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Strengthening the Resilience of Climate-Smart Agricultural Systems and Value Chains in the Union of Comoros

Comoros is particularly vulnerable to climate change, like other Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Due to its location and topography Comoros is among the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, and 54.2 percent of the population live in at-risk areas. The climate risk index of 25.33 for the year 2019 places the Comoros 16th (out of 180) of the countries most at risk. This value is mainly attributable to the passage of Cyclone Kenneth in April 2019 while the longer-term climate risk index, for the period 2000-2019, is 90.00 corresponding to the 97th rank. Comoros is extremely vulnerable to the amplification of rainfall variability linked to climate change, especially since the rural population is entirely dependent on rainwater harvesting. Models predict an increase in the annual average temperature, as well as increasing and intensifying risks associated with climate change, such as sea level rise, floods, droughts, and cyclones. Climate impacts are impacting agriculture, vulnerable ecosystems and livelihoods.

The proposed project “Strengthening the Resilience of Climate-Smart Agricultural Systems and Value Chains in the Union of Comoros” will aim to increase the resilience of 98,000 people, over 11% of the Comoros population, by focusing on key agricultural value chains vulnerable to the impact of climate change, including vanilla, ylang-ylang, and clove, the three main Comorian export commodities. The intervention will build capacities and support investments in climate-smart practices, more autonomous supply of inputs, better climate risk management and better access to knowledge and training, providing resilient livelihoods options for smallholders while reducing import dependence and increasing access to better quality, locally produced food. Implemented over a period of five years with an allocation of US$10 million from the Global Environment Facility Least Developed Countries Fund, the intervention will build on and make US$46 million worth of co-financed investments in agriculture and transportation in Comoros more resilient to climate change impacts. The project is aligned with and contributes to the Emerging Comoros Plan 2030, the flagship national strategy guiding the country’s development and green recovery efforts.

 

English
Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (43.759277142724 -11.939019063947)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
98,000
Financing Amount: 
US$10 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$46 million (Government of Comoros, UNDP)
Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Component 1. Systemic, institutional and individual capacities for climate-resilient agriculture includes one outcome: Outcome 1. Enhanced capacity of national institutions and value chain actors involved in agriculture development to guide, plan, supervise and implement climate-resilient practices. The strategy for achieving outcome 1 is based on 3 outputs related to capacity development (i) of the institutional actors responsible for developing climate-adapted solutions and of CRDEs responsible to provide extension services to support their adoption, and (ii) of smallholder farmers, collectors and retailers to help them cope with the risks and uncertainties related to climate change, and (iii) through the development of guidance tools to support the adoption of climate-resilient practices. The development of institutional capacities will facilitate the replication of the lessons of this project to the whole agricultural community and will allow the continuous adaptation of tools and approaches to the evolution of the climate.

1.1 Capacity development plans elaborated and implemented to increase the institutional skills required to plan, develop, disseminate, and support the adoption of climate-resilient agricultural practices among smallholder farmers, and value chain actors. In 2013, the government established a network of sixteen (later expanded to nineteen) Rural Economic Development Centers (CRDEs) in rural areas of the country to supervise rural development programs for the improvement of the economy through the production and environmental protection sectors. CRDEs are local support structures for farmers responsible for providing services adapted to their needs to strengthen the resilience of agricultural systems and value chains. The CRDEs are in particular responsible for training farmers, providing technical extension services, support and advice to producers, supervising professional organizations, ensuring the collection and management of data, providing support to improve rural populations' access to agricultural inputs and supporting the development of basic infrastructure (eg hydraulics, supply, etc.). CRDEs will therefore be key beneficiaries of the project's capacity building interventions and will be at the centre of the project interventions to support small agricultural enterprises and other value chain actors. The rationale for the selection of target intervention areas is presented in section 1b. Project Map and Coordinates.

Strengthening the capacities of CRDEs will require a significant involvement of the public administration to support the recruitment of staff with adequate training meeting the profiles defined for CRDEs and ensure their continuing training and include aspects of adaptation to climate change in the training curriculum for agricultural technicians (University of Comoros and National Horticultural Center): a) Redeployment of institutional staff: Faced with the recruitment constraint within the public service, the project will advocate with the authorities within the ministry and the national and regional directorates and the Governorates of each island for the redeployment of staff from the administrations towards the CRDEs. The Regional Directorate is responsible for proposing the assignment of technicians to the CRDEs and the ministry is responsible for their recruitment. b) The project will support the definition of criteria for the selection of candidates for the assignment of personnel to CRDEs to ensure that they have the capacity to fulfill the responsibilities of the personnel (Director, Accountant Manager, Administrative Assistant and Technicians of the Center) as defined in Article 14 of Decree No. 13-015 relating to the status of Rural Economic Development Centers (CRDE). For each of these positions, the project will provide details on the requirements and skills required and will specify the need to work in rural areas. c) The project will support the establishment of a continuous training system and promote self-training focused on adaptation and resilience to climate change for CRDE staff. The project will work with institutions that provide training (National Horticultural Center and UdC) in order to include these themes in their curricula. Also, online resources are available (fr.csa.guide) to facilitate self-training in climate-smart agriculture on the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) and CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) websites. Modules have also been developed by FAO and are available in French. d) The project will support the development of a training of trainers’ program (namely in collaboration with FOFIFA and FIFAMANOR of Madagascar), which will target technicians within the staff of CRDEs who have more capacities in the most relevant areas. The trainings will cover different themes relating to climate-smart agriculture, including the selection and production of suitable seeds. e) The project will support the strengthening of the skills of CRDEs in communication and their essential role as extension centers focused on the development, evaluation, demonstration and dissemination of improved and climate-resilient agricultural practices to farmers, and their support throughout their adaptation to new techniques and approaches as well as in the traceability process through digital platforms and technological solutions.

This output is also focusing on strengthening the capacities of the other parties responsible for planning and supporting the implementation of climate-adapted agricultural practices, namely the National Directorate of Agricultural and Livestock Strategies (DNSAE), local authorities, NGOs and the private sector. Based on assessments of capacity development needs, the project will support the strengthening of the technical capacities of state actors (DNSAE and regional directorates for Agriculture), local authorities (municipalities, including the mayor and councillors), NGOs (including DAHARI, ARAF, Initiative Développement, Ngochao, 2 Mains, GAD, Mesha, and the Jeune Chambre Internationale), and the private sector (especially in relation to cash crops including collectors, vanilla preparers, exporters) to identify vulnerabilities to climate change in agricultural and pastoral activities, and develop and implement long-term adaptation strategies, through training, dissemination of knowledge through various media, and the development of action research involving these actors. (b) The project will support the development of the capacity to develop and update agricultural land use plans and agricultural calendars through the establishment (composition, terms of reference and resources) of a multidisciplinary working committee in charge of to develop and update the agricultural calendar on an annual basis and based on meteorological data and the analysis of the vulnerabilities of the various segments of the targeted sectors.

1.2 Training packages developed and delivered by CRDEs to farmers and agriculture value chain actors to enable the implementation of climat risk reduction measures. To achieve this output, the project will target local farmers, men, women, youth, and people with disabilities (PWDs), working individually or within cooperativeswith a special consideration given to facilitating attendance by women and PWDs. Capacity development needs will be assessed during the preparation of the project document (PPG). The trainings will be organized by the CRDEs who will also ensure the demonstration of climate-adapted practices within their plots, and will be provided by relay farmers, to build the capacity of farmers to understand and assess the effects of climate change on the condition of plots, crops and livestock, and to identify appropriate measures to improve it. Where appropriate, training will take advantage of the digital platform of the CRDE network, which aims, among other things, to facilitate access to online trainings on climate-smart agriculture and the digital transition.

Measures to improve climate resilience may include: i) improvement of soil condition to restore or increase productive capacity and counter erosion; ii) selection of new climate-resilient agricultural crops and varieties, and livestock options, suitable to local weather and soil condition of the plots (identified under the output 2.1 and in line with guidance provided in the agricultural land use plans under the output 1.3) and to the needs and interests of farmers; iii) adoption of practices (such as agroforestry, hedging, associated crops, agropastoralism) that strengthen the climate resilience of agriculture and livestock, and identified under the output 3.1.

In accordance with a national strategy to encourage actors to further specialize within value chains, training will also address aspects of processing, marketing and packaging of agricultural products. The climate change impacts on these segments of the value chains will be assessed to identify vulnerabilities and required adaptation mesures to increase their climate resilience, and develop/implement related trainings.

To further reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers in the context of climate change, the project will equally support the establishment or strengthening of local farmers cooperatives and improve their capacities in governance, microfinance and micro-entrepreneurship. To contribute to the financial sustainability of the climate-responsive solutions proposed under the project, trainings will include the development of business models that integrate the depreciation cost of inputs (e.g. infrastructure) into the price determination of products.

1.3 Guidance plans and tools to support the adoption of climate-resilient agriculture are designed, assessed, and disseminated on the basis of the analysis of the climatic and socio-economic vulnerability of each of the sectors of the targeted value chains, and include agricultural land use plans, crop calendars, advice sheets on varieties and agricultural practices for adapted varieties including for market gardening, cash crops, food crops, fodder, and for agroforestry including hedging (embocagement). To achieve this output, the project will undertake: (a) Climate and socioeconomic vulnerability analysis for all sections of targeted value chains. In order to identify the main issues affecting the value chains of targeted cash crop and market gardening and to better define the interventions needed to strengthen their resilience, the project will involve the value chains actors to document and assess climate, environmental, and socioeconomic vulnerability in all sections of the value chains. The vulnerability assessment will integrate the results of the assessments conducted by the CGIAR for tomatoes, bananas and manioc crops based on exposure to several factors related to climate change[1]. As part of the vulnerability analysis, the project will develop value chain climate risk profiles. Assessments of the impacts of climate change often focus on production while neglecting the other components of value chains. However, successful adaptation requires thinking about how climate change will affect all aspects of the value chain. It is proposed to carry out this reflection with the stakeholders concerned by following the approach of climate risk profiles[2]. Discussions will take place with value chain actors, i.e. producers, collectors, cooperatives and exporters, including the local populations involved, on their perception and experience of climate change and its impact on cultivation, harvesting, storage, transportation and processing of products. These discussions will also involve support and supervision structures for agricultural production in the field (CRDE) to consolidate understanding of the risks and effects/impacts of climate change on the different segments of the value chains. These consultations will help identify the individual and institutional actions and capacities needed at each level for the design and adoption of effective climate change adaptation measures, such as climate-smart agriculture practices or access to innovative information/communication tools or technologies that facilitate their adaptation. Solutions will be identified for each segment of the value chains – inputs, production, collection, storage, processing and marketing – to increase the adaptive capacity of value chain actors to climate change. This exercise will make it possible, among other things, to identify the most vulnerable actors (men-women-young people-people with disabilities) within each of the value chains. In addition, the review will document the land tenure situation of cultivated plots as well as governance, gender and inclusion issues in order to identify the challenges to tackle so that value chains are resilient, inclusive, sustainable and that the benefits are equitably accessible and distributed among the different actors, as between men and women.

(b) Agricultural land use plans within the areas supported by each of the CRDEs: The project will support planning for optimal land development that takes into account projections of climate change and its impacts, as well as the potentials and vulnerabilities of current and new crops using the FAO Ecocrop tool[3]. This planning will build on existing plans for individual plots (approximately 75% of smallholder farmers have developed climate-adapted land use plans for their individual plots, with the support of CRDEs, that take soil and climate into account) and knowledge, including studies carried out by CGIAR as part of the development of an IFAD project. Such plans will integrate the planning carried out for protected areas under the UNDP-GEF project and the planning carried out for the Mwali Island Biosphere Reserve with support from AFD. (c) Crop calendar: Development of an agricultural calendar adjusted to new weather conditions, supplied and updated on an ongoing basis according to the acquisition of new knowledge. (d) Operating plans: The project will support the parties concerned to develop or update plans for agricultural and agro-pastoral operations at the individual, cooperative and CRDEs levels. (e) Online tool: The project will support the development of an online tool to provide advice to farmers and disseminate knowledge on climate-smart agro-ecological practices on the basis of knowledge and best practices developed in the Comoros by CRDEs, farmers and other stakeholders in the sector[4]. The feasibility of enhancing the efficiency of the real-time dissemination of agrometeorological forecasts by contracting the dissemination of messages to individual operators to telephone companies will be assessed.

Component 2. Diversification of climate-resilient value chains includes one outcome: Outcome 2. Increased resilience of agricultural actors through the identification and promotion of new climate-resilient value chain options with good prospects for profitability, increased access to national and international market information and equitable benefit sharing. To achieve outcome 2, the project will support interventions to identify new value chain options which climate-resilience, profitability on national and/or international markets, and social acceptability will have been carefully assessed and validated with the support of CRDEs and INRAPE strengthened expertise. To achieve result 2, the project will support interventions aimed at identifying new value chain options whose climate resilience, uniqueness of components or properties, profitability in national and/or international markets and social acceptability will have been carefully assessed and validated with the support of the CRDEs and the enhanced expertise of INRAPE. Increased awareness of actors within national institutions, policymakers and private sector investors not only on the challenges posed by climate change to Comorian agriculture, but also on the potential brought by a diversity of new adapted value chains to the country's climate and environmental conditions, and by agricultural practices that will make it possible to increase the resilience of traditional crops, will promote the political support needed to make the changes, particularly at the level of the CRDEs, and mobilize the investments required from the private sector to develop value chains. Equity in benefit sharing between value chain actors and decent incomes are essential elements for the sustainability and replicability of the solutions developed under the project and will be ensured through the above-mentioned investments, political support and negotiation. and the signing of agreements between value chain actors ensuring the equitable sharing of benefits. Access to market information will enable value chain actors to position supply in relation to existing markets and negotiate appropriate prices commensurate with the quality and uniqueness or rarity of the products offered. Benefits to smallholder farmers will be optimized through developing product processing and marketing capacities, and improving CRDEs’ capacities to organize the distribution and the marketing through fairs, as inspired by Diboini CRDE’s successful experience, and promoting the multiple advantages of organic and fair-trade agriculture on the local and national scene and promoting the quality and specificity of Comorian products on the national, regional and international markets. This component will build on the contributions of co-financing projects aiming at eliminating obstacles in the commercial circuits (building on the achievements of co-financing partners for road rehabilitation, including Sima -Moya and other rural roads (BafD, PIDC-BM, AFIDEV-AFD).

2.1 Identification of climate-adapted agricultural varieties and livestock breeds to develop climate resilient and profitable value chains. A major focus of the project is to help famers shift from a few climate-vulnerable crops to a diverse selection of climate-resilient agricultural and livestock options that can support the development of profitable value chains. Diversification is an integral part of the strategy to build climate resilience, reduce risk and increase the chance of ultimate success. A more diverse array of crops/varieties is more likely to contain varieties that provide overall resilience to a farmer’s field (or to the several fields of a farmers’ group), as there is a greater chance of any one or a few of them having traits that enable them to adapt to a changing climate, or that confer resistance to new pests or diseases whose spread is favored by climate change. Diversifying farmers’ sources of income and spreading harvests and revenues throughout the year will also contribute to strengthen farmers resilience to climate change.

This will be achieved by identifying new climate-adapted cash and garden crops and livestock options whose demand is strong on national or international markets, which only require small areas (thus reducing the risk of expansion of cultivated areas at the expense of natural forests), which production cycle is short, and which can be processed locally[5]. (a) As part of the PPG, a series of Comorian products will be examined including varieties endemic to the Comoros or which have become rare on a regional or global scale and products whose specificity is based on traditional production techniques that meet the requirements of agroecological cultivation[6]. For each variety, the review will focus on the identification of its soil and climatic requirements and their correspondence in the Comorian context, the investigation of distinctive assets in existing and potential markets and will also include an assessment of the interest of farmers, men, women and youth. (b) The project will also seek to strengthen the climate resilience of market gardening sectors targeting local markets in order to increase household self-sufficiency and food security, reduce the need to import lower quality products, while creating new jobs, especially for women and young people. The project will work with CRDEs to demonstrate and disseminate adaptation solutions whose effectiveness has been demonstrated within the framework of the CRCCA project and will develop solutions based on soil-less cultivation of short-cycle varieties, which can be grown on small areas in urban or peri-urban areas (where the majority of the Comorian population is concentrated), using hydroponic systems with reduced water and input requirements, and therefore attractive and more accessible for young Comorians.

The project will also contribute to strengthening the climate resilience of poultry and goat farming value chains targeting local markets through the identification and assessment of new climate-resilient breeds. Integrating the rearing of climate-resistant goat and poultry breeds into the family economy will help increase self-sufficiency and food security for families, reduce the need to import lower quality products, while creating new jobs accessible to women and PWDs.

For poultry farming, the project will support the development of the CRDEs’ capacities to develop Kuroiler type breed chicken farming practices adapted to the Comorian climate, to demonstrate them, and to provide training to farmers. The project will build on a study conducted in 2019 by the Tanzanian company AKM Glitters on behalf of the Diboini/Hamalengo CRDE and UNDP-Comoros, to assess the situation of the poultry sub-sector in Comoros and recommend solutions adapted to the Comorian context and climate, with the intention of relaunching the subsector in the aftermath of the devastation caused by the cyclone Kenneth.

Goat and cattle breeding is practiced by many people in rural areas, especially young people and women. Goats generally possess high thermotolerance compared to large ruminants such as cattle that enable them to maintain their production under extreme climate conditions and to play an important role in mitigating and adapting to climate change, namely i) their higher capacity than other farm ruminants to effectively convert feed sources into milk and meat, ii) their lower methane emissions in comparison to other domestic ruminants. For the rearing of goats, the project will promote a sustainable intensification approach through the hedging technique (embocagement) which has long been proven in the Comoros, especially in Ndzuani and the building of goat sheds[7] to protect them from predation. By creating a balanced environment combining trees, culture -including fodder, compost, and livestock in an enclosed space where the composting of animal and plant waste enriches the bocage according to the logic of the circular economy, and by associating water and soil conservation measures (bunds, ponds, living hedges), this approach will mitigate the effects of heat stress and ensure a supply of quality fodder and thus improve the resilience of goat herds to the effects of climate change. This approach allows at the same time to address the problems linked to extensive agriculture and slash-and-burn agriculture still practiced in the Comoros, to mitigate soil erosion and degradation, to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and to maintain biodiversity.

Through value chain analyses conducted for the climate adapted crops, varieties or breeds, the project will identify the options with favorable prospects for profitability. The value chains analyses will follow guidance provided in UNDP’s “Toolkit for value chain analysis and market development integrating climate resilience and gender responsiveness”[8] and will support their promotion with CRDEs, farmers, cooperatives, and the private sector by publicizing the successes of the new approaches by the beneficiaries (champions) themselves and by facilitating visits to demonstration plots and sites where new techniques have been successful. Communication approaches could use the contrast of “before and after” or “with and without” images. Messages targeting older farmers will be broadcasted through local radios and the project will include training of these older farmers in the use of phones and social media.

2.2 Capacity development plan elaborated and implemented to strengthen INRAPE’s capacities to characterize new climate-adapted Comorian agrobiodiversity products, and control the quality of export products. The project will build on the support provided by the Japanese government (source of co-financing) for the construction of a new multidisciplinary laboratory for INRAPE[9], which responds to the institutional assessments carried out as part of the UNDP project (2013-2016) for the development of a strategy to strengthen a sanitary and phytosanitary system (SPS) capable of supporting the development of the country's agricultural operations. The project will support the development of the capacities of this national laboratory so that the country has the necessary skills and equipment to carry out characterization studies independently and demonstrate the uniqueness of Comorian varieties, to certify and label them, and to preserve access to them for the benefit of the people of the country.

2.3 Web and mobile trading platforms developed to connect agricultural producers and buyers in national and international markets and ensure timely access to market information for climate resilient agricultural products. To enhance access to national markets, the project  will build on the physical connectivity provided through WB co-financing for the rehabilitation of small ports to improve transportation between the islands, and on interventions carried out by development partners through projects aimed at improving the business climate. The GEF investment will focus on the development of a web and mobile trading platform to access market information and that connects actors in the agricultural value chains and agricultural service providers, processors, and buyers by taking advantage of the intervention of the International Trade Center (ITC) which set up a platform in Ndzuani to communicate price information of Comorian products to cooperatives (to be identified in the baseline). Support has been limited to Ndzuani so far because ITC targeted well-established cooperatives and avoid opportunistic ones set up to benefit from project support. The project will draw on this experience to replicate the successful interventions as well as the platform set up by UNDP to improve the competitiveness and accessibility of products and services. This platform can be used to provide agricultural advice and information by experts, and to offer services for the development of profitable agriculture. The connection of producers and traders makes it easier to find all the information on innovations and business opportunities in the agricultural and agrifood sector and facilitates the necessary dialogue to develop equitable benefit sharing agreements.

2.4 Awareness campaign conducted to enhance understanding by institutional and private actors  of the sector of the climate change risks and adaptive measures. The project will carry out an awareness campaign targeting institutional and private actors involved in the agriculture sector, including smallholder farmers, and the general public, especially young people, on the ongoing and imminent devastating effects of climate change on agriculture and on new opportunities identified through the project interventions. The goals of the campaign will include demonstrating the potential revenue that can be generated to spark interest from young people and the private sector. This campaign will be conducted in collaboration with the chamber of commerce and business incubators. The awareness campaign will be an opportunity to promote the profession of farmer, by highlighting champion farmers and their success stories.

2.5 Negotiation and signature of agreements ensuring fair benefit sharing among actors in climate-resilient value chains. The project will identify and set up necessary processes and mechanisms required to ensure tangible and maximum benefits accrue to farmers through: (a) Dialogue facilitation between the private sector and representatives of local farmers to strengthen and formalize the links between these parties for the development of products that are integrated into value chains; (b) Development of business models (through which prices are determined) integrating the optimization of benefits for local farmers, rules for benefit sharing, and incentives to comply with the rules associated with targeted certifications. These models may provide for a contribution to the financing of CRDEs based on the user-pays principle; (c) Negotiation and signature of agreements with relevant actors in each value chain.

Component 3. Implementation of agroecological practices adapted to climate change in targeted intervention areas includes one outcome: Outcome 3. Increased adoption of climate-resilient practices and crops/varieties by smallholder farmers and value chain actors facilitated by support systems and adequate provision of inputs and resources. This outcome will be mainly the result of investments on the ground, following approaches to mitigate the risks associated with climate change, to develop a local, quality and low-cost supply of agricultural inputs, climate-adapted seeds, tools and small equipment to enable the adoption of climate-smart practices, and to support the implementation of a set of practices and approaches that strengthen the climate resilience of agricultural and livestock production. The strategy to achieve this outcome is based on initiating smallholder farmers to the concept of risk management, identifying approaches and practices whose effectiveness in reducing climate vulnerability has been demonstrated by CRDEs and supporting their adaptation by farmers, facilitating access to microcredit on terms adapted to the conditions of farmers, improving the local supply of agricultural inputs for increased adaptability, and developing incentives linked to effective and proven adoption of sustainable and climate-adapted production. To contribute to the sustainability of this outcome, the project will adopt an approach where any project contribution for protective structure (such as goat sheds, greenhouses and shade shelters) and equipment (such as micro-irrigation systems, small tools) will involve a counterpart (in-kind contribution as work) from the beneficiaries in order to promote ownership and maintenance. In addition, the income from part of the agricultural production linked to the use of the infrastructures will be allocated to the maintenance and renewal of the infrastructures. Maintenance will be carried out by an infrastructure management committee comprising users supervised by CRDE staff, such that the government should not have to invest further beyond the project for their replacement. The project will include training on maintenance and the importance of savings not only as a risk management strategy but also to ensure the maintenance and renewal of equipment and infrastructure that contribute to strengthen climate resilience of agricultural production.

3.1 Agronomic approaches and practices (e.g. water and soil conservation, crop diversification, mixed production systems, fodder cultivation and conservation, protective structures) developed and piloted by CRDEs to reduce climate vulnerability of the agricultural sector. The CRDEs will identify and pilot promising approaches to reduce the climate vulnerability of the agricultural activities of farmers in their territory. Successful practices will be promoted to farmers by relay farmers. Project interventions to better manage the risks associated with climate change will focus on: (a) raising awareness among farmers of the concept of risk management in the face of climate change and the adoption of sustainable strategies and practices that contribute to the health of agroecosystems and related services on which they depend (soil conservation, protection of pollinators, mixed production systems such as agroforestry, hedging[10] and agropastoralism); (b) diversification of agricultural production and sources of income for households and small farmers in their plots (e.g., new climate-resilient crops and poultry breeding); (c) investments in protective structures such as greenhouses, shade shelters and goat sheds, and (d) the adoption of approaches and practices whose effectiveness in reducing the vulnerability of agriculture and livestock to new climatic conditions has been demonstrated by pilot tests carried out by the CRDEs.

Approaches to be tested and piloted by CRDEs include : (i) Wherever appropriate, the project will encourage the development of agroforestry systems where various associations of cash crops, fruit, food crops or livestock will be tested. Agroforestry systems provide multiple economic, environmental, and social benefits in a context of climate change through the protection of crops, livestock, soils and rivers, the diversification and spreading out of agricultural income through short, medium and long-term production of food products, fodder, wood and other non-timber products, in addition to other significant benefits such as the creation of habitats for biodiversity, landscape improvement, as well as carbon sequestration. Agroforestry can play a crucial role in improving resilience to uncertain climates through microclimate buffering and regulation of water flow. Promoting diversity through agroforestry systems will also increase the availability of alternatives for birds and reduce predation on valuable crops (which is aggravated by extended droughts). (ii) Diversification of tree and shrub species and establishment of living hedges to reduce exposure to strong winds whose frequency is increased by climate change. (iii) The construction of goat sheds for farmers communities to protect animals from extreme weather conditions, hedging (embocagement) and agropastoralism to reduce climate vulnerability and reduce pressures on natural ecosystems, growing legumes as fodder in the bocages, growing and storing dry fodder (hay) and producing silage for livestock feed. (iv) Practices for improving the moisture holding capacity of the soil (organic mulch and gravel), the use of compost to increase soil organic matter, and micro-irrigation to lengthen cultivation period and diversify the cultivated varieties. (v) Water and wind erosion mitigation by the adoption of practices that promote soil cohesion, such as the use of cover crops, compost and green manure, the use of soil conservation and restoration techniques such as the construction of stone walls and anti-erosion lines planted with vetiver. Vetiver is a beneficial, inexpensive, and easy-to-maintain means of protection. Thanks to its resilience capacity in a wide range of ecological and climatic conditions[11], vetiver is effective in preventing and combating soil erosion in a climate change context. Yet, its use is not known in the Comoros and it is currently difficult to find. (vi) To help maintain healthy populations of pollinators, the project will conduct an assessment of threats affecting them (e.g. bee parasites, bushfires[12] and pesticides such as neonicotinoids), identify control measures to be implemented, required resources, and actors to be mobilized.

3.2 Financial products developed and made accessible to smallholder farmers to support the adoption of climate-resilient practices.  Project interventions will involve (a) raising smallholder farmers’ awareness on savings and credit as a risk management approach, building on interventions planned under the WB PIDC project (identified as co-financing to this project) which aim to encourage savings in the SANDUKs micro-credit institution, and providing financial education; and (b) facilitating access to suitable financing through negotiations with local micro-credit institutions (SANDUKs) for the development of credit products adapted to the reality of farmers, i.e. credit at low rates tied to firm loan conditions to invest in climate-smart productive activities, and repayment schemes adapted to agricultural production cycles, thus contributing to reducing the risks for farmers’ investments. Risk reduction measures (eg capacity building of micro-credit institutions, communication and marketing support) to be put in place will be examined within the framework of the PPG.

