Mozambique water woes (2) - How to build capacity in climate resilience planning

Mozambique water woes (2) - How to build capacity in climate resilience planning

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Date: 16th February 2017
Author: CDKN Global
Type: Feature
Organisation: Global Water Partnership
Country: Mozambique

How much fresh water is available to people, where it is and how it is managed are probably the most important questions in water security. Miren Gutierrez of CDKN looks at the context in which CDKN and the Global Water Partnership put in place a capacity building programme aimed at improving resilience in Mozambique. This is part II of a two part blog; read the first one here.

At the beginning of the year, the Maputo Regional Water Company (Águas da Região de Maputo) announced severe restrictions in the water service in the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area (which includes Maputo and Matola, and Boane district [about 4.22 mill. in total]), reports AllAfrica. The reason is that the Umbeluzi River and the reservoir at the Pequenos Libombos dam are not supplying enough water.

Under normal circumstances, coverage of drinking water supplies in Mozambique is low, at 49%, with a large difference between urban coverage (80%) and rural coverage (35%), says UNICEF. But the drought affecting the south of the country for the last two years, combined with weak rainfall in the current rainy season, have diminished the volume of stored water available to Greater Maputo, resulting in water restrictions since January 10.

Water stress can weaken the achievement of key development goals as well. An ODI report looking at the impact of climate change on different development areas concludes that, with extreme weather projected to become more commonplace, 20 years of progress on extreme poverty is under threat. Water, energy and food – closely interlinked— are areas directly impacted by climate change, with indirect impacts on other areas, such as education, security, migration, health and gender.

Meanwhile, Mozambique “ranks third amongst African countries for being most exposed to risks from multiple weather-related hazards,” according to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). “Drought occurs primarily in the southern region, with a frequency of seven droughts for every 10 years. Floods occur every two to three years, with higher levels of risk in the central and southern regions.”

But the water situation in Mozambique is not only a result of disastrous weather and geographic circumstances. As seen, how authorities design, expand, supply and manage water has also a big role in achieving water security.

Although rural population in Mozambique is almost 68% (as measured by the World Bank in 2015), urban dwellers are on the rise. More than a year after the Global Water Partnership/CDKN Capacity Building Programme ended, a look at its impacts provides an excellent case for a study of this question.

From 2013 until 2015, CDKN supported a capacity building component of a plan focused on water security, as part of the Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP). WACDEP is an African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) programme implemented by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and partners. GWP and CDKN funded it.

The need was there. An initial survey among the participants in the workshops shows that more than 58% of them thought that the level of human capacity to engage with water security within their organisations was “low” or “modest;” more than 27% declared that interdepartmental cooperation on these issues was improving, “although there are not formal structures.” “Lack of human capacity” (66.7%) and “lack of funding” (77.8%) are the main reasons why organisations cannot get involved in water security, followed by “lack of awareness” (55.6%).

WACDEP was created as a response to the African Union Heads of State and Government adopting the Sharm el-Sheikh Declaration on Water and Sanitation in July 2008, to support the integration of water security and climate change adaptation into planning and the design of financing strategies for resilience.

WACDEP´s capacity development programme itself was launched in August 2011, focusing on eight countries and five transboundary basins. Altogether 170 people were engaged in capacity building for climate resilience. Activities included a start-up meeting and five workshops per country – with a mix of lectures, discussions, excursions and case study analyses. Between workshops, mentor-supported action plans (individual projects) were undertaken.

For Klas Sandström of Niras, the organisation in charge of delivering the capacity building training, the fact that the programme came out of WACDEP was key for its success. “Top-down initiatives usually generate zero ownership,” he says in an interview with CDKN. “This was an initiative for Africa by Africans.” In fact, all the trainers were local experts.

Indeed, the national component was key. The learning needs assessment undertaken before launching the programme determined that actions in capacity development initiatives should be “anchored on existing local institutions that are able to provide continuous support to the process beyond projects.” And an evaluation of the programme indicated that linking the programme to on-going national processes was also important.

Sarra Touzi, of the Global Water Partnership, says the programme was successful because it “connected to the realities” of the countries where it was implemented, and created a sense of ownership among the participants. It also put in contact groups that weren´t necessarily talking to each other, for example meteorology experts and decision makers in the agriculture sector.

The programme included a week-long “train the trainers” seminar. And local trainers mentored three participants each to produce a study, says Sandström. In the case of Mozambique, most of the participants worked at several ministries and universities.

One of them “produced a project proposal for the mapping of the financing institutions for climate resilience projects to support the institutions in search of funds… It also showed participants how to budget for projects.” The proposal, entitled “Supporting urban flood management in Maputo towards enhancing climate resilience,” was sent to the African Water Facility (AWF), which approved it.

“Enhanced capacity of key government ministries and staff in project preparation and financing have led to a mobilization of almost EUR 3.000.000 to implement water security and climate resilience interventions in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Cameroon. This result cannot be fully linked to the capacity development project, but the project has significantly contributed to this impact,” says an evaluation of the project.

“At the end of the programme, participants sat an online exam... Of the 120 participants who took the exam, 110 successfully passed,“ says a report published by CDKN at the end. In a Learning Brief CDKN in 2016 concluded that “those engaged in each country gained a strong sense of pride in and responsibility for programme activities. This translated into well implemented activities, good learning and tangible results.”

Image credit: Mozambique - Maputo Matola Polluted Stream & Water Pipe - John Hogg - 09061 (2)F


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