Integrating climate change risk management in Azerbaijan


This project, "Integrating climate change risk management by vulnerable communities in the Greater Caucasus region of Azerbaijan", aims to reduce vulnerability of the mountain communities of the Greater Caucasus region of Azerbaijan to climate change induced water stress and flood hazards by improved water and flood management. This will be accomplished through addressing the management framework at the legislative and policy level, strengthening institutional capacity by introducing new non-structural methods and providing training, and empowering communities to actively participate in water and flood management

Many of the communities of the Greater Caucasus region of Azerbaijan, especially the mountain communities, are at risk from climate induced flooding and water stress. The people have become resilient to the difficult conditions of the region, but now climate change is exacerbating both problems. Reducing the vulnerability of these communities requires proactive adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The current legislative and policy framework for water management is not sufficiently flexible to address climate change or to modernise water and flood management. Institutional capacity is also insufficient to tackle the problems that the impacts of climate change bring, including: increasing flood frequency, damages and hazards, and decreasing availability of and access to water resources. Communities have not been able to actively participate in water and flood management decision making.

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Project Details

Water is unevenly distributed across the seasons and geographic areas in Azerbaijan. Despite an overall trend of rainfall reductions in the country, the mountainous regions of Greater Caucasus experience increasingly prolonged inundations and flash floods during the wet season and extended dry spells during the dry seasons. Variation of water flow may reach 30% between the dry and wet seasons.

Climate change does not only impact water availability but also exacerbates frequency and magnitude of local floods. A sustained increase in rainfall has been recorded during winter and spring months leading to floods and mudflows (the latter occurs in the areas subjected to erosion). Major floods occurred in the Greater Caucasus in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2002. The frequency of mudflows in the region increased from an average of 2 – 4 per year during the baseline period of 1960-90s, to an average of 15-18 per year in the new millennium (SNC, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources). At present, the value of assets at risk from flooding is about USD 3.7 billion (Asian Development Bank). Floods and mudflows regularly affect large areas of Azerbaijan, in particular the Kura River and Araz River floodplains (near to and downstream of Sabirabad) and the steep alluvial plains along the tributaries of the Kura and Araz Rivers. The volume of sediments each mudslide brings is between 0.2 and 1.0 million m3. Floods in 2003 caused over USD 50 million in losses and damaged over 7,150 private and public buildings. A 100-year flood event would cover 15,000 km2, affect 300,000 people, and result in damages of $396 million.

Seasonal nature of water availability in the areas of Greater Caucasus prompt local population to move closer towards the flood plain areas and river banks thus increasing exposure of settlements to flood incidents. Protective zones are not clearly defined or observed. Structural measures that are currently favoured and applied cannot offer long-lasting solutions in the face of climate change. Even though structural measure are needed and have already contributed to improved flood protection, they offer 'end-of-pipe' approach rather than sustainable solution to improved water and flood management in the face of exacerbated risks posed by climate change. A complex mosaic of land use in the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus, ranging from the high altitude summer pastures, bordering with forest belt and agricultural small householder land plots, mainly practicing multicrop rainfed agriculture, requires more complex and integrated approaches to addressing the issues of water stress and flood impacts. The normative condition that the project proposes to establish is to sensitize the water management policies and practices to the long term risks of climate change.

Thematic Area: 
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Communities in the Greater Caucasus region
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Ministry of Emergency Situations, Azerbaijan
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
Co-Financing Total: 

Key Results and Outputs

Outcome 1: Water and flood management framework is modified to respond to adaptation needs and improve climate risk management.

  • Output 1.1: A package of five Normative Legal Acts (regulations) developed on climate resilient water management at the sub-basin level.
  • Output 1.2: The Water Code, Land Code and other related legislation revised to account for climate change risks.
  • Output 1.3: Conjunctive Water Management (CWM) model and guidelines for surface and groundwater use under climate change conditions.

Outcome 2: Key institutions have capacities, technical skills, tools and methods to apply advanced climate risk management practices for water stress and flood mitigation.

  • Output 2.1: Targeted training program in adaptive water and flood management, scenario planning and risk assessment for MoES and other stakeholders.
  • Output 2.2: Soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) introduced for watershed level climate risk assessment and planning.
  • Output 2.3: Model flood risk hazard maps and participatory mapping processes improve flood management as part of the land use planning and management.
  • Output 2.4: Hydrometeorological observation capacity strengthened by extending the coverage by automated hydromet stations in the highly hazard prone areas.
  • Output 2.5: Community-based early warning systems to disseminate water stress and flood risk information to the local communities.
  • Output 2.6: Capacity of WUA farming communities increased to adapt to climate change by improving soils and managing land and water.