3.3 Local supply of agricultural inputs, small-scale equipment and climate-resistant  varieties seeds developed. The project will help reduce dependence on external supplies and increase the autonomy and adaptability of farmers to climate change by: (a) strengthening CRDEs capacities to produce quality seeds of climate-adapted crops and varieties meeting the needs of farmers (for self-sustaining agriculture) and the needs of the target markets (for cash crops), and by supporting this production, (b) supporting artisanal microenterprises involved in the recycling of metal waste for the manufacture of tools and adapted micro-irrigation systems (recovery of metal waste and abandoned car wreck) to manufacture agricultural tools meeting the needs of smallholders, (c) improving the capacities of microenterprises currently involved in the artisanal making of low-cost drip irrigation systems to meet the needs of farmers and cooperatives involved in the project; (d) developing capacities to produce organic fertilizer and supporting this production. The capacity development needs and resources available to support trainings will be identified during the project preparation (PPG).

3.4 Agricultural practices to strengthen agriculture and pastoral resilience, including the provision of climate-adapted crop varieties and breeds, implemented. The project will provide support for the implementation of farm and agro-pastoral plans at the individual and cooperative levels (developed under Output 1.3) through the adoption of practices and approaches that strengthen climate resilience (as identified and demonstrated under the output 3.1), for the establishment of nurseries and seed reserves, for soil conservation and restoration activities, including composting and green manure, and for implementing micro-irrigation systems. The project will support the use of protective structures and the adoption of mixed systems combining livestock, agriculture, fodder cultivation and trees, including agroforestry, hedging (embocagement), agro-pastoralism, and soil conservation and restoration, helping to restore soil productive capacity and other ecosystem services (water, fodder, pollinators, and carbon capture) that contribute to climate resilience of agroecosystems. The solutions proposed by the project will be to reduce soil erosion and increase diversity within crop plots and agroforestry systems, which in turn, will reduce the vulnerability of agricultural systems to pests and diseases which occurrence is increased as a result of climate change (as presented in the section on Effects of climate change on the agroecosystem and agricultural practices as experienced by smallholder farmers - Part II: Project Justification, 1a. Project Description) as fields that support a variety of crops are less attractive to predatory insects. The project will contribute to halt agricultural encroachment at the expense of forests (mostly within protected areas) by improving the productivity of agricultural plots, by restoring plots where soil is degraded, by collaborating with the authorities responsible for protected areas[13] to ensure that agricultural activities within village terroirs are conducted in harmony with the conservation objectives of protected areas, and by promoting mixed systems such as agroforestry that promote biodiversity.

Under the PPG, the need to invest in infrastructure to channel water from structures set up by the UNDP-GEF CRCCA and UNDP-GCF projects to the plots of CRDEs and farmers will be assessed.

3.5 Incentives (traceability and certification) in place to foster the adoption of climate resilient and sustainable practices across traditional and new value chains. This will include the following: (a) Certifications. The introduction of incentives to encourage the adoption of high-quality standards including climate-smart practices and varieties, organic farming and fair trade, to access higher added value niche markets, will help encourage farmers to maintain practices that promote resilience to climate change and ensure the financial sustainability of these adaptation measures. The selected certification will define a set of criteria that will be integrated into specifications to be followed by the various actors involved in the various stages of the value chain. These criteria should include adaptation measures to ensure climate resilience. A national committee composed of independent experts will be responsible for verifying the compliance of the various stages related to production (including cultivation, harvesting, storage, processing, transport) with the requirements of the specifications for the product to be eligible for certification. The criteria to be met for certification will be distributed to the producers concerned. The project will support value chain actors to gain access to these certifications and will also support the integration of climate resilience into the certification processes set up as part of the projects supported respectively by the WB and AFD (source of co-financing) for cloves and vanilla in other intervention sites. (b) Transparency and technology. Technology (e.g. blockchain) is available and can be used to ensure transparency through product traceability at all stages of the value chain by tracking the social and environmental impacts of products at every stage of their value chain, from local farmers to consumers, and thus support certification process. The project will assess the relevance, applicability (with users) and profitability of using a platform (via an application) to track and verify that each step in the value chain throughout the production process, meets adaptation criteria that can make these value chains more climate resilient. Using this tool, each step in the process is verified and recorded with time, date and geolocation as a secondary means of verification. (c) Facilitating change. To reduce farmers' reluctance to change and improve the efficiency of the transmission of technical knowledge to illiterate farmers, the project will adopt a strategy to through demonstration at the level of CRDEs, close supervision and long-term follow-up ensured by relay farmers. This transmission will be supported by the production of illustrated technical sheets, and the organization of visits - by and for the farmers - of sites where successful practices have stood the test of time, such as the plots developed through embocagement in the Nioumakélé (Ndzuani). The relay farmers involved in such a scheme will be identified and remunerated by the CRDE and thus become key partners in providing local support to farmers. At the same time, the project will put in place incentives to make the sector more attractive to young people. (d) Improvement of the perception of the farming profession. In order to change the negative perception of the farming profession by young people, the project will support an awareness campaign led by young people involved in value chains which will highlight the potential medium and long-term benefits of this profession. The awareness campaign may be supported by spot messages in the media and on the packaging of commonly used agricultural products.

Component 4: Knowledge Management, Monitoring-Evaluation, and Gender and PWDs’ Inclusiveness. This component will enable mainstreaming transversal issues of knowledge management and gender and PWDs inclusiveness into other project components and outputs focusing on knowledge and on gender. Knowledge management is critical not only for the achievement of the project’s objective, but for the sustainability of achieved results and replicability of climate-resilient solutions. Documenting, analysing and addressing gender and PWD issues as cross-cutting elements will allow to develop inclusive solutions to the climate adaptation challenge in agriculture, and ensure that men, women and PWDs benefit equally from the project support and that the concerns and experiences of women and of PWDs are an integral part of the implementation and monitoring and evaluation of the project. Lessons and successful experiences will be captured through the participatory monitoring and evaluation as part of the project annual planning process, through the participatory development of agroclimatic knowledge involving actively farmers, CRDEs, and researchers in a co-learning process, and recording and disseminating successful experiences among CRDEs, and with other relevant stakeholders in the country and in the region.

Outcome 4 Improved development, management, and dissemination of knowledge related to adaptation of the agricultural sector to climate change to support the replication of climate-resilient solutions among CRDEs, and at national and regional scale. This outcome will be achieved through the following outputs:

4.1 .Lessons learned from the project interventions documented and disseminated. This will be achieved through the annual monitoring and evaluation of project achievements using the indicators of the strategic results framework, and the identification and dissemination of related learnings with project partners, including projects in areas aimed at strengthening the climate resilience of agriculture, in the Comoros and in the countries of the region. Along with capacity building of CRDEs, and interventions on knowledge development and improvement of access to information, the project will support the management of knowledge developed through participatory monitoring and evaluation (involving beneficiaries) of project interventions, including the development of climate-adapted agricultural practices and their adoption by farmers, the improvement of the climate resilience in all segments of the various value chains and the development of new value chans for climate-resilient crops.

4.2 Agro-climatic knowledge for climate adaptation developed through strengthened monitoring and research-action involving farmers. CRDEs must become a place of experimentation, development, demonstration, teaching and promotion of new climate-adapted practices and crops and thus be at the heart of the generation and dissemination of technical knowledge allowing to adapt the agricultural sector. This learning and dissemination mechanism must also be deployed outside the CRDEs and set up within the plots of farmers who are experimenting with new approaches, techniques and varieties in order to involve them in the monitoring and evaluation of the results of these innovations and thus encourage their appropriation of successful approaches. Knowledge development may be based on interventions such as the following: (a) Contribution to the national database on agricultural yields and production developed by the FAO. This will involve training technicians within CRDEs on data collection, the use of GPS and entering observations into the database at the level of each CRDE, and the compilation of simple statistics to generate and disseminate technical knowledge and enable the agricultural sector to adapt to climate change. (b) Action-research programs involving farmers. This will involve establishing the necessary partnerships with INRAPE, the UdC including the University of Patsy (Ndzuani), the National Horticultural Center of Mvouni (Ngazidja), the CRDEs, relay farmers and farmers to carry out participatory action-research programs to generate new technical knowledge to adapt the agricultural sector to climate change. The possibility of associating one or more regional institutions to support research and training will be explored during the PPG (University of Reunion, National Center for Applied Research in Rural Development (FOFIFA[14]) (Madagascar) and CGIAR (Réunion).

4.3 Tools for experience and knowledge-sharing among CRDEs and actors in value chains are developed and operationalized. This will include the following: (a) The project will recruit a communication officer to coordinate the sharing of information through the development of short, practical guides in the form of booklets or illustrated sheets for farmers to record best practices and facilitate their adoption and follow-up in the local communities served by the targeted CRDEs as well as in all the CRDEs. (b) The project will support the experience-sharing mechanism among CRDEs and between CRDEs and farmers through a platform specific to CRDEs (under development with the support of a Comorian office). The project will support the consolidation of the digital platform set up within the CRDE network to, among other things, facilitate the exchange of information and the sharing of experiences between all actors in the value chains and create bridges between different segments, namely between producers and buyers. (c) The project will support the production of an online newsletter to share information relating to the adaptation and climate resilience of the agricultural sector, including activities and events linked or not to the project, including thematic articles, reports and interviews produced by CRDEs teams.

4.4 Gender and PWDs action plans based on comprehensive analyses are implemented, monitored, and evaluated to promote an inclusive approach to the adoption of a climate-resilient agriculture. During the PPG, an exhaustive gender analysis will be carried out to document gender issues in the agricultural sector and identify specific gender barriers. Based on this analysis, a gender action plan will be developed to be implemented, monitored, and evaluated as part of the project. Also, an analysis of the issues related to people living with disabilities (PWDs) in the agricultural sector will be carried out to identify the barriers specific to PWDs and to develop an action plan to increase their inclusion in the efforts to adapt the agriculture sector to climate change. The adoption of an inclusive approach towards gender, PWDs and youth to improve equity in value chains and access to income-generating activities, will involve the following: (a) The project will seek to improve income equity within value chains and improve the involvement of women, especially the elderly, and PWDs, in income-generating agricultural activities by promoting small scale family farming (e.g., family garden near the house, poultry farming). The project will promote the adoption of a more inclusive approach in identifying solutions designed within families. (b) The importance of demonstrating new practices and varieties will be essential to increase the motivation of young family members to support older ones. The development of specialized professions within value chains, such as the production of seeds, artisan scrap metal workers, or manufacturing biodegradable packaging, will diversify the types of jobs accessible to different segments of society. (c) In certain sites, according to their will, the project could support groups and associations to set up cooperatives (dairy, food, market garden cooperatives) or to strengthen their capacities allowing certain sections of the value chain to be integrated within of the cooperative, for example collection or processing, and improve profitability for all members of the cooperative.

 




[1] Bourgoin C, Parker L, Martínez-Valle A, Mwongera C, Läderach P. 2017. Une évaluation spatialement explicite de la vulnérabilité du secteur agricole au changement climatique dans l'Union des Comores. Work Document No. 205. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Wageningen, Les Pays-Bas. Available from: www.ccafs.cgiar.org

[2] Mwongera C. Nowak A., Notenbaert A.M.O, Grey S., Osiemo J., Kinyua I. Lizarazo M. et E. Girvetz. 2019. Climate-Smart Agricultural Value Chains: Risks and Perspectives. in T.S. Rosenthal et al. (eds.) The Climate-Smart Agriculture Papers.

[3] ECOCROP is a software tool that identifies 2568 plant species for given environments and uses (food, fodder, energy, erosion control, industrial purposes) which also contains a library of crop environmental requirements.

[4] The tool could present the following information: 1. Crop calendar indicating for each month what must be done for each crop (sowing, cultivation, flowering, harvesting), taking into account current meteorological data and, if relevant, the various cultivation areas. 2. Agroecological practices sheets covering, as useful, the following subjects: a) Culture sheets (for all traditional and new crops supported by the project): botanical information, cultural practices, pests and diseases, physiological disorders (symptoms, possible causes, solutions); b) Cultivation without harmful pesticides: control methods, natural or low impact pesticides; c) Plot maintenance; d) Irrigation: practices to minimize water requirements, rainwater harvesting, manual watering systems and micro-irrigation; e) Fertilization: knowledge of the nature of the soil, assessment of needs and different options for amending it; f) Composting: Preparation of various types of compost to meet different needs; g) Seed production. 3. Diseases, pests, weeds and invasive alien species (IAS): Sheets on the main problems affecting crops, including new diseases and pests recently introduced or favored by climate change: a) identification of the problem: description of signs and symptoms, photos of the effects on the different plants affected by the pest or disease; b) advice for prevention and control (favorable conditions, screening, preventive measures, physical and biological control)

[5] For example, compared to clove and ylang-ylang which require large areas (6m x 6m) and which cannot be harvested for several years after planting, ginger can be grown on an area of 0.25m x 0.25m, pepper and coffee can be integrated into agroforestry systems, and all can be processed locally to create local added value.

[6] For example, endemic varieties of bananas, yams, aromatic and medicinal plants, low caffeine coffee, high vanillin vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, aloe vera, large thyme, vetiver, turmeric, Plectranthus both Cuban Oregano type and Indian Borage type

[7] chevrières

[9] National Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment

[10] embocagement

[11] With its developed and resistant roots, vetiver protects embankments and terraces, fertilizes and improves soil structure, and fights against pollution, erosion and flooding. It tolerates acid or alkaline soils (with pH from 3.0 to 10.5), saline soils or soils with high levels of metals and resists extreme climatic variations such as prolonged drought, floods, submersions as well as extreme temperatures ranging from 14°C to 55°C. After being affected by drought, salinity and other adverse conditions, this plant has the ability to re-grow very quickly when conditions improve.

[12] Bushfires can be started by pastoralists and by farmers who practice slash-and-burn agriculture. Since herders do not cultivate fodder, they depend on natural fodder which is increasingly affected by the lengthening of the drought period. Herders thus resort to bushfires, despite being illegal, to improve the palatability of pasture grasses. Often left unattended and uncontrolled, they spread over large areas and are harmful to the biodiversity of the affected forest areas, including pollinator species.

[13] The protected areas of the Comoros have been delineated by integrating villages and agricultural lands within their boundaries.

[14] FOFIFA is Madagascar's main agricultural research organization and conducts research on coffee varieties in the region including the Comoros

 

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Location: 
Signature Programmes: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Outcome 1: Enhanced capacity of national institutions and actors involved in agricultural development to guide, plan, supervise and implement climate-resilient practices.

Outcome 2: Increased resilience of agricultural actors through the identification and promotion of new climate-resilient value chain options with good prospects for profitability, increased access to national and international market information and equitable benefit sharing.

Outcome 3: Increased adoption of climate-resilient practices and crops/varieties by smallholder farmers and  value chains actors facilitated by support systems and adequate provision of inputs and resources.

Outcome 4: Improved development, management and dissemination of knowledge related to adaptation of the agricultural sector to climate change to support the replication of climate-resilient solutions among CRDEs, nationally and in the region.

 

Project Dates: 
2023 to 2028
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
PIF Approval
Description: 
June 2022
Proj_PIMS_id: 
6628
SDGs: 
SDG 1 - No Poverty
SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 15 - Life On Land
Barriers: 

Barrier 1. Insufficient capacities at different levels to plan and implement innovative agro-pastoral practices adapted to changing climatic conditions, oversee their adoption and train relevant parties.

(i) Limited capacities of CRDEs to provide local advisory, extension and agricultural support services to adapt practices to climate change: The weak capacities of CRDEs do not allow them to adequately fulfill their mandate, which is to supervise agricultural development, due to i) insufficient staffing caused by the constraint of hiring staff within the civil service, and ii) deficient skills. In some cases, the staff in place do not have the skills required to fulfill the functions entrusted to them (especially in the case of partisan recruitment) and certain profiles defined within CRDE staff - in particular planning and monitoring-evaluation - are not fulfilled. On the one hand, many technicians working in CRDEs are inadequately trained and have clearly insufficient technical capacities. On the other hand, technicians with adequate skills are available but are not recruited due to recruitment constraints within the public service. The CRDEs do not have the necessary resources to ensure the salary of the technicians who have acquired relevant work experience through their involvement in the CRCCA project. As a result, some CRDEs are not sufficiently operational, are understaffed and have insufficiently qualified staff. Continuing education opportunities for staff, especially to be better able to face the challenges of climate adaptation, are limited by the lack of a relevant curriculum in academic institutions. (ii) Insufficient capacities of the various actors responsible for planning, developing, disseminating climate-resilient practices is another key obstacle to their widespread adoption and implementation. Such capacity gaps exsit for the following actors and include: Insufficient technical capacity of state actors (DNSAE, regional directorates of Agriculture, CRDEs), local authorities (municipalities - mayors and councillors), non-state actors (national NGOs), and the private sector (especially for cash crops: collectors, vanilla preparers, exporters) to identify, develop and implement strategies and tools to oversee the adaptation to climate change of long-term agro-pastoral activities. (iii) The vulnerability of farmers is linked in particular to a lack of know-how and adaptive capacity and weak entrepreneurial capacities. Farmers and breeders have little mastery of sustainable cultivation techniques (soil preparation, organic fertilization, selection and access to adapted varieties, fodder cultivation, irrigation, pest and disease control), and lack the knowledge, know-how and models to adapt their practices on land that has lost its fertility, in unpredictable and restrictive hygrometric conditions, and to develop sustainable agriculture that strengthen climate resilience, including agro-pastoralism and agroforestry. The practices and calendars that have traditionally guided farmers are no longer adequate in the face of new climate conditions. The poor computer literacy and lack of openness to technological innovation of older farmers further limit their ability to adapt their practices to the challenges posed by climate change. (iv) There is insufficient technical knowledge and access to guidance /advice and information on technical pathways, technologies, infrastructure and markets to support the transition of agricultural systems to greater climate resilience based on healthier ecosystems. The traditional cropping calendar is inadequate; farmers still rely on predictions of elders based on unscientific practices, lack the knowledge for the identification and treatment of diseases and pests, and do not know enough about the diversification opportunities achievable in the Comoros. Short-term weather conditions are available and adequately cover the country, but the data is not translated into a crop calendar. Knowledge of parasite and disease infestations is insufficient and inadequately disseminated (mandate of INRAPE). Lack of information on prices (especially for cash crops) limits negotiating capacities. Access to information about market opportunities and requirements is inadequate.

Barrier 2. Lack of knowledge of alternative climate-adapted options with the potential to support a prosperous, diversified and equitable agricultural economy and insufficient political and private support for their adoption.

The vulnerability of Comorian agriculture to the effects of climate change is largely due to its lack of diversity and lack of knowledge and capacity to identify and develop alternative climate-resilient value chain options, and to assess their productive and commercial potential. In fact, the agricultural sector in Comoros is based on a narrow base limited to three cash crops and a few vegetable and food crops vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Furthermore, Comorian food products, which are mainly de facto organic[1], are more expensive than imported products despite the transport costs associated with imports. Imported food and vegetable crops, mainly from Tanzania and Madagascar, are grown industrially and therefore at lower cost. Consumers who can afford it prefer local products because they recognize the superior quality of organic terroir products. However, consumers with limited means are more likely to be reluctant or unable to buy it. The higher cost of local Comorian products is explained by the artisanal nature of the work, the remoteness of certain production areas which hamper access to local markets, and lack of access to market information for CRDEs, farmers, cooperatives, and other value chain actors. As a result, traditional agriculture is unprofitable, particularly in rural areas remote from urban markets, which limits young people's interest in this profession. Constraints to the fluidity of national markets, limited market connectivity (national and international), and lack of access to market information limit sustainable economic opportunities for smallholder farmers, due in particular to the country's insular nature, geographic remoteness, lack of reliable and regular transportation means between islands and suitable port infrastructure and lack of connection with reliable and predictable buyers. The profitability of agricultural activity is even more limited for smallholder farmers who are not integrated into cooperatives. They are therefore particularly vulnerable to other actors in the value chains who may take precedence in determining the conditions of production and the prices granted for the products, resulting in an inequitable sharing of profits. Another significant limitation to the profitability of Comorian agricultural products is the lack of processing and marketing capacities.

The diversification of agriculture through the development of new climate-resilient options that would give an edge in international markets, such as uniqueness of properties, is hampered by the lack of analytical capacity to perform the required characterization analyses. The Comoros agrobiodiversity, e.g. local coffee and ginger varieties, have unique characteristics that could be leveraged in niche markets. These characteristics must be documented and certified on the basis of biological and physico-chemical analyses which, currently, must be carried out by laboratories located in countries whose commercial interests may be in competition with Comorian interests, in addition to requiring complex logistics for the transport of samples to be analyzed.

Public and private investments for building the climate resilience of agricultural value chains and their diversification are limited due to the widespread negative perception of agriculture in Comorian society, coupled with the lack of awareness of its vulnerability to climate change and of its potential to evolve into a productive and resilient sector by decision-makers and investors disconnected from the reality on the ground. Another obstacle to improving the climate-resilience of agricultural practices is linked to the low attractiveness of agricultural activity for the younger generations who perceive the profession as obsolete and too risky because they do not have the assets or capital to deal with the risks inherent in adopting innovative agricultural practices. Faced with the urgency of daily needs, the elderly - who constitute a large part of the smallholders - are reluctant to adopt new practices because of resistance to change when facing new technologies, of too large gap between significant labor-intensive investments for soil conservation and restoration and other climate-adapted practices and the achievement of tangible effects, in a context where their livelihoods are precarious and known alternatives limited, leading them to pursue unsustainable land management practices for small short-term gains.

Barrier 3. Limited use of technologies and approaches to mitigate climate-related risks and low access to credit on appropriate terms to support smallholder farmers’ shift towards climate resilient agricultural value chains.

The adoption of resilient agricultural practices and approaches is hampered by the weak capacity to manage risks and uncertainties generated by climate change which is linked to the lack of knowledge on alternative options (barrier 2), on risk management approaches and on agricultural practices that increase resilience to climate change. Low financial autonomy and the difficulty of access to credit on appropriate terms for farmers, especially for men, worsens vulnerability to climate risks, and the culture of savings is insufficiently widespread in rural areas. Insufficient or lack of savings makes smallholder farmers very vulnerable to the effects of climate change since they do not have the resources to, for example, buy seeds for a second sowing following the failure of the first due to shifted or adverse weather conditions, or to purchase the equipment needed to adopt agricultural practices that increase climate resilience.

Lack of timely access to affordable agricultural inputs: Micro-irrigation equipment, tools, and seeds of varieties resilient to the new climatic conditions are difficult to access because they are imported and expensive. The lack of autonomous and timely local production of quality seeds and local supply of low-cost equipment maintains the dependence of farmers on external suppliers and results in prohibitive costs for the supply of suitable seeds, micro-irrigation equipment and with suitable tools

Lack of access to arable land due to the shortage and degradation of agricultural land and land tenure insecurity: Many plots are no longer fertile due to unsustainable soil management and support is needed to ensure restoration of soil fertility by techniques of soil conservation and restoration, agroforestry and agropastoralism, such as hedging. Also, the farmers who operate the state plots rent them out on the basis of an annual contract which allows them to cultivate them (about 10,000 KMF (≈ $ 23) per year). This situation is not conducive to the investments needed for the adaptation of agricultural practices.

Barrier 4: Limited consolidation and dissemination of knowledge on successful models and strategies (including developed by farmers) for the adaptation of agricultural practices to climate risks hinders their large-scale replication and limits the impact of efforts aimed at climate adaptation of agricultural value chains. CRDEs and national institutions concerned with climate adaptation of the agricultural sector do not have access to a sound knowledge base built from reliable data to support expert advice to manage climate risks appropriately and integrate it into agricultural land development plans and other guidance tools to support farmers in their decision-making. Farmers are thus left to resort to their traditional knowledge and non-adapted crop calendars and tools leading to inappropriate timing for agricultural works and maladapted practices, which results in a significant decrease and even a loss of yields.

Knowledge of climate-smart practices by all agricultural stakeholders is limited and not adequately recorded and disseminated. Also, the limited access of actors in agricultural value chains to appropriate information on agriculture, livestock, and climate prevents them from integrating climate risks into their decision-making. There is hardly any research being done in agriculture, and even less on the adaptation of the agricultural environment to climate change, whether by INRAPE, the University of the Comoros or the National Horticultural Center. In recent years, rare agricultural censuses have been carried out sporadically. There is currently no systematic monitoring of agricultural production at the national level, nor involvement of producers in the monitoring and evaluation of productions resulting from the adoption of new practices. Currently, the collection of agricultural data is limited to farmers supervised by CRDEs and to the production of CRDEs. Each CRDE collects data separately following a protocol defined by partners (through projects), so that the data cannot be compiled to give an overview of agricultural production in the country. The dissemination of knowledge developed by CRDEs is mainly through relay-farmers and limited to farmers in their territory and is not shared with all other CRDEs, even less so with other farmers, so that farmers who depend on poorly performing CRDEs have limited exposure to adaptation solutions that could improve the climate resilience of their agricultural activities. Capacities to develop and access best practices, information and technical know-how to support the development of guidelines for climate change adaptation in agriculture are nascent and need to be strengthened.

Barrier 5: Limited understanding of challenges and barriers specific to women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in adopting practices that promote agricultural climate resilience. Limited understanding of women and PWDs specific challenges and barriers limits the design and implementation of appropriate measures to address them and adopt an inclusive approach when strengthening agricultural resilience. Statistics show that the agricultural sector employs more women than men in the Comoros (CDN 2021). According to an ongoing project[2], 75% of farmers in Mwali are women. However, although women work more than men, men are much more often the owners of agricultural land and cultural traditions reduce the participation of women in decision-making. Women are mainly responsible for food crops and market gardening and in poultry farming. They also work in cash crops but very little in their marketing. Gender-specific differences, needs, roles, climatic and socio-economic vulnerabilities and priorities regarding different tasks across agricultural value chains have evolved in recent years, may vary among islands, and are not clearly documented. People living with disabilities (PWDs) are present in all communities but are mostly kept out so that they cannot earn a fair living, nor contribute to the economy and national growth. Although their representation within the population is not adequately documented in the absence of a comprehensive demographic census, it is estimated that over 60% of PWDs have never attended school and 67% are inactive[3]. Although new approaches and techniques that are less labor intensive are now available, PWDs are not encouraged to get involved in value chains. Lack of awareness of the obstacles to the integration of PWDs into agricultural value chains and their equitable access to the resulting benefits limits the development of solutions.

Such knowledge is essential for designing interventions where women and PWDs will be fully involved in all stages of the project, including those that involve decision-making and planning, capacity building that meets their specific needs, and concrete support for the application of climate-resilient agricultural practices. Also, women representation in governance bodies within CRDEs, cooperatives, unions, and other instances across the value chains is not representative of their actual participation in the sector. Without adopting a fully inclusive and participatory approach with particular attention to women, youth and PWDs, projects cannot ensure that vulnerable community members benefit equitably from the CRDEs extension services, such as demonstrations and close support for the adoption of climate-adapted practices and varieties that contribute to a sustainable development of agriculture in the future. A specific focus on women and PWDs and their economic empowerment is crucial for the sustainability of the long-term solution proposed by the project and, more generally, for the resolution of gender-related issues for a climate-resilient development.




T[1] The use of pesticides is limited in Comoros due to their unavailability and high cost.

[2] PREFER project, quoted on March 13, 2022 in the Gazette des Comores.

[3] UNDP 2021, Country Programme Document

 

Square Photo: 

Strengthening the resilience of small farmers through Climate Smart Agriculture techniques in the Tahoua Region of Niger

The population of Niger more than tripled in 30 years. 51.6% of this population is under 15 years old. This population is essentially rural (83.8%) and derives most of its income from the exploitation of natural resources. The level of extreme poverty remains very high at 41.4% in 2019, affecting more than 9.5 million people. This poverty particularly affects woman-headed households. 60% of women and 75% of female-headed households are under the poverty line. The country’s economy, food security and the livelihoods of its rural communities are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with an increasingly hot and dry climate and major fluctuation in rainfall across years. Increasing temperatures and increasing rainfall variability have severe impacts on agriculture, which is the main source of income and livelihoods for 87% of the national population.

