Managing the risk of climate change impacts in Mozambique

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A shorter version of this lesson has been featured on the booklet produced by the MDG-F Environment and Climate Change window "Seeds of Knowledge - Contributing to Climate Change Solutions". - Read more about the booklet or download it in English / Spanish / French / Arabic.



The UN Joint Programme is being implemented in the district of Chicualacuala. To improve the information base at district level, the UNJP promoted a joint risk mapping exercise (with INGC/MICOA) through community participation, and prepared a comprehensive report including maps and presented it to the District Government. This pilot exercise makes a significant contribution to the territorial planning exercise for Chicualacuala which the JP is conducting with various government institutions. Through the risk analysis exercise, the JP trained on job and capacitated 10 technicians from INGC. These technicians, with support and guidance from the JP have replicated the same approach in other 5 semi-arid districts in Mozambique. The risk analysis exercise highlights the benefits of working jointly, as ONE. Working together, it was possible to achieve an integrated and very useful final result in a timely manner. The information generated was used for the elaboration of the territorial planning and integration of corresponding information into local policies, strategies and plans. This approach, based on a participatory method, can be replicated by others and other countries have already expressed interest in this.

However, an important consideration when implementing similar risk mapping exercises, based on the Mozambique implementation experience, is that the development and elaboration of the risk maps can be costly. Before being implemented, stakeholders need to do a cost-benefit analysis of carrying out these exercises based on the immediate-, medium- or long-term objectives of the information to be produced.

Purpose of the activity

The objective of the activity was to identify and describe the areas most vulnerable to drought and floods, as well as to define the risk levels, including the delimitation of risk levels. In particular, the activities undertaken included the delimitation of the areas in the domain of the community, general characterization of the community and identification of the existing infrastructure, and the delimitation of risk levels, adaptation strategies and their impact on the community.

Original issue addressed by the activity

  • Lack of information on risk analysis, particularly at district level (only available at national level). The risk analyses at national level were not useful for planning process at district level.
  • Weak translation of national priorities to the decentralized level (Government priorities on National Disaster Management Master Plan and National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA)

Strategy chosen to address the issue

  • District Risk Mapping using primary and secondary data sources. Consultation process and dissemination to ensure a correct understanding of the information provided as well as an appropriate use for planning at district level (PEDD – district development plan).
  • Central and provincial Government leading the whole process, with JP giving the technical support, to ensure a consistent and systematic integration of key aspects of the national strategies and action plans and vice versa.

Implementation of the strategy

The implementation strategy was based on a revision of information gaps, collection of secondary information and District Risk Mapping using the participatory approach with direct involvement of the community.

The consistent involvement of central and provincial Government staff allowed not only better integration of the national policies, but also the development of a know-how in the different sectors and levels of the Government to facilitate further replication of the exercise.

Taking this risk analysis exercise as a multiagency approach, has allowed mainstreaming different perspectives and harmonizing the analyses in transparent way and providing a base for monitoring purposes.

Dissemination of the produced information through formal trainings, workshops and producing edited documents, and replicating maps in suitable scale was extremely relevant to improve the use of the results by the district, and to increase the awareness by the communities on key aspects of environment, climate change and natural disasters.

Results and impacts

Positive results could be summarized in:

  • Existence of detailed information disaggregated at district level, ready to be used for planning and implementation. A detailed district situation analysis regarding drought and floods, and the corresponding reports and maps. From the risk mapping include: Zoning maps of disaster-prone areas (droughts and floods); total population at risk; and spatial database of disasters to be used in the development of detailed district profiles.
  • Staff trained on methodologies and with applicable tools that could be replicable in other districts. At government level, around 10 technicians were trained on risk analysis using participatory approaches. Government is leading all processes in other districts (replication).
  • A risk mapping exercise conducted jointly with INGC produced a high quality report that is being used for district development planning in Chicualacuala. As a result of skills gained during this exercise, INGC staff has replicated the study in 12 other vulnerable districts in and outside the Limpopo Basin.

Negative aspects:

  • Extensive field work needed, could lead to high costs.
  • Production of maps and final documents with adequate quality remains a constraint in the Mozambique context, demanding constant follow-up and attention.

Challenges and Innovations


  • Availability of all stakeholders: Risk mapping and livelihood assessments where data is almost inexistent demand a very high participation from community members, government officials, extension workers, NGOs etc. They demand also high levels of harmonization of different timings from the several stakeholders which normally requires more time in the field.
  • Harmonizing the different deadlines: Risk mapping and livelihood assessments are useful for providing on-time data to government officials and communities to act according to the situation in different periods of the year and areas of the country, and also as information inputs for different exercises undertaken by Government and partners (eg: Land Use Plan, PEDD, Etc). This has not been easy to take by the book, as limited resource availability dictates what activities and when to undertake. Consequently, sometimes when results are delivered it is too late for the stakeholders to act accordingly and data is only used for future prospects.
  • Lack of historical data: Lack of data for appropriate cc analysis (eg. climatic data) and remote sensing data with higher resolution delayed the elaboration of the methodology and strategy for risk analysis and livelihood diversification assessments; therefore, technical staff had to do extensive/ costly field work.


Joint planning and monitoring process: The JP was designed to align with government policy and strategies, notably the NAPA and PARPA (Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty). While not always possible, during the implementation of the JP all efforts have been made to ensure harmonisation with government planning and budgeting cycles and to ensure a harmonised approach that creates synergies and avoid duplication. This harmonizing approach made possible that INGC and SETSAN (Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition) could incorporate data from risk analysis into their annual working programs and strategies.

Joint monitoring of JP field activities by a group comprising JP focal points and government partners ensured that there was agreement on what was working and what was not. When activities were delayed or not producing the desired results, members of the monitoring group collectively took decisions to address these problems. The joint nature of this approach, and of the decisions taken, ensured a collective responsibility for the outcomes thereby making all partners mutually accountable for their actions. Joint monitoring of this type of JP proved to be a innovative element that strengthened the partnership between the UN agencies and their government colleagues.

Next steps

The mapping methodology and respective tools were gradually improved; including additional information requested a posterior by the stakeholders.

Databases, containing all information, sources and softwares are available at the central level, and managed by INGC, for updates and revisions if required.

Potential replication / application

Using the experience gained under the JP in Chicualacuala, the INGC has produced district thematic (risk) maps in 12 districts in the Limpopo and Zambezi River Basins. Based on these maps, SETSAN (Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition) has produced development profiles in these same districts. Climate change issues have been included in the ESANII and the annual contingency plans of the INGC.

The replication of the same exercise is on going for other districts selected by the Government, using different funding sources. The 42 districts identified as arid and semi-arid areas are planned to undertake the same exercise, as one of the priority activities for those districts was to do the risk analysis looking at major disasters. The plan is to cover all selected districts, as working jointly, it is possible to deliver to Government the complete output.

In order to replicate outside Mozambique, the exercise will be shared and presented at different international fora/workshops/trainings by UN agencies and Government. Several countries with some similarities with Mozambique are willing to adopt the methodology used for risk analysis (community participatory approach – Mapping with communities).

The elaboration of these risk maps can be costly, and stakeholders need to do a cost-benefit analysis of carrying out these exercises based on the immediate-, medium- or long-term objectives of the information to be produced.

Additional information

  • Chicualacuala baseline and risk mapping.


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