Outcome 3: Community resilience to floods and water stress improved by introducing locally tailored climate risk management practices.

  • Output 3.1: Water User Associations strengthened to improve forecasting and response planning mechanisms, and watershed planning and management skills to cope with CC-induced water stress and floods.
  • Output 3.2: Local multi-stakeholder committees established to test and introduce participatory and consensus-based land use planning that integrates climate risks.
  • Output 3.3: Pilot climate-risk oriented watershed management plans initiated in each pilot catchment to implement sustainable water and flood management measures and fully account for climate change risks from floods and associated mudflows.
  • Output 3.4: Pilot CR-WMP processes replicated across Greater Caucasus region.
  • Output 3.5: Locally tailored public information campaign implemented to make flood-prone communities aware of flood risks and effective risk management.

Reports and Publications

Monitoring and Evaluation

Project M&E procedures will be designed and conducted by the project team and the UNDP-Country Office, in accordance with established UNDP-GEF procedures. The principal components of the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan are outlines using the different activities within the project.

Project Inception Phase

  • A Project Inception Workshop;
  • Based on the information recorded in ATLAS, a Project Progress Reports (PPR) can be generated in the Executive Snapshot.


Annual Project Review/Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIR): This key report is prepared to monitor progress made since project start and in particular for the previous reporting period.  The APR/PIR combines both UNDP and GEF’s annual reporting requirements.

The APR/PIR includes, but is not limited to, reporting on the following:

  • Progress made toward project objective and project outcomes - each with indicators, baseline data and end-of-project targets (cumulative).
  • Project outputs delivered per project outcome (annual).
  • Lesson learned/good practice.
  • Financial delivery status.  For mid-term and final PIR, the co-financing information will be also included.
  • Risk and adaptive management.

Periodic Monitoring through site visits:
UNDP CO and the UNDP RCU will conduct visits to project sites based on the agreed schedule in the project's Inception Report/Annual Work Plan to assess first hand project progress. Other members of the Project Board may also join these visits. A Field Visit Report/BTOR will be prepared by the CO and UNDP RCU and will be circulated no less than one month after the visit to the project team and Project Board members.

Mid-term of project cycle:

The project will undergo an independent Mid-Term Evaluation (MTE) at the mid-point of project implementation. The Mid-Term Evaluation will determine progress being made toward the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction if needed.  It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and will present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management.

End of Project:

An independent Final Evaluation will take place three months prior to the project’s operational closure and will be undertaken in accordance with UNDP and GEF guidance. The final evaluation will focus on the delivery of the project’s results as initially planned (and as corrected after the mid-term evaluation, if any such correction took place).  The final evaluation will look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of climate change adaptation benefits that the project aims to achieve.  The relevant Tracking Tools will also be completed during the final evaluation

The Terminal Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities and requires a management response which should be uploaded to PIMS and to the UNDP Evaluation Office Evaluation Resource Center (ERC)

During the last three months, the project team will prepare the Project Terminal Report. This comprehensive report will summarize the results achieved (objectives, outcomes, outputs), lessons learned, problems met and areas where results may not have been achieved.  It will also lay out recommendations for any further steps that may need to be taken to ensure sustainability and replicability of the project’s results.

Learning and Knowledge Sharing

Results from the project will be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through existing information sharing networks and forums. The project will identify and participate, as relevant and appropriate, in scientific, policy-based and/or any other networks, which may be of benefit to project implementation though lessons learned. The project will identify, analyze, and share lessons learned that might be beneficial in the design and implementation of similar future projects.


Nataly Olofinskaya
Regional Technical Advisor
Solidarity Among Women helped us to make adaptation works at the household level during meetings with communities. "Ecolife Public Union"" is concentrated more on DRR activities. Community drills conducted by Ecolife in villages can be noted as the best practice. "Ecolife Public Union" conducted socio-economic survey in the target region as well. 
 Since the beginning of the project we have established "Gabala Working group" (Gabala is the name of the municipality and district centre). This group includes community representatives of the Gabala District.  The WG includes 15 people that come from various organisations and the most vulnerable villages. We have also established Water Users Associations that will help local communities to manage local water resources effectively.  WUAs include local community members. Regular trainings take place at the Gabala city centre, where we invite community representatives.