The proposed “Strengthening the resilience of small farmers through Climate Smart Agriculture (PRP-AIC) techniques in the Tahoua Region of Niger” project will support producers to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change on their production. Exposure of fields to flood and silting will be reduced through climate smart agriculture and restoration of production areas as well as surrounding ecosystems. Indeed, restoration practices are currently not systematically adopted by farmers due to the perceived loss of arable lands through these practices. With the visible impacts of climate change, farmers tend to seek expand their agricultural land, at the expense of surrounding ecosystems. This further increases their vulnerability, with the increasing risk of a total crop loss during climate shocks such as flood and drought. Restoration practices will be part of the project’s comprehensive approach, with complementary interventions that provide directly perceivable benefits. The project will provide more immediate solutions for farmers to climate change by introducing climate-smart agriculture practices, thereby increasing yields and reducing vulnerability to climate change. Projects outputs are closely related to land restoration, enabling farmers to organize into functional farmers groups to improve access to local finance, including government funding. A sustainable private financing mechanism will also be set up to finance agriculture practices resilient to climate change, benefiting vulnerable people, with a focus on women and youth.

 

English
Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Key Collaborators: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (8.9443355638969 16.697937517707)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
49,000 direct beneficiaries, 200,000 indirect beneficiaries.
Financing Amount: 
US$8.9 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$40.8 million (Government of Niger, UNDP)
Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

 

 

Component 1: Land restoration for climate resilience of agricultural production systems

Outcome 1.1: Degraded land is restored to protect agricultural production systems against the adverse impacts of climate change

This component will align with the GGWI to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable farmers against the adverse impacts of climate change. While the GGWI has had limited results to date, with only 15% currently underway after more than 10 years of implementation, and most of the action plan for Niger still outstanding,, early experiences, including from other countries (in particular Senegal) will be highly relevant to identify sustainable and adaptive practices. The project will build on a combination of traditional practices and modern/innovative approaches to restore lands and benefit farmers, including lessons learned from ongoing projects such as the project to Strengthen the Resilience of Rural Communities to Food and Nutritional Insecurity in Niger which will support the recovery of degraded land in Tahoua (estimated co-financing of US$10,000,000). Projects supporting pastoralism, including addressing conflicts between farmers and herders, such as the Regional Project to support Pastoralism in the Sahel, will also complement the restoration activities under this component by creating a peaceful discussion platform for exchange, including for the protection of restored ecosystems (estimated co-financing of US$ 5,000,000).

Indeed, fully functioning ecosystems will improve water retention and reduce the impacts of floods and droughts on vulnerable farming land. During the PPG phase, an analysis of past and present land use and the restoration of degraded areas, taking into account the projected changes in climate will be conducted to better define restoration activities. Preliminary consultations during the PIF formulation phase identified past successful experiences implemented through past and ongoing adaptation projects such as the Community-based adaptation project (funded by the LDCF) with the introduction of farmer-managed regeneration, half moons, benches, rocky outcrops[1], planting of trees of adapted species and Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) practices. The illustrations below present some NbS successfully introduced in Tahoua, as observed during the field visits conducted in March 2022.

In addition, because of the importance of domestic fuelwood consumption in the project area, causing an overexploitation of wood resources, and in turn, soil and ecosystem degradation, the project will conduct trainings and awareness raising for the adoption of improved stoves and other fuelwood efficient practices within surrounding communities, where reforestation, afforestation and agroforestry will be implemented. This output will be conducted in close coordination with output 3.1.2. to support and provide incentives to local entrepreneurs to offer and disseminate a range of fuelwood efficient practices and equipment (including improved stoves) in surrounding villages. This will reduce the pressure on forest ressources and ensure the sustainability of the project. During the PPG phase, the project will also explore opportunities under the UNISS (UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel) programme, led by UNDP Energy offer for the Sahel. The project aims to increase access to clean energy for improved basic services and enhanced value chains, in particular in the agricultural sector. A pipeline of flagship joint projects is currently being developed to operationalize the offer and might offer potential for supporting the access to clean energy promoted under the LDCF project.

This component will have important mitigation and biodiversity co-benefits by restoring and preserving ecosystems that provide CO2 sequestration and provide living environments for the fauna and flora to thrive. It will also directly fits within the GGWI and aligns with its geographical and technical scope, including its focus on restoring ecosystems for food security. The project will be implemented through the following outputs:

Output 1.1.1. : Awareness raising and training programmes are conducted to sensitise local authorities and communities and equip them with information, skills and knowledge to support ecosystem restoration practices

Under this output, the project will work with local leaders as key partners during project design and implementation, to ensure their buy-in and their involvement in the sustainability and expansion of successful restoration practices. The engagement of local authorities and decentralized state agents will be ensured by setting up clear monitoring frameworks for the protection of restored ecosystems in the long-term. Local and regional planning and financing will be revised and supported to introduce the protection of ecosystems and the adoption and upscaling of NbS. In addition, the project will establish or strengthen local committees involving beneficiary farmer groups for natural resources management.

Community groups will be involved in the targeted areas to ensure a common understanding and engagement in restoration activities. These measures will be implemented and the upscaling of the restoration activities achieved through the funding mechanisms set up under output 3.1.1, thereby increasing the access to funding for these groups in the long-term and ensuring the sustained protection of restored ecosystems.

Awareness raising and sensitization will be conducted with local communities to discuss the long-term benefits of preserving ecosystems for the agricultural production and food security at the local level. The discussions will cover the impacts of climate change; key ecosystems such as wetlands, savannahs and forests; their linkages with production systems; the climate change adaptive benefits they offer. In addition, the discussions will support the documentation of existing traditional knowledge, sustainable practices and agriculture knowledge, to build on local experience for restoration activities.

Under this output, the project will also create links with the stakeholders involved with the GGWI, in Niger and in other regions. Effective communication will be built along the entire project to share lessons learned and results from the project and build on the results of other activities conducted under the GGWI. Effective communication channels will be established with the focal points in the ministries involved in the implementation of the GGWI (the National Agency of the GGW under the Ministry of Environment and the Fight against Desertification, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Community Development).

Output 1.1.2. Degraded ecosystems surrounding the farming areas are restored with the adoption of Nature-based Solutions

Based on the analysis of past and present land-use to be conducted during the PPG phase, restoration and protective practices will be introduced. The consultation conducted at PIF formulation stage identified a range of successful NbS that will be analyzed and considered to be introduced and/or upscaled in the project areas. Local communities will be engaged in the identification of restoration activities, as well as during the implementation of these activities, providing local employment and building on and strengthening local practices. NbS practices identified include Zaï technique, half-moons, ANR, surface water dissipation techniques,mulching techniques, stone cordons, stone walls and stone lockers.

NbS will be introduced to restore degraded areas, increase the vegetation cover, protect forests, savannahs and wetlands from conversion to other types of occupation and reduce silting and water erosion (gullying) along watercourses. These practices will be introduced in areas surrounding agricultural lands, in order to provide large-scale adaptive benefits. Restoring key surrounding ecosystems will provide important ecosystem services to farmers by increasing the water recharge, reducing land slides and water runoff during floods, increasing biodiversity.

Lessons learned will be systematically collected and compiled into actionable knowledge products and shared withe farming communities and other land users in the project intervention areas and other projects in Tahoua and in the GGW area. This knowledge will be particularly relevant for the community groups targeted under output 1.1.1 for the replication and upscaling of practices in the project area and beyond.

The Social and Environmental safeguards work conducted during the PIF and to be developed at PPG stage and during implementation will guide and recommend the selection process of degraded land plots to be restored. This work will ensure Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) is obtained from beneficiaries and impacted communities. The necessary studies and assessments will be conducted to avoid the risk of land grabbing by the project and/or land used for other purpose by some communities to be turned into another land use, thereby adversely impacting their livelihoods, In addition, the project will support community land-use planning, through the consultations and local contracts and/or the formulation of local development plans.

Output 1.1.3. : Energy-saving equipment is promoted to reduce deforestation for firewood consumption

Considering the devastating impacts of increasing pressure on timber for household consumption and the consequences on protective ecosystems, this output will aim at changing the behavior of the rising generation in the use of wood energy. To do this, awareness-raising actions will be carried out throughout the project, targeting young people. A youth education campaign will be conducted to raise awareness of the accelerated depletion of local and national wood energy resources and its consequences on ecosystems and ecosystem services, and to advocate for the adoption of cooking equipment with low wood energy consumption and sustainable management. The project will closely coordinate with the activities conducted under the outcome 3 to incentivize supported MSEs to provide energy-efficient technologies to reduce fuelwood consumption. This will be ensured by conducting demonstration for the use and production of energy efficient equipment and demonstrate the viability of such investments. For instance, cook stoves are expected to reduce by 20% to 30% the wood consumption of beneficiary households. This campaign will be conducted through various channels: (i) trainings of young entrepreneurs, including through the presentation of economic potential of these activities, (ii) sensitization through the media (local radio, television, advertising posters); (iii) sports championships in the beneficiary localities; (iv) various school competitions and activities on the theme of wood energy resource management. The project will also identify the sites where these technologies will be most effective, including the availability of materials for their replication and maintenance. For cook stoves, the use of local materials such as banco (a local clay) is widely available and could ensure the dissemination of best practices.

In addition, during PPG phase, the project will map ongoing projects and interventions supporting the adoption of energy efficient technologies and seek partnerships with these interventions. For example, UNDP is leading an initiative on supporting clean energy access in the Sahel, which might offer potential collaboration in Niger.

Component 2: Promotion of Climate Smart Agriculture

Outcome 2.1. : Climate-smart agriculture techniques are promoted and reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate

This component will promote climate-smart agriculture (CSA) techniques and technologies, adapted to the project intervention areas to reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate change and enhance food security. Beneficiaries will be provided with practices and techniques for a comprehensive approach to tackle climate change. These practices will sustainably reinforce the resilience of communities against the adverse effects of climate change, improve agricultural production and beneficiary incomes, and contribute to carbon sequestration and thus GHG mitigation. Techniques and practices will include mechanical irrigation, with solar powered water pumps to reduce the impacts of water stress.

The project will build on the results of ongoing adaptation and food security projects implemented in Tahoua. to further improve the capacity to adopt CSA (barrier#2). Under the component 4 on knowledge management, the project will support the sharing of lessons learned and best practices and their introduction in the project design. In particular, the project will cooperate with the PIMELAN, which supports agricultural support services and agricultural policies, in order to disseminate lessons learned at the national level (estimated co-financing of US$15,000,000). The project will also work closely with the recently approved GCF project Hydro-agricultural development with smart agriculture practices resilient to climate change in Niger to avoid duplication and exchange knowledge. Beneficiaries will also be supported to access additional resources to expand their access to irrigation, for instance through the programme for small irrigation and food security (PISA 2) (estimated co-financing of US$5,000,000). The project will also coordinate with the recently approved GCF-funded project, the Hydro-agricultural development with smart agriculture practices resilient to climate change in Niger (AHA-AIC), supported by the BOAD (estimated co-financing of US$5,000,000). Other projects supporting the access to water will also be consulted and engaged.

While these projects provide important lessons learned, it appears from the PIF that they are only supporting the local agriculture sector, without taking into account the entire ecosystem on which they depend. This component will be strongly connected with component 1 and recognize the need for restored ecosystems. Component 2 will aim at increasing agriculture production and thereby food security, taking into account and, when possible, taking advantage of the impacts of climate change. This will only possible in an environment where surrounding ecosystems are offering protection against the increasing risks of floods and droughts, as addressed under component 1.

The component will also strengthen the capacity of local producer to access, understand and use agro-climatic and meteorological information, and contribute to producing basic local data (rainfall, humidity, temperature) to inform farming practices (barrier#4). This local data will be shared at the national level to increase the availability of local data for planning and projections.

Output 2.1.1. Climate-resilient farming techniques, including irrigation are adopted to reduce losses and food insecurity

In the context of climate change, access to water resources is increasingly scarce and less reliable, and current water practices often lack sustainability. To limit water losses and achieve sustainable water savings, the project will promote drip and California irrigation systems. These systems have an irrigation yield of 90% and 85% respectively, and will help save up to 50% of water[2]. Under this output, boreholes with solar pumps (kits composed of solar pumps, solar panels, inverter, regulator, and connection accessories for pumping), storage basins, piezometers, drip and california irrigation network units, reservoirs for storing irrigation water, etc. will be installed. The project will support the procurement and installation of these irrigation systems, which will be the property of community groups. MSEs supported under the component 3 will be incentivized and trained to develop businesses for the maintenance of this equipment, thereby creating sustainable frameworks for the procurement of spare parts and technical knowledge for repairings at the local level. In addition, community groups will be strengthened for the basic maintenance of the equipment. The installation of the equipment will therefore be closely coordinated with the activities conducted under component 3, and contacts will be established between community groups and entrepreneurs.

In addition, the success of crop intensification in climate-smart farming practices is based on the control of varietal performance, rigorous management of irrigation water, soil fertility and ecosystems, efficient management of irrigation areas and mastery of different cultivation techniques. To facilitate the implementation of the actions promoted by the project, training will be organized for producers. Manuals/guides and training for good practices will be adopted in water management, soil restauration, water pumping energy management, crop planning will be developed and made available to producers’ groups. When extension services are not sufficient to ensure the adequate training and dissemination of these manuals, local stakeholders active in the area will be involved, this will include CSOs, NGOs or students and teachers from the Tahoua university.

Producers and community groups will receive training to design and implement a mechanism for servicing and maintaining sustainable infrastructure such as water-saving irrigation, solar water pumping equipment, etc. A technical study will be held at the PPG stage to clarify the sustainability use of underground water in the project zone. This study will also ensure FPIC from beneficiaries and surrounding communities who might be impacted by the pumps and the selection of sites for irrigation.

Output 2.1.2.: Micro-dams, dikes, bioengineering and other land stabilization methods are implemented to protect agricultural production from the increasing intensity and frequency of droughts and floods.

While the activities under component 1 are expected to provide protection against droughts and floods, considering the increasing intensity of both climate events, lowland works will provide an additional and more immediate protection to agricultural lands. In addition, restoration activities will only be fully functioning a few years after their start and communities need to be offered a more immediate solution to floods and droughts for the restoration activities to be successful and to avoid further encroachment on surrounding ecosystems.

Under this output, micro dams will be built to provide a reliable access to water for crops during drought pockets in the rainy season. In areas where flooding is increasingly recurrent, sites will be protected by dykes lined with channels and drainage equipment. This will include the preparation of sites, drilling and protecting sites from water erosion by building anti-erosion structures, flood protection infrastructures, implementation of processing koris and tree planting around project sites.

Similarly to the output 2.1.1, the maintenance and sustainability of these infrastructure will be ensured through the set-up of MSEs providing such services, with an access to the market for the procurement of spare parts or construction material and equipment. Community groups will also be entrusted the ownership of the infrastructure for their maintenance, and will be trained to provide small repairs. They will also be put in contact with the set-up MSEs for larger maintenance work.

Output 2.1.3.: Agroclimatic and meteorological information and early warnings are available and understood by farmers for climate-resilient decision-making

Access to meteorological and climatic information in real time allows better programming of agricultural activities and enhances agricultural productivity and production. It considerably reduces the risk of loss of agricultural investments due to lack of delay and / or irregular rains. Indeed, important losses are recorded in Tahoua due to the lack of adaptive practices to the changing weather events, that could be partly avoided by the timely availability of weather information. This output therefore plans to strengthen producers' access to suitable agro-meteorological information.

To eliminate information asymmetry, mobile phone services are becoming an important mean for providing farmers’ groups with weather forecasts and market data. In each locality, three to five farmers’ groups members will be identified by the beneficiary groups to receive timely weather information. They will be provided with mobile phones to disseminate the information received to the rest of the members of the group. Their capacities will be strengthened to ensure the flow of information in both directions. The dissemination of weather information through mobile phones will be reinforced by radio broadcasts in local languages.  This activity will be implemented in collaboration with meteorological services, the National Center for Solar Energy (CNES), AGRHYMET and the Development Department. The project will also set up an early warning system to alert community members in case of disasters (floods, severe droughts, locust invasions, etc.), using a computer system,.

Farmers’ groups will be trained to: (i) acquire and install a direct-reading rain gauge kit, thermometer, and anemometric recorder in each beneficiary village, (ii) collect local weather information, and process and disseminate it using ICTs in a language understandable to producers, (iii) establish, in each village, a committee composed of at least 5 people (from different groups of producers) to ensure the relay of weather information to the rest of the producers, (iv) develop and validate an implementation plan for the operation of the committees, (v) establish an early warning system through a contract with the institution in charge of agroclimatic information production for treatment and analysis of data collected on site and the creation of SCAP-RU (Community System for Early Warnings and Emergency Response) and OSVs (Vulnerability Monitoring Observatories). Considering the lack of access to climate information and EWS is a key barrier deterring access to finance for beneficiaries, these interventions will also contribute towards de-risking lending to these communities from financial institutions, linking to the activities under Outcome 3.

The equipment introduced will be the property of the communities and the decentralized services of the meteorological department will be responsible for maintaining them. Equipment introduced as part of the project will be small equipment such as rain gauge kits, thermometers and anemometric recorders and are easy to maintain. In past projects, considering the seasonal need for these information, the equipment was cleaned and stored at the end of the farming season and re-introduced at the start of the following season. This ensured the good management of the equipment in the long term.

During the PPG phase, UNDP and the formulation team might also explore opportunities for the involvement of Niger into the Systemic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF) which is still under design. This would engage the Government of Niger to maintain their meteorological equipment in the long term, receiving financial support for this maintenance upon the verification of the effective maintenance (through the effective transmission of climate information to the Global Basic Observation Network (GBON) under WMO.

Component 3: Facilitating the development of the private sector in local communities

Outcome 3.1. Women- and youth-led local Micro and Small Entreprises (MSEs) and entrepreneurs provide adaptive solutions to climate change with local banks and microfinance institutions sustainable facilities

Since the 1980s, several initiatives have been developed by the State and its partners to finance the agroforestry sector through banks, financial institutions and decentralised financial systems (SFDs). However, the financial resources mobilised are not accessible to producers and other value chain stakeholders and often do not meet their investment needs (barrier #3). Also, the access modalities and conditions developed by the projects and programmes are not always harmonised, creating confusion among the beneficiary actors. In order to establish a harmonised and formal framework for financing Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agricultural Development, the State, with the support of Technical and Financial Partners, has set up a secure fund for agricultural investments, which centralizes resources to finance vulnerable farming communities and individual farmers. This is the Food and Nutrition Security Fund (FISAN), which has three facilities: facility 1: support to agricultural financing, facility 2: financing of agricultural structuring investments and facility 3: financing of agricultural advice, research and capacity building.

The FISAN strategy is expected to combine classical financing systems with innovative facilities. The traditional approach refers to mechanisms for mobilising and administering public resources for the rural sector on the one hand, and private sector funding, notably through financial institutions, on the other. The innovative approach will be to set up the Fund through a public-private partnership. This fund is seen as a strategic instrument for sustainable financing of public investments for agricultural growth and food security. It provides banking facilities for private investments including: (i) subsidies to reduce the costs of agricultural inputs and materials so that they are more accessible to producers; (ii) incentive facilities for commercial banks to intervene in the financing of private investments: guarantee funds, calamity funds and interest rate subsidies; and (iii) lines of credit for direct bank financing and refinancing of SFDs. The FISAN works with banks, SFDs and other institutions in providing guarantees to deliver the activities under its first facility. Among them, the Agricultural Bank of Niger (BAGRI) signed a performance agreement with the FISAN to allocate up to US$8,000,000 (XAF 5.5 billion) for the agriculture sector in 2022. The bank, established in 2011, in spite of its mandate, has so far not been able to disburse a significant amount of credit to the agriculture sector (only 12,75% was allocated to the agriculture sector) and the rates offered are not affordable to smallholder farmers. The BAGRI is being supported in its engagement by the GCF-IFAD project “Inclusive Green Financing for Climate Resilient and Low Emission Smallholder Agriculture” [3], in particular in its aim to “establish a Financing Facility within BAGRI with a line of credit to support concessional loan to (…) women and youth organizations (…)”. The LDCF project will therefore collaborate with the General Direction of the FISAN, the BAGRI and the GCF-IFAD project to bridge the financing gap for farmers groups and other Economic Interest Group (EIG) by accessing credits under the BAGRI at concessional rates.

The PIMELAN also supports the financing of the FISAN to benefit smallholder farmers through MFIs present in Diffa, Tahoua and Tillabéry. The project has set up two facilities that will provide (i) US$ 6million of grant funding for agri-food funding for most vulnerable farmer groups, women and youth and other SMEs and (ii) US$22 million of loans  for producer groups and SME. As such, the PIMELAN is expected to provide significant opportunities for MSEs and vulnerable groups to access credits through MFIs such as Yarda- Tarka – Maggia, Capital Finance, ACEP or Daouré, operating in the region of Tahoua.

Under this component, the project will also collaborate with other ongoing projects that support the development of the private sector, including the project to Strengthen the Resilience of Rural Communities to Food and Nutritional Insecurity in Niger, supported by IFAD.

Through this component, and the establishment of partnerships with the FISAN, the BAGRI, MFIs, IFAD, the World Bank and other stakeholders (including UNCDF, pending further consultations), the project will address the barriers related to the limited access to funding from both public sources and private sources (barriers #1 and #3). Indeed, the project will collaborate with the FISAN, BAGRI and MFIs to support traditional and innovative approaches as defined in the FISAN strategy. The project will support banks and microfinance institutions, beyond the BAGRI, to develop customized financial products targeted towards smallholder farmers engaged in CSA, as well as alternative credit-scoring and collateral mechanisms that can ease lending to this cohort. Other activities that will contribute towards de-risking lending include the integration of individual farming units into community-based MSEs across the CSA and forestry value chains, training on both CSA and financial management, and the dissemination of climate information and EWS. The expected combined impact of these interventions will de-risk and unlock both existing financing available for the agriculture sector through BAGRI and catalyze new agriculture sector funding from other commercial banks.

An Agricultural Loan Facility will also be supported by the recently approved GCF project Hydro-agricultural development with smart agriculture practices resilient to climate change in Niger  and lessons learned will be regularly shared with the project to adjust the approach and support farmers to access loans under this facility.

The MSEs supported through this component will be involved in the knowledge and lessons learned sharing activities conducted under the component 4. These activities will be based on the knowledge and lessons learned collected from the components 1 and 2. Indeed, supported MSEs will be exclusively involved in CSA and ecosystem restoration for climate change adaptation and will be embedded in the sustainability and upscaling strategy of the components 1 and 2. In particular, MSEs will be incentivized and supported to offer maintenance services for the irrigation and lowland development works introduced under the component 2. In addition, during the PPG stage, opportunities will be seeked to develop a business model for the development of MSEs for the provision of climate data, including by engaging with the PS in the targeted areas, who might benefit from improved climate information.

Output 3.1.1. Agricultural groups and community cooperative funds are strengthened to increase their financial sustainability for the adoption of CSA

One of the main challenges facing local communities with regards to adopting climate resilient agriculture practices relates to the lack of adequate funding. Individual farmers are usually subsistence farmers, or receive very low incomes from their agricultural practices and are therefore not able to save enough revenues and time to invest in new practices. However, Niger has strong community groups, including farmer’s groups, which the project can build on to mobilize larger funding. These groups also offer a platform for knowledge and adaptive practices to be disseminated to new members in the long term. This outcome will strengthen these groups through two interventions:

The reinforcement of farmers’ associations business management capacity: Knowledge of entrepreneurial tools is necessary to trigger the effective functioning of agricultural cooperative societies. The project will provide, in the first 3 years, support for the development of business plans and the linking of farmers groups with their target customers. Working and awareness sessions will be organized with farmers groups, including the development and dissemination of material on business planning and entrepreneurship. The farmers groups will be supported in the development of business plans adapted to each project site, building on the lessons learned from the component 3 on CSA. In addition, a selection of business plans supporting ecosystem restoration/protection and CSA will receive micro-grants for their implementation and will be technicall supported by the project during the project lifetime, including through the sharing of lessons learned from component 1 and 2.

The incubation of existing farmers vulnerable groups’ to become CSA enterprises: Technical support will be provided to improve the management of community funds and to create an enabling environment for vulnerable agricultural groups to access finance for their members. The long-term objective is to promote the incubation of vulnerable agricultural groups in micro and small businesses for larger access to financial resources adapted to poor and vulnerable populations engaged in CSA. These groups will also benefit from the sharing of lessons learned from the activities conducted under the component 2 as well as the benefit from the reduced exposure to climate impacts from component 1. It is expected that 60% of the total beneficiaries will be women and 50% youth groups.

Output 3.1.2. : In collaboration with the FISAN, the BAGRI and MFIs, MSEs are supported to access loans  for climate resilient agriculture financing

Under the FISAN strategy, and in close coordination with key stakeholders involved in supporting access to finance for vulnerable communities (ie. the PIMELAN, the IFAD-GCF project, the BAGRI, UNCDF, the BOAD-GCF project), MSEs will be technically supported for their de-risking to access credits at concessional rates. This output will target exclusively MSEs involved in CSA (including the maintenance of equipment and infrastructures introduced under the component 2), and agricultural value chains using clean energy (including cookstoves), with a strong focus on women and youth. These vulnerable groups will be supported to open a bank account with financial institutions and access credit to finance their CSA activities – including by supporting them to develop bankable proposals and request for credit. MSEs will also be trained in basic business management and accountability principles in order to increase the trust of MFIs. This de-risking will serve MSEs and IEGs to access funding from local MFIs and the BAGRI in the form of an agricultural loan. Close coordination with the PIMELAN, IFAD-GCF and BOAD-GCF projects will be conducted to ensure the access to innovative financing for targeted MSEs and IEGs in Tahoua. The beneficiaries will additionally receive training during the project lifetime as needed – including group trainings or investment-specific advice or guidance, to ensure they remain bankable for MFIs and have a long-term access to credit for their agricultural activities.

The LDCF project will also continuously work with local communities and financing institutions to identify opportunities and access innovative financial mechanisms in the project sites. It is expected that the loans accessed will finance (i) climate-resilient techniques for irrigation, (ii) solar-powered Californian or drip irrigation system for water control, (iii) water and energy management systems and practices, (iv) inputs for CSA (seeds, equipment, etc.), (v) the maintenance of the equipment and infrastructure introduced under the component 2; and (vii) the development of energy-efficient practices to reduce fuelwood consumption and support the activities under component 1 (in particular output 1.1.3).

Discussions are currently ongoing with the FISAN, the PIMELAN, the GCF-IFAD project, the BAGRI, and UNCDF to explore opportunities for partnerships and will be continued during the PPG phase, including with the recently approved BOAD-GCF project. The LDCF project will have a focus on technically de-risking the financing of women and youth for CSA (through trainings and the introduction and adoption of resilient practices), which will create a more conducive environment for the investments provided by other stakeholders, while partners will be involved in financially de-risking beneficiaries through different financing mechanisms such as subsidizing refinancing mechanisms, providing interest rate subsidies or guarantees. 

Component 4: Knowledge Management and Lessons Learned

Outcome 4.1: Lessons learned on climate resilient agriculture and land restoration practices inform future projects in-country and elsewhere

Lessons learned from the project will be compiled and shared. This will be relevant for producer groups and farmers. This will be disseminated to municipalities, local agriculture administrations, the Government, civil society, regional institutions and donors working in the sector of climate change adaptation. In particular, innovative CSA and land restoration practices will be assessed and results and lessons learned collected in a format that will help advance the GGWI and other national and regional initiatives as relevant. Indeed, considering its geographical and technical alignment with the GGWI, the project will specifically ensure its results are shared and, in turn, lessons learned from the GGWI in Niger and other countries will be used and built on.

Under this outcome, the project team will also build partnerships with CCA projects, in particular the GCF project, but also projects focusing on governance and security to ensure security risks are integrated into the project adaptive management and mitigation strategy, and a more wholistic approach is adopted.

Output 4.1.1. Project results are monitored and evaluated

The project will develop a close and permanent monitoring program of the physical investments made on the sites. The program will include a monitoring of networks, structures and other interventions. This continuous monitoring will be ensured by an M&E specialist, with support from the decentralized services of the Ministry of Agriculture, with support from local focal points if needed. These services will benefit from technical and material capacity building activities to carry out this monitoring program.

