referred to as the world’s greatest diplomatic success.

It has been significant too for Africa. January 2015 saw devastating floods in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique. Low rainfall in the southern African region for the 2015 -2016 wet season led Governments to declare the worst drought in decades. Crop failures across the continent have deepened food insecurity. Countries have had to import grain against increasing prices, falling currency values, and low forex reserves. Hydropower dependent countries are experiencing significant energy shortages as storage levels drop, further compounding the impact of low global commodity prices on economic growth.

The UNISDR report to COP 21 noted that weather related disasters account for over 80% of global disasters. The number and severity of these disasters is expected to increase with a warming climate. In low income countries the loss of infrastructure due to disaster makes up a higher proportion of GDP. Unsurprisingly, four of the SDG targets refer to disaster risk reduction, and the links between climate and disaster resilience, infrastructure and sustainable growth has been pushed to the forefront of the global development agenda.

This puts Africa’s infrastructure deficit of close to U$ 100 billion/year over the next decade into stark perspective. This last year has shown that climate resilience is as much about delivering infrastructure to help the poor cope with current weather related disasters, as it is about delivering larger scale – climate proofed – energy, transport and water infrastructure to enable sustainable development.

This side event will explore this through a panel discussion highlighting key lessons from:

  • CDKN’s work with ARA-Sul in southern Mozambique;
  • The Future Climate For Africa’s work on long lived hydropower infrastructure; and
  • The Global Water Partnership work particularly in operationalising the Water, Climate and Development Programme
  • CRIDF’s work on linking climate resilient infrastructure development, transboundary cooperation and financing in the SADC region.
  • The Africa Water Facility’s work in mobilising and providing finance for water resources development

Why join us for this event?

The World Bank Group has highlighted that the majority of Africa’s U$100 billion per year infrastructure deficit is in the energy, transport and water sectors. This requires investments in long-lived infrastructure. This has seen emphasis on ex ante climate proofing of the infrastructure, potentially driving up the cost, or affecting the financial viability of the investments. Taking its cue from the IPCC’s concept of iterative climate adaptation, the FCFA’s work on the Economics of Accounting for Long-term Climate in Decision Making, suggests that in some cases the least cost option may be an ex post “wait, learn and respond” approach. Importantly, low income countries have substantial development opportunities through deferred climate proofing costs.

The Government of Mozambique’s work on building the climate resilience of the Limpopo Basin, supported by the Africa Water Facility and CDKN, has highlighted that addressing the challenges of current climate variability through small infrastructure, contributes to building resilience in the rural poor. The work recognises the need to climate proof transmission and transport infrastructure, and addresses the role of transboundary cooperation in building climate resilience.

CRIDF has similarly focussed on facilitating the delivery of small-scale infrastructure to build climate resilience among SADC’s poor. The Facility’s CRIDF+ component focuses on the role that larger infrastructure and transboundary cooperation can play in building climate resilient economies.

Our panellists have been intimately involved in these studies, and in mainstreaming climate resilient infrastructure into sustainable growth strategies in Africa. As we move into the next phases of CDKN funding we need to challenge the lessons learnt through these processes.

When: Tuesday 30 August, 16.00 – 17.30

Venue: Stockholm City Conference Centre, Room FH 202


  • Sam Bickersteth – Chief Executive Officer, Climate and Development Knowledge Network
  • Shehnaaz Moosa –Director, SouthSouthNorth
  • Charles Reeve – Technical Director, Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF)
  • Delário Sengo, Head of Technical Department, Administração Regional de Águas do Sul (ARASul),
  • Government of Mozambique
  • David Hebart-Coleman – Climate Change and Water Resources Specialists, Africa Water Facility
  • Gavin Quibell – Independent Strategic Water, Climate and Development Consultant
  • Moderator: Professor Torkil Jønch Clausen
  • Rapporteur: Gavin Quibell and Simbisai Zhanje
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