In addition, a Project Monitoring and Evaluation System will be designed and implemented  in accordance with the requirements of LDCF (GEF) and UNDP  to monitor: (i) the rate of execution of project activities, (ii) the evolution of the financial data of the project, (ii) regular and systematic recording and reporting of progress made against the planned project objectives through the establishment of a database, and (iii) evaluation of the impact of project activities on the target group and the environment; (iv) gender-disaggregated data collection and reporting system for each project component, (v) develop participatory tools to measure project performance, (vi) conduct beneficiary surveys to measure the effects/impacts (beginning, mid-term and completion), (vii) recruit a consultant in gender mainstreaming for supporting the executive entity, (viii) conduct an annual analysis/evaluation of the technical, economic and financial performance of the project, (ix) Undertake mid-term evaluation, (x) undertake final evaluation.

During the PPG phase, and assessment on the potential to use digital tools for a more effective and transparent M&E will be conducted.

Output 4.1.2. Lessons learned from the project are compiled, capitalized, and disseminated

The project monitoring and evaluation system will make a significant contribution to the management of technology performance and traceability of operations that have made it possible to achieve results and to make decisions useful for action. In this perspective, the results (outputs, outcomes and impacts) will be capitalized and archived electronically and physically to strengthen the documentation of lessons learned.

To guarantee the project contribution to local and national adaptation to climate change and the GGWI and improve ongoing practices, the different reports and studies supported by the project will be compiled to formulate a complete lessons learned document. This will contain, among others : (i) the efficiency and weakness of technologies and techniques, process, financial management and use at regional, national and local level; (ii) the best adaptation practices recommanded for local, national and regional adaptation project ; (iii) the adopted solutions to address the weaknesses identified during the project formulation and implementation. To allow a better assimilation and implementation of the lessons learned by farmers, farmers’ groups and cooperatives, the manuals will be translated into graphic images and into the official local language of Niger.

Field missions across different sites of the GGW (in Niger and abroad) will be organized to specifically participate to the advancement of the GGWI. This knowledge will also be shared during the participation to workshops and other events on the GGWI. In addition, the Project management unit will organise exchanges with beneficiaries to appreciate the lessons learned on a practical level by producers, support exchanges with the technical services involved in the project, this will be done in 2 steps:

Development of technical and manual sheets: This will involve the production and dissemination of documents and documentaries on lessons learned and best practices tested under the project in terms of on actions to strengthen resilience to the adverse effects of climate change, increase productivity and production and mitigation of GHG emissions in the agriculture sector. To this end, the project will develop several technical sheets on the technologies and practices implemented by the project.  These sheets will be designed at the end of the third year of the project and disseminated in the fourth year of the project. At least, the project will develop: (i) a fact sheet on the drip irrigation system, (ii) a fact sheet on the Californian system, (iii) a fact sheet on the system of water pumping with off grid solar energy and the maintenance of solar equipment, (iv) a fact sheet on the sustainable management of hydro-agricultural development soils and the use of agricultural inputs, (v) a fact sheet on the optimal profitability of irrigation project activities with modern techniques, (vi) fact sheets on the degraded land and ecosystems surrounding farming areas restoration with Nature-based Solutions, (vii) fact sheets on efficient cooking stoves.

Knowledge sharing and dissemination of good practices for a climate resilient agricultural sector in Niger: This activity aims to share  knowledge and disseminate  good practices for a climate resilient agricultural for farmers groups and cooperatives (men, women, youth), local decentralized Authorities,  local agriculture  and environment offices, Private Banks and Microfinance Institutions executives,Niger's international technical and financial partners ; Great Green Wall initiatives in the State members, Economic Comunitiy of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Regional and national research centers on Climate smart agriculture, Commissioner to the 3N (les Nigériens Nourissent les Nigériens) Initiative ; Ministries in charge  of agriculture, plan, and finance; Directorate in charge of Microfinance Institutions, National Debt, agriculture investment,  Rural Engineering ; National Office of Environmental Assessments, Project management Unit and Executing agency.


[2] Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 Level of water stress freshwater withdrawals as a proportion of available freshwater resources. Target 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water use efficiency in all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawal and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and significantly reduce the number of people suffering from lack of water. Indicator 6.4.2 - Level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as a proportion of available freshwater resources.

[3] For more details, please refer to the project strategy https://www.greenclimate.fund/sites/default/files/document/funding-sap01... , p22

 

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Location: 
Signature Programmes: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Output 1: Degraded land is restored to protect agricultural production systems against the adverse impacts of climate change.

Output 2: Climate-smart agriculture techniques are promoted and reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate.

Output 3: Women- and youth-led local Micro and Small Entreprises (MSEs) and entrepreneurs provide adaptive solutions to climate change with local banks and microfinance institutions sustainable facilities.

Output 4: Lessons learned on climate resilient agriculture and land restoration practices inform future projects in-country and elsewhere.

Project Dates: 
2023 to 2029
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
PIF Approval
Description: 
June 2022
Proj_PIMS_id: 
6696
SDGs: 
SDG 1 - No Poverty
SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 15 - Life On Land
Barriers: 

Barrier#1: Limited technical and financial support from the Government to address climate-induced land degradation: Agricultural fields are increasingly exposed to flooding, erosion and silting due to climate change and adverse practices such as deforestation. However, with limited public budget, only one agriculture advisor per 1,000 producer household is in place, and insufficient investment in infrastructure and restoration are undertaken. In addition, Niger's fiscal balance has been negatively impacted by the impacts of COVID-19 and sovereign debt became even more difficult to assume.[1] The economic downturn, fiscal pressures, and tightening of financial conditions are giving rise to large financing gaps in Niger’s public finances and balance of payments. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country has a limited capacity to borrow additional loan financing, considering the overall fiscal balance including grants which is projected at -5% in 2020. In particular, the budget allocated to agriculture by the government remains well below the financing needs to adapt the agriculture sector to the adverse effects of climate change.

In addition, in spite of the food crisis the Sahel region is facing, the war in Ukraine has led to a large reduction in ODA following the reallocation of resources from important donor countries such as Denmark or Norway. Indeed, Niger does not have the resources in the national budget to address the climate crisis in the Agriculture sector and is highly dependant on international support. This is reflected in the NDC, with the distinction between unconditional adaptation and conditional adaptation, budgeted at US$2.4 billion for 2021-2040 and US$4.343 billion respectively – indicating that 64% of the needs for adaptation financing are expected to be met by external financing ;

Barrier#2: Low knowledge and technical and technological capacity to adopt climate-smart agriculture and ecosystem restoration practices. Even though some traditional practices in terms of ecosystem restoration and protection exist and have been reintroduced, there is a need to adjust these practices to the projected rapid impacts of climate change and to introduce CSA practices. Due to this lack of experience and adequate sensitization efforts, producers are reluctant to adopt new practices as such shifts are perceived risky. This is particularly true in the case of ecosystem restoration practices, which often do not yield immediately perceivable benefits due to the period needed  for the ecosystems regenerate.

In addition, successful strategies (including developed by farmers) are not consolidated and disseminated to generate the larger replication of the practices within and outside the community. Due to the limited availability of deconcentrated state agents, the lack of communication networks and the poor management of lessons learned at the local level (within local authorities, CSOs, NGOs or community groups) and at the national level (within research institutions and universities), successful practices are not replicated beyond the areas of intervention. This also translates into a lack of data and knowledge at the national level on local agricultural production and the impacts of climate change, thereby adversely affecting the informed planning for adaptation at the national level – either using Government’s resources or external donors’ funding.

Even though progress was achieved under Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI), including in Niger and Tahoua, and the growing interest from Governments, donors and other stakeholders, key pressing areas of intervention still require support to implement the three strategic axis of the GGW in Niger: (i) promoting the good governance of natural resources and the Local Development with the involvement of local populations and for their benefit, (ii) the improvement of food security through the valuation and sustainable management of agrosylvopastoral production systems and (iii) knowledge management. The GGWI was envisioned as a large scale programme that would ensure the generation, compilation and sharing of knowledge and lessons learned, but climate risk management support is still urgently needed.

Finally, CSA and ecosystem restoration practices are not introduced as complementary measures and their self-reinforcing adaptive benefits are not always understood by communities and local stakeholders. The relationship between the pressure on surrounding ecosystems and the increased vulnerability to climate change is not clearly understood due to the delayed and indirect nature of the benefits of restored and protected ecosystems as opposed to the direct revenues and livelihood issued from new agricultural land;

Barrier#3: Vulnerable populations don’t have access to low-cost, long-term financing for innovative climate-resilient techniques including solar water pumping systems, water-efficient irrigation networks and other CSA practices. For the communities recognizing the impacts of climate change and wishing to invest in adaptive practices, they face barriers to access financing. Local communities are often perceived by traditional financing institutions (including Micro-Finance Institutions – MFIs) as too risky and notcreditworthy and in turn, local communities are not able to afford the high interest rates offered by these institutions.

Despite the availability of an estimated US$2.1 billion of total assets within the financial sector in Niger, constituting an important source of finance to catalyze in order to meet the investment gap for climate resilient agriculture, farmers are not able to access affordable financing for innovative climate resilient technologies. This can be explained by: i) the lack of capacity of Banks and Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in green lending, ii) the high interest rates charged by banks and MFIs on lending products for climate resilient agriculture, iii) the weak and/or inexistent regulatory frameworks on agriculture resilience and renewable energy technologies financing. Niger's financial system does not provide adequate and sufficient financing that responds effectively to the needs of the national agricultural sector.

The financing available does not allow access to medium and long-term credit to finance equipment or structured finance to meet the sector's supply or value chain needs. While agriculture contributes more than 35% of GDP and employs almost 85% of Niger's working population, the proportion of the banking sector lending to agriculture is extremely limited (less than 1% of total lending). The factors that hinder the development of appropriate and accessible on-farm financial services are: (i) high credit interest rates (12% to 20%) with short-term maturities of under a year; (ii) insufficient supply of credit to meet demand ; (iii) non-financing of all agricultural sectors/activities due to the high risk perception and difficulties in debt collection, (vi) lack of guarantee mechanisms, and (vi) the lack of capacity of Banks and Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) on financing small holder farmers, agriculture groups and cooperatives for climate resilient agriculture. Thus, it is necessary to create incentives for the financial sector to lower interest rates and make loans more accessible (with longer tenors) for agriculture groups and cooperatives and improve the profitability of their farms while increasing the resilience to climate change.

Even the Niger agricultural Bank’s (BAGRI) has not been able to sufficiently support the agriculture sector.  As of 31 January 2020, total outstanding loans, all terms included, amounted to 81 million USD, of which 13 million USD were for agriculture (17% of the total portfolio), while the estimated costs of the Agricultural Value Chain Development of the Strategic Programme for the period 2016-2020 is estimated at more than 268 million USD. From 2021 to 2025, the estimated annual financial requirements for priority resilience, water management and sustainable land management programmes are estimated at $520 million. Given the aggravation of food insecurity due to climate change, the Government of Niger is implementing actions to migrate from rain-fed agriculture to CSA[2]. While resources to support local communities adopt these practices are limited, there is a need to create an enabling environment for vulnerable subsistence farmers to develop into local MSEs, access microfinance, and replicate and scale-up the current investments. Currently, vulnerable farmers are not able to borrow due to the absence of sufficient guarantees and the lack of solvent organization of agricultural groups. There is therefore a gap to strengthen existing organizations and support the access to affordable credit.

Barrier#4: Unavailable, obsolete or inaccessible climate information. Currently, reliable climate information is not available or widely disseminated for local communities. The meteorological network is scattered through the country and does not provide data specific to the local level, preventing the adoption of adequate adaptive practices. When available, the shared information provides approximately downscaled warnings and forecasts that do not provide the needed accuracy to adapt the agriculture practices in a timely manner. In addition, forecasts and early warnings are not always disseminated in a way that is understandable by local communities – for instance, most of the information is only available in French and not translated in local languages.

Finally, the communication strategies often exclude most remote and isolated communities, who may not have access to phones or radios and are less accessible for scarce deconcentrated state services. There is a lack of locally-collected data, timely shared with meteorological institutions to issue agricultural advice, projections and early warnings. This communication channel also fails to share and consolidate lessons learned from CSA and other traditional and modern agricultural practices for a better management of knowledge at the national and regional level.


[1] According to the World Bank, to better cope with the Covid-19 crisis, Niger should primarily direct and strengthen its actions in favor of sensitive sectors such as food security. The cost of the COVID 19 Response Plan, estimated by the Government and its partners in May 2020, is $1.5 billion, or 18.4% of GDP.

[2] Niger’s NDC Chapter 5.7 Accent on Climate-Smart Agriculture. September, 26th, 2015

 

Climate Resilience in the Nakambe Basin of Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country situated in the heart of West Africa. Four major watersheds mainly drain the country. The Nakambe River Basin is the most populated area. About 85% of national water storage capacity is held in reservoirs located on the Nakambe or its tributaries. Ouagadougou is almost entirely dependent on the basin’s surface water. Despite its importance, the Nakambe River is threatened by degradation and the combined impacts of climate change and human activities such as agriculture, deforestation and overgrazing.  The “Climate Resilience in the Nakambe Basin” project will reduce the vulnerability of Nakambe river communities to anthropogenic climate change with a focus on strengthening the resilience of livelihoods and agro-ecological and hydrological systems to withstand additional climate stressors.

 

English
Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (-0.45996130223198 12.92318879103)
Financing Amount: 
US$4.4 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$10.8 million
Location: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Outcome 1: Build capacity of the Directorate General for Nakambe Water Agency (DG-EAN) and communities on the use of climate & hydrological information/services for extreme climate risk management.

Outcome 2: Climate risk management and sustainable forestry practices adopted by smallholder farmers.

 

Project Dates: 
2022 to 2027
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
March 2022
Description: 
CEO Endorsement
SDGs: 
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 14 - Life Below Water
Barriers: 

Barrier #1: The Nakambe River Agency and other relevant national actors have limited knowledge and means to generate hydro-meteorological information. There is a very limited observation network in sub-basin affected by drought & floods and the institution lack of available and historical data to produce and disseminate reliable information on flood/drought forecasting in the context of management of water resources. This result from inadequate investments into regional and local level capacity development for climate resilient information and decision-making systems. The spatial analysis of the vulnerability of exposed elements (populations and infrastructures), combined with analysis of potential socioeconomic impacts would allow for an assessment and a complete cartography of flood/drought risks.

Barrier #2: Inexistence of community disaster risks early warning system in the Nakambe Basin. The communities living in areas of high risk of extreme weather events are not sufficiently reached in term of prevention and response mechanisms. There is lack an efficient communications system at local level; language of communication – mainly in French, which a larger number of Mossi communities do not understand; a restricted type of media of communicating the information to stakeholders. The institution also lacks information communication experts to transform technically sound information to down to earth easily understandable messages that will catch the attention and interest of end users so that they can make use of the information and take remedial or adaptation measures.

Barrier #3: Weak resilience capacity of communities. Poor communities living in the Nakambe basin have very little knowledge of resilient farming methods (plant density, drought resistant varieties of local crops, suitable seed provision, mulch application, etc.), and low-cost water conservation/irrigation technologies in areas prone to diminishing or highly variable rainfall during crop growing season. In the basin Centre North region, a great percent of the population is rural and has subsistence agriculture as their main source of income. Therefore, subsistence and small scale (rain-fed) farming is the predominant feature and this includes both livestock and drylands crop farming with sorghum and corn as the main cereals. Natural disasters related to erratic climate conditions (e.g., extreme heat, alternating periods of drought and flooding) represent a strong handicap. A wide range of technical compounds these climate-related challenges and institutional constraints, including inadequate infrastructure, limited access to markets, market uncertainty, weak capacity of producer organizations, and lack of financing, poor sectoral coordination, and political instability.

Barrier #4: Increased risks on water availability caused by anthropogenic and climatic factors. Even though the per capita water availability of the basin may be perceived as normal, deforestation, land degradation, and high population growth rate coupled with climate change will exacerbate the growing scarcity on water resources as water supplies dwindle and become insufficient to meet the water demands of the growing population. As water crises are forecasted for the future, and meeting the water demands of the increasing population in the Nakambe basin is closely tied to understanding and the development of water resources in order to prevent their depletion in the face of climate change.

Enhancing climate resilience in Thailand through effective water management and sustainable agriculture

While Thailand has made remarkable progress in social and economic development over the last four decades, rising temperatures and more frequent and extreme droughts and floods driven by climate change pose an increasing threat to the country’s economy. Water management has emerged as a leading concern.  

This project will help build the resilience of farmers in the Yom and Nan river basins (Sukhothai, Phitsanulok and Uttaradit provinces) through improved climate information and forecasts, the introduction of more climate-resilient agricultural practices, and expanded access to markets and finance.    

At the same time, it will work with subnational and national agencies to improve risk-informed planning and decision-making, promote cross-sectoral coordination, and upgrade critical infrastructure such as irrigation canals and floodgates, taking advantage of ecosystem-based adaptation approaches.  

 

 

 

 

 

English
Region/Country: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (100.54687496761 13.768731166253)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
This project will directly benefit 62,000 people in the provinces of Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, and Uttaradit in the northern region of Thailand of the Greater Chao Phraya River Basin, at the confluence of the Yom and Nan Rivers. Approximately 471,561 people in the project districts are also expected to indirectly benefit, with wider benefits for 25,000,000 people living in the Greater Chao Phraya River Basin.
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$17,533,500 GCF grant
Co-Financing Total: 
US$16.264 million from the Royal Thai Government through the Royal Irrigation Department | $113,000 Krungsri Bank | Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives $16 million line of credit to help farmers invest in adaptation measures
Project Details: 

Thailand’s extreme vulnerability to climate change is shaped by an extensive coastline, a large rural population highly dependent on agriculture, and extensive populous urban areas located on flood prone plains.

Severe rain, flood and drought events are expected to increase in the near and longer-term future. The country’s agricultural sector will be particularly impacted by changing patterns of precipitation, with implications for agricultural livelihoods and local and national economies. Between 2040 and 2049, the projected negative impacts on agriculture are estimated to induce losses of between $24 billion and $94 billion.

In 2011, 66 out of the country’s 77 provinces were affected by flooding, with over 20,000 square kilometres of agricultural land damaged, and nearly 900 lives lost.  The following year, Thailand suffered $46.5 billion in damages and loss, and required an estimated $14 billion in loans for rehabilitation and reconstruction as a result. 

The recent drought in 2015-2016 is estimated to have resulted in losses of $3.4 billion. 

Poor households will suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change. Poverty in Thailand has a predominately rural profile, which fluctuates according to vulnerabilities in the agricultural sector, such as faltering economic growth, falling agricultural prices, and droughts. 

Proportionally, the Central and Northern Regions of Thailand have the highest levels of poverty. Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, and Uttaradit provinces – those covered by the project – have higher poverty levels compared with other parts of the country.   

Climate-informed water management and climate-resilient water infrastructure are critical to Thailand’s preparedness and response to climate change. Thailand’s National Adaptation Plan 2018, highlighted flood control and drought management as key priorities, with a focus on Chao Phraya River Basin. 

Given the cost of upgrading existing water infrastructure across the country, the Royal Thai Government is seeking to complement its grey infrastructure with ecosystems-based adaptation measures. As agriculture households are the most vulnerable to changing climatic conditions, an integrated solution which brings together water management and agriculture is key. 

This project therefore focuses on adapting water management and agricultural livelihoods in the Yom and Nan river basins to climate change induced extreme weather events (droughts and floods), through interventions across three outputs: 

·       Output 1:  Enhancing climate and risk informed planning in the water and agricultural sectors through improved climate information and cross sectoral coordination

·       Output 2:  Improving water management through strengthened infrastructure complemented by EbA measures, for greater resilience to climate change impacts

·       Output 3:  Reducing volatility of agriculture livelihoods in drought and flood prone areas through strengthened extension support and local planning, investment in on-farm adaptation measures and greater access to finance and markets

Better integration of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) measures will have environmental benefits, while capacity-building interventions will support cost-efficient and effective water and agriculture planning. 

The project design – which includes artificial intelligence to support climate-informed planning, precision agriculture for efficient water use and applies the internet of things (IoT) concept for sharing and applying data – has been guided by Thailand 4.0, which aims to shift Thailand’s agriculture sector towards an innovation-driven and interconnected sector. 

At the same time, the project also supports low-tech interventions to help farmers respond to changing rainfall patterns.  These include on-farm ecosystem-based adaptation measures (for example, farm ponds), small-scale equipment to support water saving farming practices (for example, system for rice intensification) and community nurseries.  

Training will be provided to ensure that extension services can support farmers with adaptation measures, and the project will provide support to market access for products resulting from climate resilient practices.   

The project builds on existing initiatives, including work by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to enhance Thailand’s agriculture sector adaptation planning (supported by UNDP and FAO through a BMU funded project) and work by the Ministry to implement the Agricultural Strategic Plan on Climate Change 2017-2021 whereby the Royal Irrigation Department takes the lead for the Strategy 2 (Adaptation Actions). 

The Office of National Water Resources – which functions as the regulating agency in proposing policies, formulating master plan on water resources management, responsible for management and supervision as well as integration on the implementation plan of water related-agencies in accordance with the Water Resource Management Act (2018) – has developed the 20-year Master Plan on Water Management (2018-2037), aimed at solving Thailand’s chronic drought, flood and wastewater problems. The Master Plan also stresses the importance of the need to bring in new ideas and technologies to address water related challenges which are exacerbated by climate change.

Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Output 1:  Enhance climate and risk informed planning in the water and agricultural sectors through improved climate information and cross sectoral coordination

Activity 1.1 Strengthen capacity to generate tailored climate information to inform water management and agriculture planning

Activity 1.2. Facilitate inter-ministerial coordination for climate-informed and integrated planning

Activity 1.3. Expand access to climate information for application at the household level

Output 2: Improve water management through strengthened infrastructure complemented by EbA measures, for greater resilience to climate change impacts

Activity 2.1.   Climate-informed engineering designs for the 13 schemes of the Yom-Nan river basin, and upgrade of 2 water infrastructure 

Activity 2.2.  Complementing of grey infrastructure with EbA measures and integration of EbA approaches into water management policy and planning

Output 3:  Reduce volatility of agriculture livelihoods in drought and flood prone areas through strengthened extension support and local planning, investment in on-farm adaptation measures and greater access to finance and markets

Activity 3.1. Application of climate information in household agriculture planning and strengthening related support through extension services

Activity 3.2.  Implementation of on-farm climate resilient measures to improve drought and flood resilience and improved access to finance for sustainable agriculture

Activity 3.3.  Capacity building for farmers to support market access for climate resilient agriculture products

Monitoring & Evaluation: 

UNDP will perform monitoring, evaluation and reporting throughout the reporting period, in compliance with the UNDP POPP, the UNDP Evaluation Policy.  

The primary responsibility for day-today project monitoring and implementation rests with the Project Manager.  UNDP’s Country Office will support the Project Manager as needed, including through annual supervision missions.

Key reports include annual performance reports (APR) for each year of project implementation; an independent mid-term review (MTR); and an independent terminal evaluation (TE) no later than three months prior to operational closure of the project.

The final project APR along with the terminal evaluation report and corresponding management response will serve as the final project report package and will be made available to the public on UNDP’s Evaluation Resource Centre.

The UNDP Country Office will retain all M&E records for this project for up to seven years after project financial closure in order to support ex-post evaluations.

Contacts: 
UNDP
Charles Yu
Regional Technical Advisor - Climate Change Adaptation
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Location: 
Programme Meetings and Workshops: 

Inception workshop, 2022 TBC

Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Output 1:  Enhance climate and risk informed planning in the water and agricultural sectors through improved climate information and cross sectoral coordination

Activity 1.1 Strengthen capacity to generate tailored climate information to inform water management and agriculture planning

Activity 1.2. Facilitate inter-ministerial coordination for climate-informed and integrated planning

Activity 1.3. Expand access to climate information for application at the household level

Output 2: Improve water management through strengthened infrastructure complemented by EbA measures, for greater resilience to climate change impacts

Activity 2.1.   Climate-informed engineering designs for the 13 schemes of the Yom-Nan river basin, and upgrade of 2 water infrastructure 

Activity 2.2.  Complementing of grey infrastructure with EbA measures and integration of EbA approaches into water management policy and planning

Output 3:  Reduce volatility of agriculture livelihoods in drought and flood prone areas through strengthened extension support and local planning, investment in on-farm adaptation measures and greater access to finance and markets

Activity 3.1. Application of climate information in household agriculture planning and strengthening related support through extension services

Activity 3.2.  Implementation of on-farm climate resilient measures to improve drought and flood resilience and improved access to finance for sustainable agriculture

Activity 3.3.  Capacity building for farmers to support market access for climate resilient agriculture products

Project Dates: 
2022 to 2027
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
October 2021
Description: 
GCF Board Approval
Proj_PIMS_id: 
5923
SDGs: 
SDG 1 - No Poverty
SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
SDG 5 - Gender Equality
SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 10 - Reduce Inequalities
SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 15 - Life On Land
SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Enhancing climate resilience of rural communities and ecosystems in Ahuachapán Sur, El Salvador

The main project objective is reducing the vulnerability of communities and productive ecosystems in the Municipality of San Francisco Menendez to drought risk, soil erosion, and flash floods due to climate change and climate variability. The project will integrate forest landscape restoration as a climate change adaptation strategy targeted towards increasing forest cover, improving the hydrological cycle, increasing the amount of available water, and regulating surface and groundwater flows, while maintaining and improving water supply and quality. The project landscape approach will ensure that land degradation is reduced (or reversed) and that productivity is maintained and made resilient to climate change impact, thus contributing to better food security and community resilience. By ensuring and enabling institutional and governance environment, the project will generate coordinated and informed actors with the capacity to address appropriate adaptation measures in the medium and long term thus resulting in a genuine local resilience to climate change.

The project will meet its objective by restoring 3,865Ha of forest landscape within San Francisco Menendez, through a landscape-based ecosystem intervention that will focus on the restoration of critical landscapes and enhance its capacity to manage droughts, soil erosion and flash floods; promoting and implementing climate resilient and economically viable productive alternatives in the region that address the economic vulnerability being faced in the region as traditional agricultural systems have become less productive due to climate change; generating climate and hydrological information products in the region to identify and monitor the impact of climate change in the landscape and also the effectiveness of ecosystem based interventions in their management to improve local and national responses; and enhancing local capacity to take concerted action in addressing climate change impact, prioritizing adaptation interventions and mobilizing the financing necessary for their implementation.

English
Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (-88.395996099475 13.433791341118)
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$8.4 million
Project Details: 

National Background

  1. El Salvador has been identified by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as one of the countries with the highest sensitivity to climate change[1]. According to the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC, the country is characterized by a high exposure to geoclimatic threats, resulting from its location and topography, exacerbating climate change induced risk and vulnerability of human settlements and ecosystems[2]. The Global Climate Risk Index for the period between 1997 to 2016, covering both human and economic impacts, ranks El Salvador 16th in the world, emphasizing the country’s high vulnerability to extreme climate events[3]. There is ample evidence of climate change and variability affecting all sectors of society and economy, at different spatial and temporal scales, from intra-seasonal to long-term variability as a result of large-scale cyclical phenomena[4]. A study from The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) found that between 1980 to 2008, an average of 1.5 natural disasters per year resulted in nearly 7,000 human casualties, affecting 2.9 million people, and costing US $470 million to the central government (amount that is equivalent to 4.2% of the Gross Domestic Product). The country of El Salvador spends an equivalent to 1.1% of its total GDP with dealing with climate change related impacts and infrastructure every year on average.

 

  1. El Salvador is the most densely populated country in Central America (342 people per km²) with a population of approximately 6.46 million inhabitants, of which 52.9% are women[5]. The country’s territory totals 21,040 km², with a rugged topography (50% of total land mass has slopes of over 15%), highly erodible soils and the lowest per capita availability of freshwater in Central America5. According to the measurement of compound poverty[6], 35.2% of the total Salvadoran households are poor, equivalent to 606,000 homes to approximately 2.6 million people. Similarly, the multidimensional poverty rate in rural areas is 58.5%, and 22.5% in urban areas. Thirty-eight percent of the country’s population resides in rural or non-urban areas, of which 20% are women[7]. In all the departments, other than one, over 50% of rural households are multidimensionally poor and as such are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change (Figure 1). Homes with this condition have the following deprivations: 37% food insecurity; 49% lack of access to drinking water; 83.7% no access to public health.

 

  1. Sixty percent of the national territory is devoted to agriculture, which is the main source of livelihood for the rural population in the country. About 36% of the total country territory is arable land, with corn as the main subsistence crop, followed by rice, beans, oilseeds, and sorghum, and with the cultivation of coffee and sugar cane as major cash crops The effects of climate change, as observed over recent years, have directly affected the productivity across the whole spectrum of the agricultural sector, with significant impacts on smallholder farming[8].  According to the last agricultural census, there are more than 325,000 producers of basic grains who work in land parcels of sizes ranging between 0.7-3 hectares. Not surprisingly, 52.4% of the farmers organize their agricultural activity in parcels averaging 0.7 hectares, with an average corn production of 1.427 kg/ha. This production may satisfy the immediate needs of a family household (requiring only 1,300 kg of corn per year), but is significantly lower than the national average production (2,575 kg/ha). Impact from extreme weather such as the tropical storm Mitch (1998) caused damages and total loss of US $388.1 million, with US $158.3 million (40.8% of the total) impacting the agricultural sector. The 2001, drought reported damages and loss for US $31.4 million and 81% for the farming industry. Hurricane Stan (2005) caused US $355.6 million in damages and loss, US $48.7 million and 13.7% of the total for the agricultural sector. The Tropical Depression Twelve-E (DT 12-E) in 2011 carried a price tag of US $306 million in damages and losses in the agricultural sector. Between 2014 and 2015, losses in agriculture, as a result of severe drought, costed the country more than US $140 million, with greater impact felt on subsistence crops (corn and beans), as well as in the dairy industry which lost more than 10% of its production. The sustained dry spell followed by high temperatures, has also caused severe damage to the health of human populations, to the broader agricultural sector, and the natural environment. Furthermore, the reduction or deficiency in rainfall over the period has also affected the availability and quality of superficial and underground water resources.

 

Extreme weather hazards and climate change in El Salvador

  1. El Salvador is currently impacted by the effects of climate variability and change, with highly variable rainfall patterns, both spatial and temporal, which is leading to an increase in the number of extreme climatic events (i.e. tropical cyclones, floods and droughts). Over time, El Salvador has passed from experiencing one event per decade in the sixties and seventies, two in the eighties, four in the nineties, to eight extreme events in the last decade. This shows a shift from previous decades, when extreme events hitting the country would originate mostly from the Atlantic Ocean, and had its first wave of impacts mitigated by the land mass of neighbouring countries. This is no longer the case, since the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones originating from both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans has increased over the past two decades.

 

  1. Studies from the National Service of Territorial Studies (Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales, SNET) reveal that at least 10% of the country is prone to floods, 20% percent is exposed to landslides, 50% is affected by drought. The poorest segments of the population are particularly hit by natural disasters, as they are more likely to live in hazardous parts of the territory, such as flood plains, river banks, steep slopes, and fragile buildings in densely populated zones.

 

  1. In 2014, the average accumulated rain for July ended as the lowest in the last 44 years[9] on record, and in 2015 the average accumulated rain during the rainy season was the lowest ever recorded, reaching only 63% of what should be expected given normal historic climate conditions (Figure 4). Extended drought periods in the country, have traditionally been followed by high temperatures, hindering progress and functioning of important sectors of the economy, including agriculture, health, water resources, and energy. According to the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), approximations from Central America’s main the prima harvest for 2015 showed a decline of 60% in the total maize harvest, and 80% in the total beans harvest due to drier than normal weather conditions.

 

  1. Consecutive dry years, in which the dry spells last for extended periods of time, have become more frequent due to climate change. This has had wide spread effect across different sectors, consequently increasing risk and vulnerability of populations in El Salvador. Most importantly, this causes reduction on the availability of food (also affecting its access and use), due to impacts on income and basic goods availability in certain regions of the country, with serious social and economic impacts in the long-term. Furthermore, extended drought periods in the region has made landscapes more susceptible to soil erosion, floods and landslides, especially in the advent of localized rainfall in excess. Droughts in El Salvador are also known for causing fluctuations in food prices, plant pests epidemic, animal disease propagation, financial and political instability.

 

National Climate Scenarios

  1. The climate change scenarios indicate that in the coming years, El Salvador will experience more intense, and more frequent, extreme events. According to the projected scenarios, the country will consistently face reductions in precipitation and constant increases in temperature (Figure 5). The National Climate Scenarios produced by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) show that over the course of this century, the average temperatures (maximum and minimum averages) will increase considerably, with the magnitude of the change being most marked for the period 2071-2100.

 

  1. Average and minimum temperature will shift considerably between the periods 2021-2050 and 2071-2100 under all climatic scenarios. This represent changes between 1 °C and 3 °C and up to 4.5 °C towards the end of the century. These projected changes in temperature for El Salvador, are most in line with the changes projected by the IPCC. Temperature increases of such magnitude, will have direct effect on the temperature of the Pacific coast. When breaking and zooming into the time series of projections, the data shows that, in the near future (between 2021-2030 and 2031-2041), all scenarios point out to shifts between 0.7 °C and 1.5 °C, which is higher than what its observed today. The last decade in the period under consideration, presents the greatest changes in temperature with values ​​between 1.5 °C and 2 °C in the country. These projections reveal that, in the future, 90% of the national territory will be subject to average temperature values above 27 °C.

 

  1. All scenarios point to a decrease in precipitation between 10% to 20%, across the country between 2021-2050, with some regions being expected to see a reduction above 20% (under a high emissions scenario). This would represent a reduction of no less than 200 mm per year in precipitation. Comparably, towards 2041-2050 the magnitude of rainfall reduction will remain on the mark between 10% to 20%, similar to the previous period. It is worth noting that projected changes between 2031-2040 can be attributed to already ongoing climate change and variability processes in El Salvador, and that these changes are within the scope of the IPCC projections for the region.

 

  1. The projected scenarios for the period between 2071-2100, show even more drastic changes in precipitation patterns in the country, with values ranging between 20 to 26% under the high emissions pathway. When looking at each decade in detail, for example, between 2071-2080 the changes represent a decrease of 15-25% in rainfall, under a low emissions scenario, followed by 20-25% reduction in rainfall under a high emissions scenario. By the same token, the decade of 2081-2090 will experience reductions between 20% to 30%, with even higher depletion of rainfall under the high emissions scenario. During the last decade of the 21st century between 2091-2100, the projected scenarios reveal a decrease in rainfall ranging between 20% -35% (low emissions scenario) when compared to current observed values. At the century approaches end, the scenarios reveal reduction in precipitation that are considerably more pronounced, intense and drastic if compared to the period between 2021-2050. This represents a reduction of 300 mm a year in precipitation in the country.

 

  1. These scenarios represent a complete range of alternative futures for climate in El Salvador. Taking into account the cascading effects that may accompany the climate change scenarios, the country’s economy, society and nature, finds itself having to deal with greater risk and effective occurrence of natural disasters. Not surprisingly, as a result of current climate variability and change, in the form of higher temperatures, reduced rainfall, erratic local, regional and global climate controls, the country is already and will continue to need to manage increased social, economic and environmental pressures across vastly degraded landscapes.

 

The South Ahuachapán landscape

  1. The South-Ahuachapán area, located in the department of Ahuachapán, includes the municipalities of San Francisco Menendez, Jujutla, Guaymango and San Pedro Puxtla (Figure 9), covering an area of 591.73 Km2, with a population of 98,016 people from which 51% are women, and with the majority of the population (77%) residing in rural areas[10].

 

  1. The MARN estimates the South-Ahuachapán as an area of high vulnerability to climate change. Considering its environmental and social characteristics at the landscape level, this part of the country finds itself highly susceptible to the destructive effects of climate variability together with lacking of necessary resources to adequately prepare, respond and recover from natural disasters. This region, contains a significant amount of the population exposed to frequent meteorological drought, while at the same time it is one of El Salvador’s main regions for the production of staple food items (basic grains), as well as other cash crops (sugarcane, coffee).

 

  1. According to the climate change scenarios produced by the MARN, climate variability and change in the region will become more and more evident. This will be reflected through significant increases in average temperatures, erratic rainfall patterns, and increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
  2. Tree cover accounts for 68% of its total territorial area, distributed as 33% Forest, 29% Shaded coffee and 6% shrubs. Agricultural land accounts for 26% of total area, and it is used for the production of staple grains (maize and beans). The Landscape features strategic natural assets for the country, such as El Imposible National Park, the Apaneca-Ilamatepec Biosphere Reserve, and the RAMSAR site Barra de Santiago comprising an extraordinary biological diversity of ecosystems, species and genes, and their conservation deserve special attention. The primary ecological zones are the humid subtropical forest to the south, very moist subtropical forest, and humid subtropical forest.

 

  1. The area has a complex hydrographic network. Of the 11 hydrographic basins that drain the territory, four of the most important: the rivers La Paz, Banderas, Lempa and Grande in Sonsonate are part of this area. There are 32 rivers in the Barra de Santiago Basin - and the Sub-basins of Cara Sucia and Culiapa. Among the main rivers of the Cara Sucia Sub-basin are El Sacramento, Huiscoyol, El Corozo, Cara Sucia, Mistepe, the Izcanal, Maishtapula, and the Aguachapio rivers. Between the main rivers of the Cuilapa Sub-basin are the Guayapa, Cuilapa, El Naranjo, El Rosario, Cubis, San Antonio, Tihuicha and El Negro rivers. However, a Hydro Analysis of this area carried out in 2007, showed that domestic demand represented 7.41% of total demand, against an irrigation demand of 92.59%, with signs of over-exploitation of the resource in the lower parts of ​​the Cara Sucia Sub-watershed.         

 

  1. Since 1974, the Paz River has abandoned old drainages of the El Aguacate, La Danta and Río Seco channels, causing a process of desiccation and transformation of the wetlands and marshes, with an alteration of the salinity gradients, the reduction of the freshwater flows and the closure of the mangrove swamps of Garita Palmera. This leads to a high susceptibility to flooding in the southern part of the Department. The situation will be further aggravated by the climate change impacts projected to take place in what is already degraded land. Ineffective agricultural and livestock practices have led to high levels of contamination by agrochemicals, which, together with erosion, lead to a deterioration of mangroves with sedimentation and silting of channels, with loss of mangrove hydrodynamic regulation. This situation, threatens and affects artisanal and industrial fishing and local livelihoods. The lack of opportunities leads to migration and weakening of the social fabric in an already vulnerable part of the country.

 

  1. In this region, the mangroves in the lower basin of the river belong to the mangrove ecoregion of the Pacific dry coast (Olson et al., 2001), which extend in patches along the coastal zone of Guatemala and El Salvador. The mangroves and marshes dominate the coasts of estuaries in the coastal plain. The coastal wetlands of Garita Palmera and El Botoncillo are possibly the least known and certainly the most degraded on the coast of El Salvador (MARN - AECI, 2003), and the population that inhabits these ecosystems have livelihoods intimately related to their services. The current conditions of the mangroves in the lower basin of the river are a consequence of the high rate of deforestation and the change in land use throughout the basin, as well as alterations in its hydrological regime, such as decrease of annual flow, flow seasonal shifts, and significant decrease in water budget of River Paz, causing a reduction in the productivity of ecosystems and in their capacity to provide services and benefits to local communities (further contributing to flooding, increased runoff and soil loss).

 

  1. This region is important also for aquifer recharge, specifically for the recharge of the aquifer ESA-01, localized in alluvial materials in south Ahuachapán, in the municipalities of San Francisco Menendez, Jujutla and Acajutla.

 

  1. During the last eight years, this landscape has suffered the adverse impacts of extreme hydro-meteorological events, in some years it experienced Tropical Depressions and Hurricanes, and in other years it suffered meteorological drought with significant damages to infrastructure, agriculture and crops, functioning of ecosystems, and livelihoods. The loss of coverage and inadequate agricultural practices on slopes, have caused a decrease in water regulation capacities with increased runoff, which in turn led to a severe increase in soil erosion rates in the high and middle parts of the basins, an increased risk of landslides and floods; and a decrease in infiltration capacities and aquifer recharge with a decrease in the water supply for different uses. All this has been reflected in large damages to infrastructure and crop loss.

 

  1. The pressure exerted on the forest remnants of the highlands, riparian forests, secondary forests, agroforestry systems and mangroves has also increased the region’s vulnerability to climate change. The reduction of habitat, the loss of ecological connectivity and of critical ecosystem services (i.e. water provision, climate regulation) have caused a chain of processes and negative impacts that increase the vulnerability of this area in the face of more frequent events of heavy rainfall, and prolonged periods of drought. Thus, the loss of natural vegetation cover and the poor land use practices in agriculture, are leading to a continuous decrease in surface and ground water availability, excessive runoff, and a decrease in other water regulation ecosystem services, leading to a significant increase in soil erosion rates. A recent assessment of damages to the agricultural sector in Ahuachapán, pointed out that, due to an extended drought period, the average numbers observed for the harvest of corn and beans (June/July 2015) had a reduction of 94%.

 

  1. Degrading of natural ecosystems, with wide spread effects at the landscape level (including depletion of riparian forests and grasslands) threatens the provision of a wide range of ecosystem services to local communities in the South Ahuachapán. Long and short-term effects of degradation of these ecosystems include:
  1. increased soil erosion as a result of reduced vegetation cover;
  2. reduced infiltration of water in degraded watersheds and catchment areas, thereby resulting in reduced recharge of groundwater and an increased incidence of flooding; 

 

  1. Interventions in the are thus need to focus on helping the landscape to adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change, through the protection of the ecosystems and the rehabilitation and conservation of the mosaic of interdependent land uses thus enhancing the landscape’s capacity to manage extreme hydro-meteorological events as well as increased projected temperatures and erratic rainfall patterns. The goods and services generated by healthy or under restoration landscapes, have the potential to mitigate these threats by providing multiple benefits to local communities in the region of South-Ahuachapán, such as the provision of natural resources (food and water)  and regulatory functions, including flood mitigation, water filtration and waste decomposition.

 

Landscape approach to build resilience and adapt to climate change

  1. In 2012, El Salvador developed the National Environmental Policy to help regulate, manage, protect the country’s natural resources, and reverse environmental degradation, while reducing the country’s vulnerability to climate change, which feeds directly into the country’s plans on long-term economic growth and social progress outcomes. A key instrument of the National Environmental Policy is the National Program for the Restoration of Ecosystems and Landscapes (PREP), which is organized in three strategic areas: 1) Restoration, reforestation and inclusive conservation of critical ecosystems such as gallery forests, water recharge areas, slopes, mangroves and other forest ecosystems; 2) The restoration of degraded soils, through the forestation of agricultural systems, the adoption of resilient agroforestry systems and the development of sustainable and climate-resilient and biodiversity-friendly agriculture; 3) Synergistic development of physical infrastructure and natural infrastructure.  Forest landscape restoration is a key part of the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution, and the main strategy to contribute to climate change adaptation, by increasing productivity of landscapes, enhancing the resilience of forest ecosystems, landscapes, agroecosystems, watersheds, and forest‐dependent communities.

 

  1. The PREP comprises immediate and strategic activities, such as the conservation of forest remnants; the restoration of forest ecosystems and agroecosystems, recovering tree coverage in critical sites, working to rehabilitate the landscape; and the maintenance and increase of tree cover in critical areas, particularly in high altitude agroecosystems, and at the watershed level (to control water supply and flow, reducing runoff, landslides and floods). The application of techniques to reduce the speed of the water flow and to increase the capacity of the water retention in the upper sections of the basins and the high zones of the mountain ranges and the protection of the plant cover, have the potential to reduce erosion and the transport of sediment as well as floods. Consequently, it enables to reduce risks associated to extreme hydro-meteorological events. Furthermore, it is expected that the reforestation of the agricultural areas will improve the soil with an increase in organic matter and moisture retention, and therefore, increasing the resistance during water shortage and drought.

 

Identification of priority sites for EBA through restoration in South Ahuachapán 

  1. Information from the PREP was used o  update National Land Use Map, allowing for the identification of key the restoration sites of the country based on the following six criteria: soil conservation and food production; biodiversity and wildlife conservation; protection of ground water and adaptation to drought; adaptation to extreme events and protection against floods and storms; firewood supply and climate regulation.

 

  1. A particular focus was provided to key agroecosystems sites (these account for 60% of the national territory) with the potential land use/cover transitions[11] for restoration also being identified taking into account the different current uses of the soil to allow the recovery of prized ecosystems, through the restoration of their relevant environmental goods and services for adaptation. The potential areas for each transition type comprise a total of 1,001,405 hectares comprising eleven proposed transitions pointing to the high potential for restoration areas in South Ahuachapán.

 

  1. The analysis by MARN has allowed the project to identify the municipality of San Francisco Menendez located in the South Landscape of Ahuachapán, as the target intervention area for restoration investments. The municipality has a territory of 226.13 km2 and a total population of 42,062 of which 30,211 reside in rural areas. The identification of the Municipality of San Francisco Menendez as the area of intervention, was based on an exhaustive analysis of available time series of satellite remote sensing data, together with data and information collected by MARN in-situ.[12]

 

  1. To further characterize the imbalances observed in the region, coming as consequence of intense rainfall and longer dry periods, the prioritization exercise used data from the Monthly Climate and Climatic Water Balance for Global Terrestrial Surfaces Dataset (TerraClimate) to better understand the runoff patterns in San Francisco Menendez.[13] The analysis revealed an upward trend in surface runoff in San Francisco Menendez, starting in 2006 and progressing steadily,  affecting negatively agricultural activities and exacerbating the already damaging effects of extended periods of drought, scarce and localized rainfall patterns in the intervention area. The data and analysis revealed that the lower Rio Paz presents a remarkably consistent pattern of low precipitation and high temperatures over time. Such characteristics have been followed by an increase in the number of extreme whether events (such as heavy rainfall and droughts), leading to below average soil moisture, increased surface runoff, and soil loss. This has been pointed out by an increasing number of recent reports by MARN and international agencies such as USAID, FAO, GIZ, which have identified the Municipality of San Francisco Menendez (entirely located in the Central America Dry Corridor) as extremely susceptible to the Effects of CC. The impacts pointed out by MARN and international organizations working in the area, have been immediately felt in the form of changes in water flow patterns (in the Lower Rio Paz), higher than normal temperatures, erratic rainfall, and low fresh water input into the ocean. This has created an imbalance that will only be exacerbated by CC, affecting agriculture, the natural environment, as well as local livelihoods in the project intervention areas.

 

  1. In San Francisco Menendez, the land under exploitation is dominated by cultivation of crops (46%), followed by seasonal grasslands (30%) and permanent grasslands (15%). The local development plan for the municipality has identified 4,569 Ha of critical ecosystems for restoration by 2030 of which 1,569Ha are agroforestry systems, 2,000 Ha tropical forests and 1,000 Ha being mangrove systems. According to the 2007 Census in the agriculture and livestock sector, the land under exploitation is mainly owned by producers (75%) while 18% of land is leased (Figure 13). There are 80 cooperatives of small producers present in San Francisco Menendez, from those 16 are women led cooperatives.

 

  1. San Francisco Menendez municipality is part of the broader South Ahuachapán landscape that includes the municipalities of Jujutla, Guayamango and San Pedro Puxtla. These municipalities are administratively grouped together through the Association of Municipalities of Microregión Sur with the objective of establishing synergies for their development and for environmental management through concerted actions. Actions along these municipalities is also strategic as these also share access to the same aquifers (Figure 12) thus linking them, at a landscape, administrative and hydrological level. Population for this larger region is 98,016 (49,899 women) of which 75,515 people reside in rural areas.



[1] D. L. Hartmann, a. M. G. K. Tank, and M. Rusticucci, “IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Climatie Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis,” Ipcc AR5, no. January 2014 (2013): 31–39, https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.

[2] IPCC, “Climate Change, Adaptation, and Vulnerability,” Organization & Environment 24, no. March (2014): 1–44, https://doi.org/http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/IPCC_WG2AR5_SPM_A....

[3] Sönke Kreft and David Eckstein, “Global Climate Risk Index 2014,” Germanwatch, 2013, 28, http://germanwatch.org/en/download/8551.pdf.

[4] (Cai et al., 2015; Harger, 1995; Neelin et al., 1998; Takahashi et al., 2011; Torrence and Webster, 1999; Wolter and Timlin, 2011)

[5] Ministry of Economy; General Directorate of Statistics and Census –DIGESTyC; El Salvador: 2014; Estimates and Trends of Municipal Population 2005-2025

[6] STPP and MINEC-DIGESTYC (2015). Multidimensional Measurement of poverty. El Salvador. San Salvador: Technical and Planning Secretariat of the Presidency and the Ministry of Economy, through the General Directorate of Statistics and Census.

Compound Poverty: Takes into account the essential areas for human development and well-being. A total of twenty indicators around five essential well-being dimensions: a) education; b) housing conditions; c) work and social security; d) health, basic services and food security; and e) quality of the habitat.

[7] STPP & MINEC-DIGESTYC, “Medición Multidimensional de La Pobreza. El Salvador.,” San Salvador: Secretaría Técnica y de Planificación de La Presidencia y Ministerio de Economía, a Través de La Dirección General de Estadística y Censos., 2015.

[8] Minerva Campos et al., “Estrategias de Adaptación Al Cambio Climático En Dos Comunidades Rurales de México y El Salvador,” Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change in Two Rural Communities in Mexico and El Salvador, no. 61 (2013): 329–49, http://www.boletinage.com/61/16-CAMPOS.pdf.

[9] For example, accumulated rainfall in the southeast area of the country was less than 10 mm, representing a 95% deficit from average rainfall

[10] Almanaque 262. State of human development in the municipalities of El Salvador, 2009.

[11] Defined as the non-linear land use change process associated with societal and biophysical system changes.

[12] The analysis was conducted using Google Earth Engine, allowing the production of wall-to-wall spatially explicit information at multiple spatial scales. The analysis included Climate models generated by both long-term climate predictions and historical interpolations of surface variables, including historical reanalysis data from NCEP/NCAR, gridded meteorological datasets such as the NLDAS-2, and GridMET, and climate model outputs like the University of Idaho MACAv2-METDATA and the NASA Earth Exchange’s Downscaled Climate Projections. The prioritization also included the analysis of spatially-explicit land surface variables over time, such as: Evapotranspiration/Latent Heat Flux product (8-day composite product produced at 500 meter pixel resolution), providing information on the hydrologic cycle, which has direct and significant influence on agriculture cycles in the region, as well as the amount of solar radiation, atmospheric vapor pressure, temperature, wind, and soil moisture available. The prioritization also included analysis of salinity anomalies using the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model, Water Temperature and Salinity (HYCOM) (Revealing that salinity has not been decreasing as result of local meteorological processes over the past several years). The analysis also included Long-Term drough Severity estimations using the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), which has been effective in effective in determining long-term drought in the intervention area. The PDSI data and analysis considers surface air temperature and a physical water balance models, taking into account the observed effects of increasingly warm temperatures, and high evapotranspiration, leading to systemic imbalances affecting local hydrological cycles (refer back to Figure 13).

[13] This dataset and analysis considers runoff as the excess of liquid water supply (precipitation) used by monthly Evapotranspiration and soil moisture recharge and is derived using a one-dimensional soil water balance model and it correlates well to measured streamflow from a number of watersheds globally.

 

Location: 
Project Status: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Component 1. Ecosystem-based adaptation for enhanced resilience at a territorial level

Component 2. Alternative and adapted livelihoods identified and made viable for resilient livelihoods

Component 3. Regional Climate and Hydrological Monitoring for Enhanced Adaptation Planning

Component 4. Strengthening of inter-institutional coordination and local governance for landscape management in the face of climate variability and change

 

 

 

Project Dates: 
2021 to 2024
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
June 2021
Description: 
Project Launch
Proj_PIMS_id: 
6238
SDGs: 
SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 15 - Life On Land

Advancing Climate Resilience of Water Sector in Bhutan (ACREWAS)

Bhutan is highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. This landlocked least developed country has a fragile mountainous environment and is highly dependent on agriculture. Hydropower plays a significant role in the country’s economic development, placing increased challenges for the management and use of water. The country also faces increasing threats from climate hazards and extremes events such as flash floods, glacial lake outburst floods, windstorms, forest fires, landslides, and the drying-up of streams and rivulets.

As a result of climate change, summer months are predicted to become wetter and warmer while winter months are expected to be drier. These result in the abundant availability of water in warmer months but decreased accessibility during winter months. Despite being endowed with the highest per capita water availabilities, Bhutan suffers from chronic water shortages, and access to water is a key determinant of people’s vulnerability. Given the mountainous terrain, climate-induced hazards like flashfloods and dry spells during winter, are likely to deteriorate the quality and quantity of water required to meet hygiene and sanitation needs. Inability to meet the demand is likely to further accentuate the impacts of climate change on the local communities.  The COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the need for access to adequate and clean water for health as well as food and nutrition security.

In the face of water scarcity there are opportunities to enable adequate, clean, and assured water supply to the population and increase climate resilience for rural and urban communities. The Royal Government of Bhutan has prepared a water flagship programme to provide assured drinking and irrigation water for the country in the face of climate change.

The proposed “Advancing Climate Resilience of Water Sector in Bhutan (ACREWAS)” project will form a core part of the national plan to provide integrated water supply for four Dzongkhags (districts) in Bhutan that comprise the major parts of the upper catchments of the Punatsangchhu River Basin management unit. The project interventions will increase the climate resilience of rural and urban communities. Considering the spatial interlinkages and dependencies between land use, ecosystem health, and underlying causes of vulnerability to climate change, this approach will ensure that targeted catchment watersheds are managed to protect and restore their capacity to provide sustainable ecosystem services and bring about efficiency, effectiveness and climate resilience within the drinking and irrigation water infrastructure network. The project will support critical catchment protection by adopting climate-resilient watershed management principles. Such practices are anticipated to reduce threats from climate-induced hazards such as floods, landslides and dry spells, while at the same time improving the overall adaptive capacity of project beneficiaries. Additionally, these measures will also ensure that downstream climate-resilient infrastructure development works are managed in tandem with upstream initiatives.

English
Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (90.560302667852 27.451739763379)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
34,029 direct beneficiaries, 38,660 ha of land managed for climate resilience
Financing Amount: 
US$8.9 million

Climate Resilient Irrigation Channels

In water-rich Bhutan, some communtiies are suffering chronic water shortages, with severe impacts on agricultural livelihoods. With a government-led project supported by UNDP and the Global Environment Facility, farmers now have ample water to irrigate their fields, and are seeing crop yields increase as a result. The new system - based on pressurized piped irrigation channels - is more efficient and easy to maintain, producing uninterrupted flow, and zero loss of water. 

Co-Financing Total: 
US$25.1 million
Project Details: 

Country profile

Bhutan is a small, landlocked country with an area of 38,394 km2 in the Eastern Himalayas located between China in the north and India in the south, east, and west. The dominant topographic features consist of the high Himalayas in the north with snowcapped peaks and alpine pastures; deep north-south valleys and hills created by fast-flowing rivers forming watersheds with temperate forests in the mid-range; and foothills alluvial plains with broad river valleys and sub-tropical forests in the southern part. With about 50% of the geographical area under slopes greater than 50% and about 52.45% of the land area lying above 2600 meters above mean sea level (RNR Statistics, 2019), Bhutan’s topography is almost entirely mountainous and rugged. The mountainous landscape also makes the delivery of infrastructure and services difficult and expensive. Due to its fragile mountainous ecosystem, the country is highly vulnerable to impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. The situation is further worsened by the country’s low adaptative capacity, poor economic status constrained by limited financial, technical, and human capacity.

It is one of the least populated countries in mainland Asia with a total population of 727,145 with a growth rate of 1.3% out of which 47.7% and 56.71% of the population under the age of 29 (PHCB, 2017). About70.77 % of the total land area is under forest cover and 51.44% of the total area is designated as protected areas comprising of national parks, four wildlife sanctuaries, a strict nature reserve, biological Corridors, and a botanical park (FRMD 2017). The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan (2008) mandates 60% of the country to remain under forest cover for all times to come. Some of the rarest flora and fauna on earth flourish within its high forest cover and pristine environment supported by strong conservation efforts and a good network of Protected Areas. The country’s biodiversity includes 15 vulnerable, 20 endangered, and 13 critically endangered seed plants; 13 vulnerable, 11 endangered, and two critically endangered mammal species; 22 vulnerable, four endangered, and four critically endangered bird species; eight vulnerable and three endangered fish species; 11 vulnerable, five endangered and two critically endangered amphibians, and one vulnerable butterfly (MoAF, 2018).

Agriculture is a very important economic activity for Bhutan. The agriculture sector comprises of farming, livestock, and forestry which continues to be a major player in the country’s economy. With only 2.75% of the total land area used for agriculture, the sector accounted for 15.89% of GDP in 2018 and employs about 48.63% of the total economically active population. With the majority of the population relying on agriculture, the sector is highly vulnerable to climate change. Also, characterized by remoteness and inaccessibility, marketing and large-scale commercialization are significant challenges for Bhutan. About 56% of the economically active population engaged in agriculture are female rendering women more vulnerable to impacts of water shortages in agriculture (RNR Statistics, 2019). Hydropower and tourism are the other key economic drivers.

The proposed project will intervene in four Dzongkhags (districts) that form a major part of Punatsangchhu river basin, one of the five main river basin management units in Bhutan as well as the largest in terms of geographical area and among the most climate-vulnerable watersheds in the country. The project area covering 883,080 Hectares comprising 23  percent of the total land cover of Bhutan, and 22 percent of all water bodies in the country. The project area covers 16,693 hectares or 16 percent of cultivated area in Bhutan (Agriculture Statistics, 2019). The majority of the population within the project Dzongkhags are engaged in agriculture. Overall, the agriculture sector has engaged 47 percent of the total employed population in the project area comprising 67.71 percent of the female population and 34.34 percent of the male population. Other major sectors of employment include construction which engages 13 percent of the population and electricity/gas/water which engages 10.72 percent of the population. These two sectors employ only 2.5 percent of the female population and 19.4 percent and 15.7 percent of the male population respectively. Agriculture, the main sector of employment in the project area is dominated by women. The project areas have a total population of 97,254 comprising 45.5 percent females. The population of the project area constitutes 13.4 percent of the national population (PHCB, 2017). The Dzongkhags in the project areas include Gasa, Punakha, Wangduephodrang and Tsirang.

Gasa Dzongkhag is spread from elevations between 1,500 and 4,500 meters above sea level. The Dzongkhag experiences extremely long and hard winters and short summers. The Dzongkhag has four Gewogs namely Goenkhatoe, Goenkhamae, Laya and Lunana. The people of Laya and Lunana are mostly nomads. Over a hundred glacial lakes in the Dzongkhag feed some of the major river systems in the country, including the Phochhu and the Mochhu rivers which join further downstream to form the Punatsangchhu river basin. The whole Dzongkhag falls under the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park. Dzongkhag is popular for its hot springs and series of other springs which are considered for their medicinal properties (Menchus). The region’s high altitude and extreme climate make it difficult to practice agriculture but livestock is a mainstay, particularly the rearing of yaks.

Punakha Dzongkhag is located south of Gasa and is bordered with Wangduephodrang to the east and south and is part of the Punatsangchhu river basin. The Dzongkhag has eleven gewogs, namely Baarp, Chhubu, Dzomi, Goenshari, Guma, Kabjisa, Lingmukha, Shengana, Talo, Toepisa and Toedwang ranging from 1100 - 2500 m above sea level. Punakha is well known for rice, vegetables and fruits.

Wangdue Phodrang is one of the largest dzongkhags in Bhutan and has fifteen Gewogs which are Athang, Bjena, Daga, Dangchu, Gangtey, Gasetshogom, Gasetshowom, Kazhi, Nahi, Nysho, Phangyuel, Phobjkha, Ruebisa, Sephu, and Thedsho. The Dzongkhag ranges from 800 - 5800 m above sea level and has varied climatic conditions ranging from subtropical forests in the south to cool and snowy regions in the north. The Dzongkhag forms parts of Wangchuck Centennial Park in the north, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park in northwestern pockets, and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in the southeastern end. One of the most notable sites in the district is Phobjikha Valley which is the habitat of the rare and endangered black-necked cranes during winters. The Gewogs of Phangyuel & Ruebisa are included as part of the project area.

Tsirang is noted for its gentle slopes and mild climates suitable  and well-known for agriculture as well as livestock products. It is one of the few dzongkhags without a protected area. The Dzongkhag has twelve gewogs which are Barshong, Dunglagang, Gosarling, Kikhorthang, Mendrelgang, Patshaling, Phuentenchu, Rangthaling, Semjong, Sergithang, Tsholingkhar and Tsirangtoe.

The problem

As a result of climate change, summer months are predicted to become wetter and warmer while winter months are expected to be drier (See para 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17). These result in abundant availability of water in warmer months but decreased accessibility due to flooding and erosions exacerbated by the hostile terrain (See para 18, 19, and 21) and scarce availability and accessibility of water in winter months due to drying of water sources (See para 18). Therefore, despite being endowed with the highest per capita water availabilities, Bhutan suffers from chronic water shortages as follows. Water is a key determinant of people’s vulnerability. Given the terrain climate-induced hazards like flashfloods, dry spells during winter, are likely to deteriorate the quality and quantity of water required to meet hygiene and sanitation needs. Inability to meet the demand is likely to further accentuate the impacts of climate change on the local communities.  The COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the need for access to adequate and clean water for health as well as food and nutrition security. Frequent handwashing is widely recommended by WHO to stop the spread of COVID-19. Reliable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities are essential to containing the spread of the virus.  The stocktaking for National Adaptation Plan (NAP) formulation process in Bhutan carried out in 2020 clearly recommends instituting indicators, among others, such as number of people permanently displaced from homes as a result of  floods, dry spell or other climate events, number of surface water areas/ springs subject to declining water quality/quantity due to extreme temperatures. In an agrarian and predominantly rural nature of the Bhutanese communities, inadequate access to water can further accentuate the vulnerability  to climate change. Climate-smart and resilient agriculture is particularly  dependent on adequate water. The project, by instituting and ensuring climate-resilient practices in the whole supply chain of water (sourcing, supply, maintenance, governance, and ownership), will address the current problems caused as results of climate change.

Drinking water shortages and Degrading water quality: A 2014 inventory of rural households carried out by the health ministry found that 17% of rural households (13,732) across the country faced drinking water problems and 18% of regular households (29,340) in Bhutan reported that the source of drinking water is unreliable[1]. According to the National Environment Commission’s 2018 Water Security Index, more than 77.5% of households in the urban areas of Thimphu have resorted to portable water supply as the taps are running dry. Most of the urban areas have access to only intermittent water supply. The duration of supply generally ranges from 4 to 12 hours daily. More than 46% of the urban population have 8 to 12 hours and 11% have less than 8 hours of water supply. According to the National Water Flagship Program, 58 rural communities comprising 751 households in the country have no water source, and 49 villages comprising 1,051 households have inadequate water source. These households depend on water harvested during rainy days. Dried up sources have also been reported in 29 communities, comprising 527 households where the Rural Water Supply Schemes have been implemented. Drying up of water sources is attributed to the extended period of the drier winter season with high evaporative demand. The Water Act of Bhutan, 2011 and as well as the Bhutan Water Policy, 2003 consider water for drinking and sanitation for human survival as the first order of priority in water allocation.

Water contamination is considered to occur at water sources due to seepage from agriculture and household effluents as well as due to lack of standard water treatment and quality assurance leading to poor water quality levels across the country, particularly in urban areas. As agriculture expands upstream, farm runoff could become a consideration for water quality downstream.

About 50% of the geographical area of Bhutan is under slopes greater than 50% (RNR Statistics, 2019). The predominant mountainous and rugged topographic features render the country highly vulnerable to climate change-induced disasters, mainly in the form of landslides, erosions, and siltation which also seriously impact on water availability and quality. Climate change, through erratic rainfall and flooding in steep slopes, exacerbates water quality as running streams and rivulets tend to become muddy affecting drinking water quality. A rapid assessment of rural drinking water quality in 2012 indicates that 17% of the stream water sources and 28% of the spring water sources are safe for consumption (RCDC, 2012). The test is conducted through the assessment of microbiological parameters. Domestic sewage and improper disposal of waste oil and other vehicle effluents from workshops located close to rivers are also a serious environmental concern, especially in places like Thimphu and Phuentsholing. While the use of pesticides and herbicides is also a potential source of water pollution, RGOB has a dedicated program on organic agriculture which is expected to address this in the long run while also improving agro-ecosystems. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the need for access to adequate and clean water for health as well as food and nutrition security. Frequent handwash is widely recommended by WHO to stop the spread of COVID-19. Reliable WASH facilities are essential to containing the spread of the virus.

Irrigation water shortages: Of the 900 schemes surveyed at the national level, only 372 schemes have an abundance of water, 272 schemes got adequate irrigation water. About 27% of the total schemes suffer from either “inadequate” or “acute shortage” of irrigation water[2]. Assessment has shown that water shortages for agriculture, and hence even for drinking, is likely to become critical, as historical data clearly demonstrate that the evaporative demand of the atmosphere has been significantly increasing, decreasing the amount of rainfall available for growing crops during both in the months of December to February (DJF) and March to April (MAM). The assessment also shows that it will likely no longer be feasible to plant rice, a staple crop, without supplemental irrigation during DJF. The findings reinforce and validate the reported water shortages noted by farmers during the dry season. These climatic changes during the dry season are expected to continue and are consistent with climate change projections, reinforcing that it will become increasingly difficult for farmers to grow crops without suitable adaptation measures.

According to RNR Statistics (2019), of the 976 irrigation schemes across the nation, 88% are functional, 2% are semi-functional and 10% are non-functional. This is largely attributed to damage to the infrastructure due to landslides and flooding due to extreme weather events. A study in Punakha, Wangdue, Tzirang, Paro, Sarpang, and Samtse carried out from March-May in 2019 indicated that the most important consequence of climate change impacts on crop production was the drying of irrigation water sources[3]. The farming communities reported on experiencing significant frequency and severity of extreme weather events in the form of untimely rain and drought. The farmers in the study districts felt that the irrigation sources were affected the most as a consequence of climate change impacts. The study also documents data over last over the last 20 years (1996–2017) in the study area which shows a decreasing rainfall and an increase in temperature.

The COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic has affected Bhutan like any other country. The science-based response measures and early recognition of its impact have managed to contain without major health impact on the Bhutanese. However, the economic repercussion continues to be severe. For a country, that relies heavily on the importation of essential goods such as food items and fuels, prices have risen by manifolds. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously constrained food imports. (Imported food accounts for 16.0 percent of total imported value amounting to Nu. 66.92 billion in the year 2017[4]). It disrupted  supply chains due to higher transport costs caused by the reduced volume of imports and establishment of additional safety protocols through supply chains. COVID-19 has also triggered reverse urban-rural migration, where urban dwellers have started to move to rural homesteads to pursue agriculture resulting in further pressure on irrigation water needs in rural agriculture areas. The pandemic reinforces the need for access to adequate and clean water for health as well as food and nutrition security. Frequent handwash is widely recommended by WHO to stop the spread of COVID-19. Reliable, WASH facilities are essential to containing the spread of the virus. Further, the challenge posed by the pandemic has underscored the need to build a resilient domestic and local agriculture system with a shorter supply chain, efficient water management and irrigation system, etc to adapt to the impending crisis of climate change.

The proposed alternative

In the face of water scarcity there are opportunities to enable adequate, clean, and assured water supply to the population and increase climate resilience of rural and urban communities. The RGOB has prepared a water flagship program to provide assured drinking and irrigation water for the country in the face of changing climate. This proposed intervention will form a core part of the national plan to provide integrated water supply for four Dzongkhags. The project interventions will enable adequate, clean, and assured water supply to the population of four Dzongkhags of Gasa, Punakha, Wangduephodrang (two gewogs of Phangyuel and Rupisa), and Tsirang. These four Dzongkhags from major parts of the upper catchments of Punatsangchhu river basin management unit. The project interventions will increase the climate resilience of rural and urban communities in these Dzongkhags. Considering the spatial interlinkages and dependencies between land use, ecosystem health, and underlying causes of vulnerability to climate change, this approach will ensure that targeted catchment watersheds are managed to protect and restore their capacity to provide sustainable ecosystem services and bring about efficiency and effectiveness and climate resilience of infrastructure network for drinking and irrigation water supplies. The Project will support critical catchment protection by adopting climate-resilient watershed management principles. Such practices are anticipated to reduce threats from climate-induced hazards such as floods, landslides, and dry spells and overall improvement of the adaptive capacity of the project beneficiaries. Additionally, these measures will also mean the downstream climate-resilient infrastructure development works are in tandem with upstream catchment protection.


[1] Population and Housing Census of Bhutan (PHCB), 2017

[2] Report on the National Irrigation Database and Canal Alignment Mapping, 2013,  DoA, MoAF.

[3] Ngawang Chhogyel,  Lalit Kumar and Yadunath Bajgai; Consequences of Climate Change Impacts and Incidences of Extreme Weather Events in Relation to Crop Production in Bhutan, Sustainability, 25 May 2020 (

[4] Imported food control in Bhutan, National Situational Report, FAO, 2019


 

 

Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Outcome 1: Strengthened water governance, institutions, and financing mechanism in support of climate-resilient water management.

In order to address the issues related to institutional and governance structure on water resource management, services and its associated barriers, the project will aim to strengthen climate resilient water governance and coordination systems including the establishment of an agency for water utilities and one that will pursue integrated water sector development, management and provision of water related utility services. Based on an Institutional and analysis including feasibility assessment of the proposed national agency during PPG phase, the establishment of such an agency will be proposed with clear mandates, organizational structure and clarified linkages with the NECS, competent authorities and local governments.

Further, the component will also support institutional arrangements to enable establishment of River Basin Management Committees (RBMCs), Dzongkhag Water Management Committees (DWMCs) and Water User Associations (WUAs).

Through this, the project will support clarifying on policies, regulations & planning processes as well as on financing of operations of RBMCs and DWMCs as it relates to water sector planning, development and management, promoting community participation, monitoring and reporting and resolving cross-sectoral issues to fully embed climate risk considerations. The project support will include review of the Water Act of 2011 to incorporate the changes in the mandate and institutional setup within the water sector that will enable climate risk management policies and functions across mandated institutions. It will support integration of Key Results Areas (KRAs) for water security and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on national Integrated Water Resources Management Plan (IWRMP) in the national and local planning guidelines with appropriate responsibility and accountability frameworks so that NIWRMP and RBMPs can be mainstreamed into sectoral and local development plans. Through this, the project will support enabling appropriate institutions and clarify on policies, regulations & planning processes as well as on financing of operations of RBMCs and DWMCs as it relates to water sector development and management, promoting community participation, monitoring and reporting and resolving cross-sectoral and cross- administrative boundary issues.

The lack of capacity for climate-smart operation and maintenance of water supply systems, water conservation/efficiency technologies, and adoption of IWRM approaches have been bottlenecks in building resilience in the water sector. To overcome the barriers related to limited capacity on climate-resilient water/watershed management this component will support effective capacity for climate-resilient water and watershed management as well as for taking forward the concept of IWRM at various levels including institutional & community level capacity.

The project will also test and demonstrate financing instruments or models engaging private sector through PPP and PES to embed sustainability dimensions in watershed and water infrastructure management. To promote water conservation as an adaptation mechanism and reduce overconsumption and water, a water pricing policy will be supported.

The main deliverables under this outcome will include:

Support to the Government’s priority to establish an autonomous national government agency for water to provide access to adequate, safe, affordable and sustainable water for drinking, sanitation, waste water and irrigation services considering climate change impacts on hydrological systems. The agency will operate and function on a corporate mode and will sustain its operations on service fee/tariff on water utilities and services in the long term on Government budgetary support in the short term. The project support in this will include the design of the organizational setup and capacity building to ensure that the new agency has  organizational profile and human resources competency to consider climate change impacts on hydrological systems. Clear mandates, organizational structure and clarified linkages with the NECS, competent authorities and local governments for planning, development, coordination and management of water utilities and services. The water agency will be a corporate entity owned by the government, sustaining on government grant initially and on service fee/tariff on water utilities and services in the longer term. The Government contribution in this will include establishment of the agency and provide operational mandate, resources, and legitimacy.

Entities that represent the stakeholders to be engaged actively in the development of watershed management plans through RBCs, DWMCs and WUAs.

Adequate and gender-balanced human capacity and skills available for climate-resilient water resources and water management at central, local, community levels including the private sector.

A revised water act, water policy and regulations supported and policy environment for sustainable and climate-resilient water management

While climate change clearly impacts the supply-side affecting availability of water resources. Human demands for water also interact with climate change to exacerbate the pressures on the water supply. In order to rationalize water use and reduce the demand-side pressures on water, the project will promote water thrifting as an adaptation mechanism through a water pricing policy. The policy will consider better access to water, improved quality of water, reduce over consumption and reflect the actual cost of production including ecological costs. It will also consider appropriate pricing for rural households and lower-income households in urban areas.

Conducive environment for corporate and private sector engagement, enterprise development, and public-private partnerships demonstrated. Private sector participation in drinking water and irrigation management initiated in at least 4 water infrastructure operations and maintenance. Green Bhutan Corporation Limited (GBCL) engaged in plantation and agroforestry activities with support from the project establishing a modality for  GBCL to collaborate with the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC). Post project, the DGPC will support plantation activities of GBCL for watershed restorations.

Beneficiaries/users of ecosystem services pay to the provider of services contributing to sustainable watershed management and sustenance of ecosystem services. The project results will include establishment of PES schemes contributing to sustainable watershed management in water catchment areas.

Outcome 2: Vulnerable natural water catchments in the target river basin (Punatsangchu River Basin) restored, sustainably managed, protected and their ecosystem conditions improved.

This outcome will support participatory assessment, identification & declaration of critical water sheds/catchment areas/spring recharge areas. The project will support soil & water conservation interventions, bio-corridors/setbacks and wetlands/spring augmentation activities for water catchment /spring recharge areas including soil/moisture retaining agro-practices and climate-resilient crops in settlements near catchments. These interventions will aim to restore and improve ecosystem conditions of vulnerable natural water catchments.

Further, implementation of afforestation, reforestation and agroforestry interventions will improve forest and/or ground cover and enhance water infiltration in catchments. Overall, this component will address the problem related to drying up upstream water sources and reduced/erratic downstream water availability by improving the catchment watershed conditions and enabling sustainable and resilient watersheds yielding stable spring/stream flows.

 The main deliverables under this outcome will include:

Improved water security as and biodiversity/ecosystems safeguards with additional co-benefits in carbon sequestration and storage, improved soil fertility, biodiversity conservation, and improved community livelihoods. Catchment watersheds restored with vegetation to enhance infiltration, reduce run-off and peak flows, and stabilize slopes, soil fertility improved over 37,530 hectares of forest land/watersheds

Improved ecosystem conditions of 42 watershed areas as well as 147 spring sources to improve water availability and quality at source.

Local sites for nature-based solutions identified and at least 12 start-up enterprises on based solutions promoted to incentivize and enhance watershed conservation such as fodder development, catch and release fishing, water sports, tourism, hot stone bath, etc. These enterprises can operate as per the framework developed through the GEF ecotourism project and provide concessions for these nature-based enterprises (private sector) to participate in watershed management activities.

Outcome 3: Enhanced adaptive capacity of water infrastructure to climate-induced water shortages and quality deterioration through climate-proofing, private sector engagement, and technology deployment.

This outcome will address barriers related to inefficient and inadequate surface water storage and distribution, breakage and leakage of water pipelines and tank overflows, illegal tapping of waterlines and breakdown of pumps and blackout of electricity during summer, lack of standard water treatment and quality assurance in drinking water supply systems and water contamination are major issues leading to irrigation and drinking water shortages as well as poor water quality. The component will focus on establishment and demonstration of adequate climate-smart and efficient water infrastructure. The water tapping, storage, and distribution system under this component will integrate multi-purpose water storage and distribution to the extent possible. In order to improve monitoring of infrastructure failures for both volume and quality of water supplies, the project will support on boarding of new/improved technologies to be deployed so that vulnerability of the infrastructure to failures due to climate-induced hazards or through man-made disturbances on the system are detected and solutions provided in a timely manner. The project support under this component will include supporting startups to install and manage efficient technologies in the operation and management of the infrastructure. The collaboration with the DRIVE center of the InnoTech Department of the Druk Holding & Investments Ltd (DHI[1]) will be leveraged to promote private start-up enterprises with IT-based solutions for water management (See box below). Overall, the outcome through this output will enable efficient, adequate, and sustainable supply and distribution of water.

Flooding and erosion due to hostile terrain exacerbated by climate change in the form of landslides, erosions and siltation seriously impact on water availability and quality. For drinking water, the project will aim to improve water quality as affected by water pollution through flooding and siltation and enable meetin Bhutan Drinking Water Quality Standard, 2016 and WHO guidelines for drinking water quality.

 The main deliverables under this outcome will include:

Community resilience improved covering 2,567 households with access to adequate irrigation water and be able to bring about additional area of 559.9 Hectares of agriculture land under sustainable agriculture production.

Source of water supply would have extended beyond surface water to include ground water and rainwater enhancing resilience of water sources and human hygiene and sanitation improved covering 7,435 households with access to 24x7 drinking water of quality that meet Bhutan Drinking Water Quality Standard, 2016 and WHO guidelines for drinking water quality.

Outcome 4: Strengthened awareness and knowledge sharing mechanism established.

The limitations in public awareness on the impacts of climate change on water resources, communities and on overall on climate-resilient water/watershed management practices are a concern. To overcome the barriers related to limited awareness programs and lack of data on climate-resilient water/watershed management practices, the project support under this component will include documentation and sharing of knowledge and practices as well as effective capacity for climate-resilient water and watershed management. A Communication strategy developed and implemented on water conservation and sustainable management developed and implemented which will lead to publication of a State of the Basin Report (SOBR) for the Punatsangchu River Basin. This component will enable meeting the requirements of the National Environment Protection Act and the Water Act of Bhutan to regularly publish information on the environment, including periodic state of the environment reports and to provide access to water and watershed-related information. The publication of a State of the Basin report (SOBR) for the five river basins at the national level. The SOBR will include;

Overall situation of river basin in terms of its ecological health and the social and economic circumstances including water security index and impact of climate change on water sector in Bhutan

Highlight of key issues faced in establishment and functioning of  the agency for water utilities  at national level, River Basin Management Committees (RBMCs), Dzongkhag Water Management Committees (DWMCs) and Water User Associations (WUAs)

Establish gaps and needs for the development of relevant River Basin Management plans and its effective implementing.


[1] DHI is the commercial arm of the Royal Government of Bhutan established to hold and manage the existing and future investments of the Royal Government for the long-term benefit of the people of Bhutan. DHI, the largest and only government-owned holding company in Bhutan. Its InnoTech Department is responsible for strategizing technology and innovation pathways to enhance access and diffusion of the technologies across DHI. To address the national socio-economic challenges, the department is also undertaking applied and fundamental research and development in the field of science and technology to create ventures and start-ups, build national intellectual property and establish a platform for innovation, creativity and jobs for the next generation. The Department’s division called DHI Research and Innovation Venture Excellence Center (DRIVE), has  developed a prototype on IT based solution for water management. The PIF process has consulted with the management of the InnoTech Department based on which it has been agreed to test, validate and upscale the technology in the proposed project. Youth based enterprises can be engaged to on-board of this technology into the project area so that these youth-based enterprises can be engaged as private entities to handle the monitoring and providing advisory on maintenance of the infrastructure.


 

 

Contacts: 
UNDP
Jose Padilla
Regional Technical Advisor
UNDP Bhutan
Mr. Chimi Rinzin
Portfolio Manager
UNDP Bhutan
Mrs. Sonam Rabgye
Programme Analyst
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Location: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Outcome 1: Strengthened water governance, institutions, and financing mechanism in support of climate-resilient water management.

Outcome 2: Vulnerable natural water catchments in the target river basin (Punatsangchu River Basin) restored, sustainably managed, protected and their ecosystem conditions improved.

Outcome 3: Enhanced adaptive capacity of water infrastructure to climate-induced water shortages and quality deterioration through climate-proofing, private sector engagement, and technology deployment.

Outcome 4: Strengthened awareness and knowledge sharing mechanism established.

Project Dates: 
2021 to 2026
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
June 2021
Description: 
Project Approval
SDGs: 
SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
SDG 13 - Climate Action

Transformational Adaptation for Climate Resilience in Lake Chilwa Basin of Malawi (TRANSFORM)

Across Malawi, local communities are increasingly affected by climate change and variability. In recent decades, a range of climatic changes have been observed across the country, including a reduction in average annual precipitation, an increase in average annual temperatures of 0.9°C since 1960, delays in the onset of the rainfall season, a decrease in the length of the rainfall season, and a longer dry season. While the direct impacts of extreme climate events are well documented, other negative effects are more challenging to quantify. These additional impacts include an observed increase in outbreaks of pests and diseases since the 1970s, increasing levels of malnutrition, and warmer temperatures making it increasingly difficult for farmers to work outside during the day, thereby reducing their ability to produce food.

These climate change impacts are particularly severe in the Lake Chilwa Basin and its catchment districts of Zomba, Phalombe and Machinga. Listed as a Ramsar site in 1997, Lake Chilwa and its surrounding wetlands provide habitats for a wide diversity of bird, fish and other fauna and flora, and is accordingly an area of considerable conservation value. Lake Chilwa is also the second largest lake in Malawi and a source of livelihoods for approximately 1.5 million people who depend on the lake and its catchments for fish and other resources such as grass, reeds and non-timber forest products.

Vulnerability to climate change impacts in Malawi and particularly in the Lake Chilwa basin is driven by chronic poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, overdependence on natural resources, high exposure to climate hazards and risks, ineffective early warning and disaster risk reduction systems, inadequate climate shock preparedness, weak adaptive capacity of households to withstand recurrent shocks and stresses, limited economic opportunities, and inadequate provisioning of, and access to, social services.

The proposed 60-month “Transformational Adaptation for Climate Resilience in Lake Chilwa Basin of Malawi (TRANSFORM)” project will build on existing initiatives aimed at the sustainable and
equitable use of natural resources within the Lake Chilwa basin. This will be achieved with a shift away from natural resource degradation and limited livelihood opportunities towards large-scale implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation and widespread adoption of alternative livelihoods and value chains that build adaptive capacity while contributing to reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The lessons learned from the Lake Chilwa Basin will be upscaled across the country through policy and private sector models that create green jobs particularly among small-, medium- and micro-enterprises — thereby contributing to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The main interventions of the project include: i) enhancing the capacity of communities and institutions to plan, implement and monitor ecosystem-based adaptation interventions; ii) improving small-scale producers’ access to lucrative markets for climate-resilient products and value chains through diversification of product/service offerings and alternative livelihoods, as well as through a sustainable climate finance facility; and iii) facilitating the adoption of alternative livelihoods. These interventions will see more robust and coordinated relationships between the private sector and small-scale producers, facilitated by concessional financing, improved infrastructure and technologies. This could include, inter alia, roads and transportation infrastructure, telecommunication infrastructure, and equipment such as cold storage facilities to reduce post-harvest losses of harvested commodities.

The Global Environment Facility Least Developed Countries Fund-financed project will be implemented by Malawi’s Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources with support from UNDP. UNDP is providing US$2,000,000 in co-financing. 

English
Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (35.512023861135 -15.315446057148)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
40,000 direct beneficiaries, 1.5 million indirect beneficiaries
Financing Amount: 
US$4.4 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$21.4 million
Project Details: 

Country overview

In Malawi, local communities are increasingly affected by climate change and variability. In recent decades, a range of climatic changes have been observed across the country, including: i) a reduction in average annual precipitation; ii) an increase in average annual temperatures of 0.9°C since 1960; iii) delays in the onset of the rainfall season; and iv) a decrease in the length of the rainfall season, and a longer dry season. These increasingly erratic climate conditions are experienced by local communities across the country who have reported that rainfall has become increasingly unpredictable, and that the rainy season has become delayed, inconsistent and short[1]. The 2011–2012 rainy season, for example, was expected to start in October/November of 2011, but instead only started in December and ended in February 2012 (short of the expected end in April). Moreover, the rainfall of this season was erratic and interrupted by frequent dry spells, which had a notable impact of natural resource-based livelihoods, shortening the growing season and reducing crop productivity [2]. Across Malawi, shifts in rainfall contribute to an increased frequency and intensity of climatic hazards such as droughts and floods. Indeed, there has already been an observed increase in drought occurrences since the 1980s[3], severely impacting a large proportion of the country’s population. In a 2011 survey, 98% of farmers reported being affected by drought, and in 2016–17, approximately 6.5 million people (~40% of the country’s total population) were directly affected by the adverse impacts of drought — particularly through a decline in food security[4]. In addition to droughts, several significant floods have also occurred across the country in recent years, with considerable impacts on the livelihoods of vulnerable communities. For example, flooding events in January 2012 and January 2013 washed away large volumes of soil and deposited debris on agricultural fields. These events also resulted in the loss of life, and damages to public and private property, as well as crops (totalling ~US$73 million in damages). This led to knock-on effects for food security, and public health (due to an increased incidence of vector-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and malaria)[5].

In recent decades, the impacts of climate change have been intensified by the El Niño Southern Oscillation Cycle (ENSO). For example, in 2015, the most severe El Niño event in 35 years occurred, contributing to multiple droughts, as well as the country’s most damaging flood in 50 years. The recovery and reconstruction requirements of economic sectors affected by the 2015 floods totalled ~US$335 million (equivalent to ~5% of GDP at the time). Excluding housing, transport had the single largest financial need, at 32% of total recovery costs, followed by agriculture (16%), and water and sanitation (13%). The 2015 floods affected ~1.1 million people, displaced ~230,000 people and resulted in 106 deaths. Compounding the disaster, the onset of rains in 2015 was delayed by more than a month, which shortened the growing season and further impeded crop production and recovery in the years following the floods. This had a severely negative effect on the economy of Malawi because of its strong reliance on agriculture for economic growth and subsistence. Climate change is also increasing the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones, which are intensifying such flooding. The most recent event in Malawi — Tropical Cyclone Idai — occurred in 2019, affecting approximately one million people[6],[7]. The cyclone caused floods that affected multiple districts across the country, which led to damages and losses totalling ~US$220 million. As a result, the Government of Malawi (GoM) had to spend ~US$370 million for recovery, reconstruction and rebuilding of resilience to disasters.

While the direct impacts of extreme climate events are well documented, other negative effects of climatic change in Malawi are more challenging to quantify. These additional impacts include: i) an observed increase in outbreaks of pests and diseases since the 1970s[8]; ii) increasing levels of malnutrition[9],[10]; and iii) warmer temperatures making it increasingly difficult for farmers to work outside during the day, thereby reducing their ability to produce food.

Given the adverse impacts of climate change on natural resources, the sustainable development of Malawi — and therefore the wellbeing of its population — is increasingly being compromised. This is reflected by the country’s low ranking (172 out of 189 countries) on the Human Development Index (HDI)[11] and high annual ranking on the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI)[12]. Malawi’s vulnerability to climate change is caused by interconnected climatic and non-climatic phenomena. For example, environmental degradation is occurring in combination with demographic pressures such as high population growth, causing an overreliance by communities on the natural resource base, and consequently further degradation, a decline in their livelihood productivity, and therefore deepening poverty. The worsening socio-economic situation for many vulnerable Malawians is occurring despite the country’s strong economic growth in recent years — particularly in its agriculture, energy, forestry, mining, industrial and services sectors. Many Malawians have not benefited from this economic growth because their livelihoods are primarily dependent on natural resources, which are being negatively impacted by the combination of environmental degradation and climate change.

Climate change and environmental degradation in the Lake Chilwa basin

Although climate change impacts are occurring across Malawi, they are particularly severe in the Lake Chilwa basin and its catchment districts of Zomba, Phalombe and Machinga — the target areas of the proposed project. Listed as a Ramsar site in 1997[13], Lake Chilwa and its surrounding wetlands provide habitats for a wide diversity of bird, fish and other fauna and flora, and is accordingly an area of considerable conservation value. Lake Chilwa is also the second largest lake in Malawi and a source of livelihoods for ~1.5 million people who depend on the lake and its catchments for inter alia fish and other resources such as grass, reeds and non-timber forest products (NTFPs)[14]. The primary livelihood strategies in the area involve agriculture and fishing, both of which are natural resource-based and strongly dependent on the flow of ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling and regulation of the hydrological cycle. This dependence exacerbates Lake Chilwa communities’ vulnerability to the impacts of climatic change[15]. Indeed, there is growing evidence of the adverse impacts of climate change on the lake’s aquatic and surrounding terrestrial ecosystems, resulting in a considerable decline in biodiversity, with knock-on effects on the provision of ecosystem services underpinning communities’ livelihoods.

Along with erratic rainfall — and the subsequent drought and flood impacts on communities and agricultural production described above — the primary impact of climate change in the Lake Chilwa basin over the past decades has been the general decline of the water level within the lake[16]. When the lake’s levels decrease, fish stocks can take several years to recover, which disrupts fishing communities' livelihoods for extended periods[17]. A large proportion of women living in the basin are particularly vulnerable to drying of the lake, as fish processing — which is dependent on reasonably priced fish stocks — is their primary income-generating activity. A decline in fish stocks increases competition between fisherfolk and consumers for the remaining fish, driving up prices and reducing women’s income potential from fish processing. In response to the unpredictability of Lake Chilwa’s water levels and productivity, communities have developed diversified, mobile, and often unsustainable livelihoods — including charcoal production, which contribute to deforestation in catchment areas.

While Lake Chilwa has dried completely nine times in the last century (the last time in 2018), its capacity to recover from these events is decreasing[18]. Although refilling of Lake Chilwa can occur in as little as one year — such as in the 2014–2015 rainfall season — it normally takes approximately two to three years to refill[19]. However, this refilling of the lake is contingent upon the adequate infiltration of groundwater in its forested catchment areas, and the effective recovery of fish stocks depends on the management of remnant pools in the perennial rivers and streams that feed into the lake[20].

The above mentioned environmental degradation compromising Lake Chilwa’s water levels and fish stocks include: i) deforestation; ii) degradation of wetlands — particularly when the receding water level exposes land on the lake’s shores to crop and livestock production; iii) reduced flow of rivers; and iv) soil erosion which causes siltation of watercourses[21]. These phenomena have had a considerable impact on agriculture in the Lake Chilwa basin, with a general decline in productivity and production recorded in both the crop and livestock sectors in recent years. Agricultural decline — in conjunction with the lake's drying — is also contributing to a rapid decrease in the productivity of fisheries. This results from the growing inability of communities to produce adequate amounts of food from agriculture in areas surrounding the lake, which leads to the intensification of unsustainable land-use practices, and further degradation of the terrestrial environment. The consequent decline in crop yields causes an overdependence of local communities on fish from the lake and increases competition for other aquatic resources. For example, there has been an observed increase in the clearing of reeds in riparian and coastal areas of Lake Chilwa — which are critical fish spawning habitats[22] — further impacting the replenishment of fish stocks. Since the 1970s, catches in the lake have decreased considerably, from ~15,000 tonnes/yr to ~5,000 tonnes in 2014[23].

The slow recovery of fish stocks in recent years has also occurred in conjunction with an increase in the use of illegal fishing gear such as mosquito nets. The use of such indiscriminate equipment causes juvenile fish to be captured along with adults, thereby preventing juveniles from reaching maturity and therefore the size at which the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) would be obtained from the stock. While previous initiatives, such as the GEF-funded project entitled ‘Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management’ have included the establishment of community organisations — such as Beach Village Committees (BVCs) — to enforce regulation of natural resource use on the lake, these have had limited human resource and technical capacity to be effective.

Fish catches in Lake Chilwa comprise a large percentage of the total amount of fish caught within Malawi (~14% in 2003[24]). In addition, a large proportion of agricultural produce is sourced from the lake’s catchment areas. For example, 50% of the rice produced in Malawi is grown in the Lake Chilwa basin. As a result, the decreasing productivity of agriculture and fisheries in the area is causing a rapid decline in food security both in the districts surrounding Lake Chilwa, and across Malawi[25]. This subsequent food insecurity will be exacerbated by further reduced water levels in the lake under future climate change scenarios. Climate projections under both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 indicate further increases in average annual temperatures across the country, with mean annual surface air temperatures expected to rise by 1.1–3°C by 2060, and 1.5–5°C by 2090[26]. Additionally, despite an anticipated increase in total annual rainfall volume, the number of rainfall events is expected to decrease, but with considerable increases in the intensity of each episode and prolonged dry spells between episodes[27]. The frequency of droughts and floods is therefore expected to increase which will heighten the vulnerability of Malawi lake fisheries.

The water temperatures of lakes in Africa, including Lake Chilwa, are evidently also increasing. The full range of impacts of climate change on tropical lakes, however, are not well understood. Some research has indicated that the warming of the deep African rift lake, Lake Tanganyika, has reduced the cycling of nutrients from its depths as well as primary production in the water[28]. In the Lake Chilwa basin specifically, results obtained from the IPCC Fifth Annual Report General Circulation Models (GCMs) under RCP4.5 and 8.5 suggest that water temperatures will increase by an average of 2.6–4.7°C, with carbon dioxide levels in the lake expected to double by the year 2075[29]. These warming water temperatures combined with the abovementioned fluctuating water levels already present in lake Chilwa, will exacerbate threats to the lake’s productivity[30]. Under current climate change conditions, there is already a significant risk of ecosystem collapse in Lake Chilwa — particularly as a result of declining fish resources[31]. This not only exacerbates competition in fisheries as mentioned above, but also conflicts between traditional fisherfolk and newcomers to the area such as farmers who take up fishing. Climate change, therefore, will not only result in reduced fish stocks but also disrupt community relations, increasing the vulnerability of both subsistence farmers and fisherfolk[32].

Root causes

Vulnerability to climate change impacts in Malawi and particularly in the Lake Chilwa basin is driven by inter alia: i) chronic poverty; ii) food and nutrition insecurity; iii) overdependence on natural resources; iv) high exposure to climate hazards and risks; vi) ineffective early warning and disaster risk reduction systems; vii) inadequate climate shock preparedness and weak adaptive capacity of households to withstand recurrent shocks and stresses; viii) limited economic opportunities; and ix) inadequate provisioning of, and access to, social services. The combination of these factors makes the implementation of climate change policy frameworks in Malawi challenging. For example, limited production by the country’s energy supplier — Electricity Generation Company Malawi Limited (Egenco) — has resulted in an increased demand for alternative energy sources. Howeveer, as 86% of the country’s population are reliant on subsistence agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods they have limited financial capacity to source alternative, energy-efficient technologies for, inter alia, cooking and heating. To meet this demand, forest resources are used intensively for fuel wood and charcoal production, supplying both rural areas and urban centres. This, in turn, places pressure on forest and wetland ecosystems, leading to catchment degradation. At the national level, limited financial capital available for the GoM results in insufficient budgetary allocation for climate-adaptive technologies. This financial constraint is exacerbated by extreme climate events that result in severe damages and losses to infrastructure, exposing the GoM to cycles of debt and short-term, reactive spending. As a result, the GoM is severely constrained in terms of allocating funds for climate change adaptation at a local level. Local-level adaptation is further hindered by constrained technical and institutional capacity for the implementation of policies from central government to district councils.

Chronic poverty remains the most severe challenge to improving climate resilience in the Lake Chilwa basin, as it exacerbates several of the other drivers of vulnerability. Because food security and household income are strongly affected by natural resource use and availability, they are major determinants of poverty. Food insecurity is also compounded by poverty because of the need for poor households to engage in livelihood strategies that adversely impact the natural environment. For example, the degradation of terrestrial ecosystems in the Lake Chilwa basin is causing a decline in livelihood productivity as well as a reduction in food security in the region. The decline in livelihood productivity and the continuation of inefficient livelihood strategies are exacerbated by existing development challenges in the Lake Chilwa basin, including inadequate infrastructure and poor linkages to lucrative value chains.

Within the basin, investment in the development of infrastructure — such as rural feeder roads, agro-processing facilities, agricultural technologies, storage facilities and improved markets — is necessary. The challenges around infrastructure are further intensified by high population density (at ~321 people per km2) in areas surrounding the lake, which is among the highest in Malawi. This population density, coupled with rapid population growth and decreasing livelihood productivity in terrestrial landscapes, is causing overcrowding in fishing villages around the lake, placing greater pressure on the aquatic resources within the lake. Moreover, the growing population is increasing the need for products derived from wetland and riparian areas adjacent to the lake. For example, the harvesting of reeds and other plant materials by local communities has contributed to environmental degradation, resulting in siltation of the lake, biodiversity loss and a decrease in fish habitats and spawning sites. The degradation of terrestrial and aquatic resources in the lake basin, in combination with climate change impacts, is resulting in several other challenges for local communities. Examples include: i) an increase in the occurrence of livestock diseases as a result of the degradation of terrestrial ecosystems in conjunction with rising temperatures; and ii) a rising incidence of diseases such as cholera.

Long-term preferred solution

To date, investments in adaptation in Malawi, including in the Lake Chilwa basin, have been largely once-off and sector-specific. The project’s long-term preferred solution to reduce vulnerability to climate change is consequently a sustainable, cross-sectoral transformation of the overarching development trajectory of the Lake Chilwa basin. This should be achieved by a shift away from natural resource degradation and limited livelihood opportunities towards large-scale implementation of EbA and widespread adoption of alternative livelihoods and value chains that build adaptive capacity while contributing to reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. This solution will also see the lessons learned from the Lake Chilwa basin upscaled across the country through policy and private sector models that create green jobs particularly among small, medium and micro enterprises — thereby contributing to recovery from Covid-19 economic damages. The main interventions for achieving the preferred solution in the basin will include: i) enhancing the capacity of communities and institutions to plan, implement and monitor EbA interventions; ii) improving small-scale producers’ access to lucrative markets for climate-resilient products and value chains through diversification of product/service offerings and alternative livelihoods, as well as through a sustainable climate finance facility; and iii) facilitating the adoption of alternative livelihoods. These interventions will see more robust and coordinated relationships between the private sector and small-scale producers, facilitated by concessional financing, improved infrastructure and technologies. This could include, inter alia, roads and transportation infrastructure, telecommunication infrastructure, and equipment such as cold storage facilities to reduce post-harvest losses of harvested commodities. The legal formalisation of institutions and the roles of stakeholders in climate change adaptation and capacity-building processes will also emerge from these interventions.

To achieve the preferred solution, producers and enterprises in the Lake Chilwa basin need to be connected to local and regional markets through the development of climate-resilient technologies and infrastructure based on local knowledge and innovations, as well as improved information sharing around these innovations. For example, improving agro-processing as a value-adding activity for raw fish and agricultural produce would reduce post-harvest losses and enable higher quality products to be sold to lucrative markets through appropriate value chains, while also reducing GHG emissions. Creating effective knowledge-management information platforms targeting value-adding processes, in addition to highlighting the potential for private partnerships in these processes, would support their effective and sustainable uptake. Moreover, the preferred solution will strengthen the development pathway in the Lake Chilwa basin to focus on the most vulnerable communities — particularly women and other marginalised groups such as the youth. The abovementioned infrastructural interventions will be necessary to ensure producers in the basin are able to engage effectively with commercial entities and appropriate value chains. Specifically, small-scale producers in the region require adequate storage facilities, refrigeration equipment and processing machinery such as solar dryers. Additionally, information networks and partnerships are required to enhance collaboration between communities with potential for value chain enhancement and the commercial entities with which market linkages can be established.

A primary feature of the preferred solution would be that communities in the area are able to implement Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) interventions and better manage the natural resource base on which they depend. This would include reducing the overexploitation of natural resources and restoring ecological infrastructure within forests, riparian areas and wetlands. These interventions would ensure the continued delivery of ecosystem goods and services which would, together with diversified livelihoods and value-addition services, enable vulnerable communities to build their resilience to climate change. Aside from the post-harvest storage and processing interventions already mentioned, communities’ livelihoods will be advanced under the long-term preferred solution through alternative options such as mushroom cultivation, and beekeeping. Widespread adoption of these livelihoods would greatly improve the capacity of vulnerable communities to adapt to the current and projected impacts of climate change, in addition to recovering from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.




[1] Jørstad, H. and Webersik, C., 2016. Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: Experiences of women fish processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin.

[2] Ibid.

[3] UNFCCC. 2006. Malawi NAPA. Available at: https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/napa/mwi01.pdf

[4] Jeggle, T. and Boggero, M., 2018. Post-disaster needs assessment: Lessons from a decade of experience. World Bank.

[5] Ibid.

[6]Government of Malawi (2019) Malawi 2019 Floods Post Disaster Needs Assessment Report. Available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Malawi%202019%20Floods%20Post%20Disaster%20Needs%20Assessment%20Report.pdf

[7]Government of Malawi (2018) Natonal Resilience Strategy 2018–2030. Available at: https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1860/Malawi_National_Resilience_Strategy.pdf

[8] Jørstad, H. and Webersik, C., 2016. Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: Experiences of women fish processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin.

[10] Jørstad, H. and Webersik, C., 2016. Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: Experiences of women fish processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin.

[14] Njaya, F et al. (2011) ‘The natural history and fisheries ecology of Lake Chilwa, southern Malawi’. Journal of Great Lakes Research 37 (2011) pg. 15–25. DOI: 10.1016/j.jglr.2010.09.008. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/251590706_The_natural_history_and_fisheries_ecology_of_Lake_Chilwa_southern_Malawi

[15] Kafumbata, D., Jamu, D. and Chiotha, S., 2014. Riparian ecosystem resilience and livelihood strategies under test: lessons from Lake Chilwa in Malawi and other lakes in Africa. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences369(1639), p.20130052.

[16] Jørstad, H. and Webersik, C., 2016. Vulnerability to climate change and adaptation strategies of local communities in Malawi: Experiences of women fish processing groups in the Lake Chilwa Basin.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Kafumbata, D., Jamu, D. and Chiotha, S., 2014. Riparian ecosystem resilience and livelihood strategies under test: lessons from Lake Chilwa in Malawi and other lakes in Africa. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences369(1639), p.20130052.

[23] Kafumbata, D et al. (2014) ‘Riparian ecosystem resilience and livelihood strategies under test: lessons from Lake Chilwa in Malawi and other lakes in Africa’. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369: 20130052. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0052

[25] Maloya, H., 2001. Community-Based Natural Resources Management - the case of Lake Chilwa Wetland, Malawi. Available at: https://www.ramsar.org/news/community-based-natural-resources-management-the-case-of-lake-chilwa-wetland-malawi

[26] Republic of Malawi. 2011. The Second National Communication of the Republic of Malawi to the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Available at: https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/mwinc2.pdf

[27] Ibid.

[28] Thiery, W., et al. 2015. The Impact of the African Great Lakes on the Regional Climate. J. Climate, 28.

[29] Republic of Malawi. 2011. The Second National Communication of the Republic of Malawi to the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Available at: https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/mwinc2.pdf

[30] Thiery, W., et al. 2015. The Impact of the African Great Lakes on the Regional Climate. J. Climate, 28.

[32] Ibid.

 

Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Component 1: Enhancing cross-sectoral technical capacity for climate change adaptation in Malawi

Under Component 1, the preparatory and institutional environment required for gender-sensitive climate change adaptation planning, implementation, monitoring and financing will be developed. This will be done by strengthening the capacity of community-level institutions to plan for Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in the Lake Chilwa basin area, and to develop the enabling environment for these actions under Components 2 and 3 of the project. Through the decentralisation of governance for climate change adaptation and environmental sustainability, district councils are responsible for identifying risks and responding to the climate crisis by using appropriate adaptation interventions. The additional resources from LDCF will enable the TRANSFORM project to support district councils to integrate climate change adaptation (including monitoring interventions and impacts) into their district development planning and budgeting. This will subsequently allow for the creation of effective systems to supporting communities in identifying and implementing community-based adaptation initiatives. The proposed project will also ensure that the relevant community- and district-level institutions obtain the required technical and operational capacity to coordinate responses across the district, as well as sustain innovations and infrastructure investments made during project implementation in the long term. These interventions will be implemented in a gender-sensitive manner, with equitable benefits provided to women and youth.

Outcome 1: Strengthened capacity of community-level institutions and non-state actors to plan, implement and monitor Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA).

Output 1.1. An EbA Plan — with an integrated management framework — that identifies climate change vulnerability and ecosystem degradation hotspots, developed for each target district through direct engagement of community stakeholders (including women and the youth).

Under this output, participatory cross-sectoral EbA plans — with a specific focus on women and youth — will be developed for each of the three target districts. These long-term plans will build on short- to medium-term plans developed during the PPG phase, with on-the-ground interventions as detailed within the plans finalised and rolled out during implementation. This will include the identification of climate change vulnerability and ecosystem degradation hotspots which will be targeted for the implementation of interventions under Outcome 2 of the project. In addition, a Community-Based Resilience Analysis (CoBRA) will be used to identify priority adaptation actions for each of the identified hotspots in line with national priorities and strategies such as the National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy (NFLRS). The EbA plans will also include an integrated cross-sectoral management framework to ensure alignment between the individual EbA plan of each target district, as well as existing district planning frameworks, to ensure the effective implementation of EbA across the Lake Chilwa basin. Moreover, these EbA plans will use lessons learned from and build upon similar plans for natural resource management developed under the GEF-funded project entitled Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management project. These plans will strongly focus on improving the sustainability of fisheries in Malawi’s lakes through improved community-led and climate-smart catchment management. This will ensure complementarity with baseline investments in Malawian fisheries, while avoiding duplication of interventions. Moreover, in line with the transformative nature of the proposed project, the EbA plans under this output will draw on those from the previous GEF project to scale up EbA across the entire basin, and deliver community-wide benefits that ultimately have a major socio-economic and environmental impact across the entire area.

In preparation for the development of the EbA plans described above, district- and community-level institutions — particularly youth and women’s groups — will be trained to plan, implement and monitor EbA plans. This will improve the technical capacity of these institutions to enhance community resilience in a gender-sensitive manner. The scope of the training will include: i) interpretation of climate information and projections, as well as the expected impacts; ii) identifying feasible adaptation approaches to address the impacts of climate change with a focus on EbA; iii) planning the identified adaptation approaches in the local context; iv) overseeing the implementation of adaptation approaches at the district and community levels; and v) monitoring of interventions after implementation. Accordingly, the capacity-building activities will comprise education, information and awareness-raising sessions for priority institutions on the importance of EbA, as well as its relevance to reducing the vulnerability of these institutions. In addition, technical training workshops will be hosted in each district to subsequently enhance the technical capacity of these institutions to plan, monitor and implement EbA — building on the knowledge and understanding augmented by the educational sessions.

This individual and institutional capacity building will ensure the retention of institutional knowledge on EbA within the Lake Chilwa basin, and in turn, reduce the impacts of high staff turnover, that may threaten the sustained use of EbA. The retention of institutional knowledge will also be supported by the knowledge-management hub created under Output 3.5. The capacity-building training will focus on the natural resources within and around the lake and wetlands in the basin, with a specific emphasis on ecosystem services and long-term benefits of, for example, sustainable fishing practices. Training will be provided on the impacts of climate change on natural resources within the lake and surrounding ecosystems, the management and monitoring of these resources, as well as monitoring of climatic and non-climatic impacts to the natural resource base. This training will be supplemented by education on the provisioning of ecosystem services and how to maintain them not only for the benefit of livelihoods but also to reduce the risk of climate hazards on communities.

Output 1.2. Framework Investment Plan for sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods and value chains developed for each target district, in line with the EbA plans developed under Output 1.1.

Under this output, a climate-resilient Framework Investment Plan (FIP) will be developed for private sector investment catalysed under Component 3. Specifically, these FIPs will be operationalised using financial resources mobilised through a newly established Sustainable Climate Financing Facility (SCFF) under Output 3.1. Output 1.2 will include establishing partnerships between smallholder farmers and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), to enable stronger engagement between communities and the private sector in the Lake Chilwa basin. The development of the FIP will be undertaken in a gender-sensitive manner and will include assessments on different investment opportunities, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of different markets. Currently, vulnerable communities are not adequately engaging with lucrative value chains because of the limited availability of established networks and business relationships for connecting private sector investors to local-level producers. The FIP will catalyse a shift towards a scenario where improved linkages between these entities are established. Output 1.3 will include the identification of potential target areas for investment, as well as MSMEs that can be selected for technical support under Output 3.2, to enhance the climate resilience and environmental sustainability of their operations. Precedents have already been established in Malawi for the use of investment plans and funds towards climate change adaptation. For example, at a national level the National Climate Change Investment Plan was operationalised in 2014 to ensure that there is increased and coordinated investment in climate change[1]. In addition, the Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience (2017) includes potential entry points for investment and a framework for attracting financial resources from the private sector, international finance institutions (such as the GEF), national resources, and other financing windows[2]. These strategies and plans will inform the design of the FIP under Output 1.2, ensuring they build on previous gains towards attracting external investment for increased climate resilience of livelihoods in Malawi.

Along with upscaling previous programmes, plans and initiatives, the proposed project will result in novel outcomes to ensure a transformative shift in concessional funding for enterprise development in the region. Specifically, transformation will be achieved through additional measures such as only allocating funds to MSMEs with enhanced technical capacity and financial literacy (developed under the proposed project) and therefore increased climate resilience. This will ensure the sustainability of business operations for selected ventures, thereby increasing the likelihood of success of their expansion/diversification activities as well as the impact that the concessional funding will have. Novel features of the FIP that will transform this output from a business-as-usual approach will be: i) financial literacy training (which has not been formally conducted in Malawi before); ii) planning for allocation of funds across a wide range of subsectors and business activities; iii) dedication of funds specifically for the adoption of innovative and energy-efficient technologies; iv) accelerated application processes for ventures with demonstrable skills and knowledge of adaptation options; and v) dedicated allocation of a considerable proportion of funds for women and youth-run enterprises.

Component 2: Implementation of EbA and sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods

Vulnerable communities in the Lake Chilwa basin strongly depend on ecosystem goods and services to support their livelihoods. The TRANSFORM project will complement the National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy to protect and strengthen ecosystem health for the sustained flow of goods and services to local communities. Component 2 will enable the implementation of EbA plans developed under Component 1, in line with national priorities and strategies. In addition, Component 2 will include the development of a community-based ecosystem monitoring and reporting (M&R) system — leveraging support from extension services — which will ensure the sustainability and scalability of EbA interventions. Using an integrated, cross-sectoral approach, the project will also facilitate the implementation of viable, community-based adaptation practices which include alternative livelihoods, climate-resilient agricultural practices, and small-scale, nature-based businesses. Such activities will be undertaken by resource-poor members of the community, the majority of which are women and the youth. The community-based adaptation practices supported by the project will therefore specifically benefit these vulnerable community members, drawing on best practices and lessons learned from Adapt Plan’s promotion of diversified livelihoods, such as the processing and selling of NTFPs. In addition to upscaling the Adapt Plan project, the proposed GEF project will introduce new and alternative livelihood options to ensure a transformative shift away from unsustainable land-use practices. Novel to the proposed project will also be the enhanced capacity to maintain these livelihoods, through participatory community-based monitoring of natural resources.

Outcome 2. Reduced vulnerability of communities in target districts to climate change through the implementation of EbA interventions and the introduction of sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods.

Output 2.1. EbA interventions, such as catchment restoration, soil conservation techniques and water-efficient technologies, implemented in vulnerability hotspots.

Under Output 2.1, Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) interventions such as the restoration of riparian areas, wetlands, and catchments will be implemented in a gender-sensitive manner. This will improve the flow of ecosystem services — including regulation of the hydrological cycle, soil conservation and erosion control — thereby building the climate resilience of communities surrounding the Lake Chilwa basin. Specific EbA-related activities to be implemented in each target district will be identified and costed during the PPG phase. As a co-benefit, EbA interventions will help to alleviate some of the primary drivers of environmental degradation in the region, such as deforestation caused by unsustainable charcoal production, which contribute to an overreliance of households on resources within the lake and surrounding areas. In particular, the negative impacts on fish stocks (linked to the decreasing productivity of surrounding agricultural areas) will be reduced. Additional EbA measures to reduce the dependence of local communities on the use of wood for charcoal production will include the introduction of processing technologies for fuel-efficient briquette production using agricultural waste products, such as rice husks. This will reduce the dependence on forest ecosystem resources as well as pressure placed on the wider natural resource base in the target area. To facilitate this shift, briquette-making communities will receive assistance from relevant, upskilled institutions, in particular on the construction of appropriate infrastructure such as beds for drying of agricultural waste. In addition, access to inputs such as water will be subsidised, highly concessional, or provided at a reasonable cost, thereby promoting fuel briquettes as a productive commercial sector. Further research will also be conducted to assess the potential supply of a wide range of biomass materials and quality of varieties of fuel briquettes. Increased demand for briquettes among communities will be achieved through marketing efforts and value-adding activities such as packaging, labelling and awareness-raising on the benefits of fuel-efficient briquettes.

Additional interventions that supplement EbA activities to increase water-use efficiency and improve the supply of water in the region, will include inter alia: i) household water harvesting systems and post-harvest storage[3]; ii) the adoption of improved irrigation technologies (for example drip irrigation systems); iii) the stabilisation of riverbanks using green infrastructure to reduce erosion; and iv) a shift to agroforestry systems. Agroforestry will improve agricultural productivity, and ecosystem service provisioning, including soil conservation and erosion control regulation of the hydrological cycle — for example, through improvements in the quality and quantity of water resources in the region as a result of increased infiltration. Agroforestry-related activities under this output will build on interventions previously implemented under other projects, such as the GEF-funded project titled Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management project. These agroforestry and conservation farming practices will be implemented across 3,000 ha of agricultural areas. Under the proposed project, the land area under agroforestry systems will be expanded to include additional communities. This will contribute to increasing the area in the Lake Chilwa basin under improved management practices and extend the reach of direct and indirect adaptation benefits to more people in the Lake Chilwa basin. Moreover, novel agroforestry systems will be introduced to encompass a wide range of communities and ecosystems ensuring the unique needs of each target community are met and that their natural resources are appropriately managed.

Output 2.2. Community-based ecosystem Monitoring and Reporting (M&R) system established in each target district to support enhanced natural resource management and compliance with environmental regulations.

Under this output, an M&R system will be established in support of an integrated approach to the maintenance of ecosystem health, ensuring inter alia: i) effective environmental management; ii) compliance with relevant regulations; and iii) eventual self-regulation of communities surrounding Lake Chilwa. This will complement the EbA plans to be developed under Output 1.1, providing the means for not only supporting enhanced natural resource management, but also for establishing an evidence base from which EbA plans may be iteratively revised and refined to inform further action. The establishment of the M&R will include a comprehensive valuation of ecosystem services in the project area, informing the baseline upon which M&R will be undertaken, and to determine the contribution of the proposed project’s interventions over time.

The M&R system established under this output will be designed and operationalised in line with local and district planning frameworks to build on and improve previously established systems for monitoring natural resources and reporting on their overexploitation or unsustainable use. For example, communities will be trained on the importance of monitoring degradation or threats to the target areas’ natural resource base (such as the use of illegal fishing nets), as well as how to measure and report these threats to the relevant authorities. In addition, communities will also work towards ensuring that sustainable land-practices continue beyond the project’s lifespan to maintain benefits associated with adaptation interventions. Communities will be fully engaged in monitoring natural resources and ecosystem threats, as by understanding the associated benefits of adaptation they will be more invested in ensuring long-term sustainability of project interventions. Such community engagement in M&R will discourage perpetuating a ‘tragedy of the commons’ situation as community members will be reluctant to continue unsustainable practices if aware of being monitored and potential penalties for non-compliance. Not only will this apply to lake and wetland resources, but forest ecosystems as well, with individuals less likely to engage in charcoal production and other activities that degrade the landscape. This approach will be facilitated in particular by beach village committees (BVCs), who will assist with training alongside extension services.

BVCs — first established under the GEF-funded project entitled Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management project — will be used to operationalise the M&R system. These committees were selected because they possess the appropriate skills and knowledge, such as an understanding of the applicable environmental laws and regulations, for effective management of lake resources. The proposed project will in so doing align with previous investments working on enhanced compliance, thereby promoting the sustainability of interventions under both projects. In addition, this output will augment the achievements of previous projects by extending M&R responsibilities beyond BVCs to include community institutions around protected areas. This will be facilitated by the implementation of monitoring systems that are strongly technology-oriented and community-based. For example, the use of GIS-enabled incident-recording/reporting devices and unmanned arial vehicles (UAVs), such as drones, will provide information not only to communities for natural-resource management, but also to potential entrepreneurs and investors. The training will be delivered to enhance the technical and human resource capacity of communities surrounding Lake Chilwa for enforcement of relevant laws and regulations, as well as M&R. While the M&R systems will be designed for each individual district, knowledge-sharing and collaboration will be encouraged between districts through the knowledge management hub established under Component 3 of the proposed project. This will be done by ensuring that the information generated through M&R will be fed into the hub, and that provision is made for effective sharing of this knowledge between districts.

To provide comprehensive support to the community-based M&R systems, a training-of-trainers approach will be used to incorporate knowledge-management and -sharing into the proposed project by providing operational and technical support to extension services. This will be to allow extension service officers to transfer knowledge and expertise to BVCs, and other stakeholders operating within the M&R system, to ensure effective, on-the-ground implementation and maintenance of the system. During the lifetime of the project this training system will allow local communities to monitor the success of proposed interventions (for example, seedling survival rates for restoration efforts), as well as report on stakeholder engagement and other targets established to determine the success of the project. In addition, community members will be trained on reporting on the attendance of training sessions by various groups, as well as on whether gender-related targets are being met. This support will enable M&R efforts to extend beyond the project lifespan, ensuring the sustainability of interventions.

Output 2.3. Sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods implemented in target communities through the provision of training (including at least 50% women), provision of start-up inputs (such as beekeeping equipment) as well as the development of partnerships with local suppliers and value chain service providers (through technical advisory services).

Under Output 2.3, support will be provided to relevant stakeholders to enable vulnerable communities — particularly women and youth — to shift from unsustainable, climate-vulnerable livelihoods and income streams, such as charcoal production, to a situation where the adoption of climate-resilient livelihoods is a feasible and readily-available option. This will occur through, inter alia, the upscaling of existing initiatives for the production and sale of NTFPs — including mushroom cultivation and products derived from beekeeping enterprises — as well as the development of fishery and agricultural value chains. Specifically, the mechanism used to achieve the shift towards sustainable climate resilient livelihoods will include three stages across the development period. First, during the PPG phase of the project, information will be gathered on forest, wetland and lake users and resource use, extent of different ecosystems, the condition of natural resources in the ecosystems, and forest-based livelihood opportunities. The second stage will involve negotiation of ecosystem management plans and agreements (including rights and responsibilities of community-, district- and government-level institutions), and securing formal legal structures for these agreements. Finally, empowered communities will implement their management plans and uphold any legal agreements, with full local and national government support. During the PPG phase, appropriate alternative, climate-resilient livelihoods that align with the EbA action plans developed under Output 1.1. and are suitable for adoption by local communities will be identified using Community-Based Resilience Analysis (CoBRA). In addition, to ensure equitable and gender-responsive efforts towards the adoption of alternative livelihoods, local communities in target districts (including at least 50% women) will also be trained on sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods, with a focus on the implementation, maintenance and monitoring of EbA interventions, therefore complementing Outputs 2.1 and 2.2. This will build upon and expand the introduction of alternative and complementary rural livelihoods under a previous GEF-funded project[4]. While this project focused solely on aquaculture-based livelihoods, the proposed TRANSFORM project will introduce and implement a wider variety of livelihoods, including beekeeping and mushroom farming. In addition, the proposed project will be implemented in communities that the previous GEF-funded project did not focus on. This will result in the provision of alternative livelihoods to the entire population of the basin. To further support livelihood security of vulnerable communities in the target area, rural-urban business linkages will be established. This will facilitate aggregation by enhancing the ability of MSMEs and other enterprises to access district and city markets by inter alia ensuring harvested commodities meet market standards.

To support the implementation and uptake of sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods in the Lake Chilwa basin, inputs will be provided to local communities who require improved equipment and infrastructure. This will take the form of ‘starter kits’ for the establishment of NTFP-centred businesses, and will include goods, materials and equipment such as beehives and protective beekeeping equipment, or mushroom-growing kits. These starter kits will enable communities to smoothly transition to alternative, climate-resilient livelihoods. Moreover, improved farming technologies, processing equipment and infrastructure to prevent post-harvest losses — which have been identified as barriers to enhancing the livelihood resilience in the target area — will be supplied. In addition, support will be provided to transfer appropriate knowledge and skills that will facilitate the establishment of partnerships between or across local communities, the private sector, government institutions and agricultural and fishery organisations. By establishing and strengthening connections between these entities, a collaborative environment will be fostered which will contribute to sustainably enhancing livelihood and climate-resilience across value chains and economic sectors — as opposed to limiting the uptake of climate-resilient livelihoods to unsustainable handouts from donors.

To increase the likelihood of success regarding the uptake of sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods, local communities will be trained on their adoption. By increasing the awareness and familiarity of the additional livelihoods, as well as the associated techniques and skills, local communities will develop confidence in the uptake and maintenance of those livelihoods. This will facilitate the effective and efficient transition away from current unsustainable fishing, farming and land-use practices. To complement this training on livelihoods, awareness will be raised surrounding climate change hazards, risks and impacts to better develop local communities’ understanding of the need for adaptation and the adoption of sustainable, climate-resilient livelihoods and technologies.

Component 3: Enhancing market linkages for private sector investment in adaptation options and climate-resilient enterprises

Component 3 of the proposed project will ensure the sustainability and replicability of interventions implemented under Component 1 and Component 2 by catalysing private sector investment in climate-resilient enterprises. These investments will lead to the upscaling of EbA and alternative livelihoods across the Lake Chilwa basin and the rest of Malawi. To achieve this, the proposed project under Component 3 will design and operationalise a sustainable funding facility, strengthen linkages between market actors across value chains, and share information between market actors through a market information hub. As a multifaceted approach will be adopted, beneficiaries will extend beyond formally registered businesses to include both artisanal producers as well as aspiring young and/or female entrepreneurs. These interventions will be complemented by the establishment of a knowledge management hub, which will enable the sharing of information between stakeholders to inform the development of similar projects in the Basin. Whereas the market information hub will benefit entrepreneurs and MSMEs, the knowledge management hub will primarily be used by local and national level decision makers when exploring potential development options for enhanced climate resilience. In so doing, the upscaling of previous investments in the project area and across Malawi will be promoted in a locally appropriate and context-specific manner. Details on these interventions are presented below.

Outcome 3. Enhanced private sector investment in and strengthened market linkages for sustainable, climate-resilient enterprises to provide communities with alternative sources of income.

Output 3.1 A sustainable climate finance facility established to stimulate private sector investment for MSMEs, with a new CCA funding window opened under the MICF, provision of technical assistance and strengthening of the microfinance industry, for innovation in climate-resilient livelihoods, enterprises and technologies.

Under this output, access to finance for building climate-resilient livelihoods and businesses will be enhanced for MSMEs, farmers and fisherfolk in the Lake Chilwa basin. This enhanced access to finance will be achieved by establishing a new adaptation finance facility, by providing technical training and support, and by facilitating access to microfinance. Details on each of these sub-components of this output are provided below. The baseline upon which the project will build includes existing credit lines provided by funds, commercial banks and microfinance institutions. The additional and innovative interventions to be implemented by the proposed project include: establishing funding windows and financial products dedicated to climate change adaptation investments; training a wide range of stakeholders to access the credit lines and to climate-proof their business operations and value chains; and establishing community-based credit and saving associations to facilitate access to microfinance for artisanal farmers and fisherfolk with negligible collateral to implement adaptation interventions.

Finance facility. A new facility — the Sustainable Climate Finance Facility (SCFF) — will be established to enable private sector investors to invest in innovative, climate-resilient livelihoods, enterprises and value chains. GEF resources will be used to establish the facility and provide technical support for its management, but will not be used to capitalise it. The capital will be sourced from the private sector (in accordance with climate-resilient Framework Investment Plans (FIP) developed under Output 1.3), and in particular through the existing and well-established Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF) that is managed by UNDP. A dedicated window within the MICF will be created for climate change adaptation and for assisting in the capitalisation of the SCFF. While the MICF has already successfully launched and closed other funding windows — most recently for tourism — the SCFF will be focussed on the Lake Chilwa basin and will therefore be the first geographically targeted window under the MICF. This geographically targeted funding window will serve as a model for financing similar projects in the future. It should be noted that the MICF will only serve as the initial platform upon which the SCFF will be established, and that the SCFF will be upscaled nationally under the National Climate Change Fund (NCCF), which is currently under development. The vision of the GoM is that the operationalisation of the SCFF will be achieved under the MICF, but that the facility will be transferred to the newly established NCCF. The NCCF is envisioned to be financed through carbon levies collected by the GoM which have been earmarked for environmental actions, as outlined in the Environmental Management Act of 2017. Funds collected through these levies will be ring-fenced for these actions — including those aimed at improved climate resilience — which will ensure institutional permanence in the environmental sector. Currently, the NCCF is not yet fully operational, as further work on its governance arrangement and technical capacity for undertaking its work is required. Therefore, the MICF, which has a fully functioning institutional structure and comprehensive technical capacity, will be a more suitable platform for the initial stages of setting up the SCFF, until the NCCF has been fully operationalised. This arrangement will ensure the effective transfer of technical and institutional capacity from the MICF to the NCCF.

For the capitalisation of the SCFF through the funding window established under the MICF, the private sector in Malawi will be directly approached to assist in through, for example, socially responsible investment products within the banking sector. Such products include socially responsible mutual funds. If there is insufficient capital raised within Malawi, international banks and investors focussing on ethical investment strategies will be approached to invest in these products offered by the Malawian banks.

Based on extensive consultations during the PIF preparation it has been identified that there is considerable interest within the international community for investments that assist in uplifting poor communities in addition to providing nature-based solutions to climate change. However, given the limited technical and institutional capacity among local communities for engaging in high-value markets, such investments remain high risk. Consequently, there remains a need to de-risk investments into uplifting communities by increasing their knowledge of and skills for value-addition in agriculture and fisheries, as well as by improving their awareness of the impacts of climate change, and increasing social accountability in natural resource use. It is consequently envisaged that there will be a strong demand for well-structured, socially responsible investment products from Malawi. Such products would include a strong focus on gender and social safeguards. Local Malawian banks will benefit from the sale of these types of investment products, not only through the commissions earned on the products, but also because it will contribute to their corporate social responsibility objectives. The proposed project will assist the Malawian banks in developing the products in an appropriate manner for attracting local and international investors, and then in managing the products and disbursing loans to eligible stakeholders in the Lake Chilwa basin.      

Technical training and support. The project will provide technical training and support — through, for example, workshops, training events and continuous technical advisory services — to the MICF, SCFF, MSMEs, artisans, farmers, and fisherfolk. This wide range of stakeholders is necessary to ensure that the funding mechanisms function effectively and that local communities will be in a position to use these mechanisms to finance their climate-resilient livelihoods.

The training for the MICF and SCFF will focus on climate change adaptation and investment opportunities for building climate resilience in the Lake Chilwa basin, but also Malawi as a whole. In this way, the project will support the upscaling of the MICF’s activities country-wide[5].

Training for MSMEs, artisans, farmers and fisherfolk in the project’s target districts (with a strong focus on women and youth) will be tailor-made for their individual needs in a particular district and will include topics such as: climate change; financial literacy; business operations, including basic accounting; opening of bank accounts; accessing micro-finance through organisations such as community-based village banks and saving associations; accessing commercial bank loans; compliance with legal requirements; registering of companies; reporting on the performance of their operations to funders; management of natural resources under climate change conditions; reducing post-harvest losses despite climate change conditions; meeting quality standards developed by buyers such as supermarkets and restaurants; diversifying products under climate change conditions; accessing new and higher value markets; and attracting investors. This training will be complemented by the partnerships established between local communities, extension services, CBOs, farmers, buyers and private sector enterprises under Output 3.2. Through the above-described training and these partnerships, a wide range of investments for MICF, SCFF, commercial banks and micro-finance institutions will be derisked.

Access to microfinance. Community-based credit and saving associations will be established by the project where local communities are supportive of such an intervention. Such associations have been demonstrated to be highly effective in similar rural settings in Kenya, where models known as the ‘village banking model’ and ‘self-help group bank’ have been adopted. The advantages of these associations include the following: little or no collateral is necessary to take out a loan, as the group as a whole provides the guarantee for each individual’s loan; records on returns on investment and performance of individual members are filed and can be used by individuals or MSMEs for accessing more traditional sources of credit through commercial banks; and records from the associations can be used to show private sector investors the impacts of their investments at a granular scale. In the past, the functionality of community-based credit and saving associations would have been compromised in rural areas because of difficulties in accessing banks. Today, however, remote mobile banking services are offered in Malawi through services such as Airtel Money or M-Pesa[6]. Because these banking service providers use SMS’s to operate, it can provide village bank members with access to banking services, despite having no internet access or being in remote locations.

Examples of activities to build climate resilience in the Lake Chilwa basin that could be financed by the MICF, the SCFF or community-based credit and saving associations include: cold storage facilities to reduce post-harvest loss from fish catches under increasing temperatures; kilns used for the production of energy-efficient briquettes; beekeeping equipment, including processing machinery to derive multiple products from hives; mushroom-growing kits; and water-saving irrigation systems such as drip irrigation or micro-sprayers. These activities will not be considered in isolation, but rather analysed in relation to the value chains within which they are situated. The project will provide technical advisory services to assist the above funds and associations in ensuring that appropriate investments are made across entire value chains to prevent breaks in these chains having detrimental effects on businesses and operations situated elsewhere in the chains.

An important component of the training of MSMEs, artisans, farmers, and fisherfolk within the project will be to highlight how the long-term benefits from enhanced access to finance, the implementation of new technologies and improved efficiency of their operations will only accrue if there is sustainable management of their natural resources under climate change conditions. Through this training the project will ensure that the private sector in the basin understands that that natural resources underpin their businesses and livelihoods and that these natural resources are currently under threat from over-harvesting and climate change impacts. In so doing, the project will facilitate a shift in societal mindset so that private and public sector organisations and local communities work together to harvest the natural resources in the basin sustainably and seek to build the climate resilience of the various ecosystems present in the basin. This collaborative work will be undertaken in Output 1.1 and 2.1 through the development and implementation of participatory EbA plans with integrated management frameworks.

Output 3.2. Partnerships established between communities, extension services, CBOs, farmers, buyers and private sector enterprises, including through the development of a market information hub and introduction of technologies that will increase access to, and strengthen, high-value markets.

Building on Output 3.1, networks will be created to further encourage collaboration between and within all links in agricultural and fishery value chains. These networks will be developed in a gender-sensitive manner and will comprise partnerships that connect inter alia private sector entities, public institutions, small-scale producers and extension services, thereby enhancing interaction between currently siloed business operations within the Lake Chilwa basin. Partnerships will be fostered particularly through the establishment of information hubs, which facilitate knowledge transfer and provide networking opportunities. The hubs will promote the uptake of improved technologies, the accessing of support services (under Output 3.1) and other activities to enhance the investment potential of MSMEs and small-scale producers in the target area. This will in part be achieved by raising awareness on the potential economic and social development gains from increasing access of climate-resilient enterprises and alternative livelihoods to high value markets.

Output 3.3. Knowledge management hub established to enable documentation and dissemination of best practices generated under the project.

Under this output, knowledge-management and -sharing will be enabled through the collection and dissemination of best practices and lessons learned elucidated under the proposed GEF project. This will take the form of, inter alia, a knowledge-management hub that will gather, record and archive the successes and areas for improvement with regards to project interventions. As a result, communities within and between districts will be able to share information on enhancing the climate-resilience of alternative livelihoods, as well as advice on how to improve both the financial viability and environmental sustainability of their business ventures. In addition, an annual event will be hosted by the hub, bringing together local and national stakeholders. These stakeholders will include private sector entities, NGOs, CBOs, government departments, smallholders and MSMEs — as well as universities, and research and higher education institutions to spearhead knowledge generation. Knowledge management activities under this output will directly complement those implemented under the GEF-funded project entitled Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management project.

Complementarity will be ensured by using existing climate information services, developed under the previous project, to inform knowledge management and dissemination specifically for enhanced climate resilience of livelihoods. This will for example align with improved fisheries management through knowledge generation about climate risks and vulnerability in the fisheries sector at district level, under the previous GEF fisheries project. To provide a transformative approach, however, the proposed project will ensure the knowledge hub connects all value chain actors, using relevant technologies to establish and strengthen these linkages, as well as enabling communities to access high value markets. Finally, a further novel feature of the proposed project will be the development and integration of an IT-supported PC/smartphone application to drive the use of the hub.




[1] UNDP. 2014. Malawi Government launches National Climate Change Investment Plan.

[2] Republic of Malawi. 2017. Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience: Malawi.

[3] Reduced wastage improves efficiency, which reduces the need for expanding agriculture to meet demand.

[4] The previous project is entitled Malawi-climate resilient and sustainable capture fisheries, aquaculture development and watershed management project. Available at: https://www.thegef.org/sites/default/files/project_documents/d4c0fcd6-4bec-e911-a83a-000d3a375590_PIF_0.pdf

[5] As a traditional challenge fund, the MICF does not currently provide technical assistance to companies, but this may be redressed through a subsidiary contract with a technical assistance provider that will be identified during the PPG phase.

[7] UNDP. 2015. Report on the review of the second national decentralisation strategy. Available at: https://info.undp.org/docs/pdc/Documents/MWI/Final%20NDP%20II%20Review%20Report%20-25%20July%202015.pdf

[8] Please refer to Section 6: Coordination.

 

Contacts: 
UNDP
Muyeye Chambwera
Regional Technical Advisor
Location: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Component 1: Enhancing cross-sectoral technical capacity for climate change adaptation in Malawi.

Component 2: Implementation of EbA and sustainable climate-resilient livelihoods

Component 3: Enhancing market linkages for private sector investment in adaptation options and climate-resilient enterprises

Project Dates: 
2021 to 2026
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
June 2021
Description: 
Project Approval
Proj_PIMS_id: 
6608
SDGs: 
SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 15 - Life On Land

Enhancing Multi-Hazard Early Warning System to Increase Resilience of Uzbekistan Communities to Climate Change Induced Hazards

Frequent and more intense floods, mudflows, landslides, avalanches and other climate change-related disasters in Uzbekistan are putting lives and livelihoods at risk and slowing progress to reach targets outlined in the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

To address these challenges, the Green Climate Fund-financed “Enhancing Multi-Hazard Early Warning System to Increase Resilience of Uzbekistan Communities to Climate Change Induced Hazards” project will respond to a critical need in Uzbekistan to modernize its early warning system into an impact-based Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS ). The MHEWS will improve early warnings on floods, mudflows, landslides, avalanches and hydrological drought in the more populous and economically important eastern mountainous regions, an essential element of the country’s climate risk management framework.

Several climate change-induced hazards (such as floods) have caused significant economic damages and led to the loss of lives. For example, it is estimated that 7.6 million people are vulnerable to flooding in Uzbekistan. The economic impact of flooding due to climate change is estimated to be about US$236 million. These hazards related to heavy rainfall and temperature extremes are either already increasing in frequency and/or intensity or are expected to do so under climate change, particularly over the eastern mountainous regions of Uzbekistan. In the face of increasing climate risks, this MHEWS will serve to enhance climate resilience of 32 million people of Uzbekistan (indirect beneficiaries), including the most vulnerable and poor rural communities living in mountainous areas currently at risk from climate-induced hazards. The improved early warning systems will inform future planning and reduce risks for vulnerable communities, support resilient livelihoods, good health and well-being, and improve food and water security for the people of Uzbekistan.

Specifically, the project will improve methods and capacities for monitoring, modelling and forecasting climate hazards and risks supported with satellite-based remote sensing, create a central repository and analysis system for hydrometeorological hazard and risk information, and improve regulations, coordination and institutional mechanisms for an effective impact-based MHEWS, including the development of forecast-based actions. The project will explore and facilitate the concept of forecast-based-financing (FBF) with the national institutional stakeholders responsible for disaster risk management and financing by developing SOPs and prototype decision-making systems/protocols based on the enhanced impact-based forecasting and warning. As a result, the project will significantly enhance the quality and timeliness of climate and disaster-related information available to decision-makers and the dissemination of such information to the population, as well as develop information and procedures for ex-ante actions.

This requires investments in both new observing technologies, training of technical staff, demonstration of modern approaches to hazard modelling and prediction, as well as development of awareness and educational materials and communications with communities. Together these activities will demonstrate the potential benefits of the upgraded system and contribute to the transformation of the climate and disaster risk management in the country.

English
Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Thematic Area: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (63.720703099213 41.483205853498)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
311 million direct beneficiaries, 2 million indirect beneficiaries
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$9.9 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$30.6 million (Uzhydromet and MES)
Project Details: 

The Government of Uzbekistan through its Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) implements a state program to modernize the early warning system for natural disasters[1]. This GCF project will provide the critical technical and financial resources, access to innovative technologies and expertise for the implementation and scale-up of this national initiative. The GCF-financed project will promote the transformation of climate hazard forecasting and warning from a reactive (ex-post) hazard-based system to one that is proactive (ex-ante), user-oriented and impact-based.

The project puts a strong focus on strengthening the “last mile” delivery of disaster-related communication and interaction with end users, including vulnerable communities. The improved capacity of Regional crisis management centers (RCMCs) and local communities to use and interpret climate risk information into practical early responses will directly benefit at least 11 million people (34% of total population) currently at risk from climate hazards and enhance the community resilience as a whole.

Uzhydromet’s capacity as a WMO Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) will be strengthened, building on the CAHM[2] (World Bank/WMO) project. The proposed GCF investment will develop automated procedures and modelling capacity that can serve as an example for other developing Central Asian countries, as well as being the driver of significant institutional change, catalysing increased efficiency in climate hazard warning generation and dissemination and developing new operational procedures between MES and Uzhydromet.

Climate change has been leading to more frequent and more intense hydrometeorological disasters in Uzbekistan and to a greater exposure to these disasters across the country. Uzbekistan sets climate change adaptation as a priority in its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)[3] under the Paris Agreement. In particular, the NDC clearly highlights the need to establish a Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS).

This project will respond to a critical need of Uzbekistan to modernize its early warning system into an impact-based MHEWS (initially focused on floods, mudflows, landslides, avalanches and hydrological drought in the more populous and economically important eastern mountainous regions), an essential element of the country’s climate risk management framework. In the face of increasing climate risks, this MHEWS will serve to enhance climate resilience of 32 million people of Uzbekistan (indirect beneficiaries), including the most vulnerable and poor rural communities living in mountainous areas currently at risk from climate-induced hazards.

Specifically, the project will improve methods and capacities for monitoring, modelling and forecasting climate hazards and risks supported with satellite-based remote sensing, create a central repository and analysis system for hydrometeorological hazard and risk information, improve regulations, coordination and institutional mechanisms for an effective impact-based MHEWS, including the development of forecast-based actions. The project will explore and facilitate the concept of forecast-based-financing (FBF) with the national institutional stakeholders responsible for disaster risk management and financing by developing SOPs and prototype decision-making systems/protocols based on the enhanced impact-based forecasting and warning. As a result, the project will significantly enhance the quality and timeliness of climate and disaster-related information available to decision-makers and the dissemination of such information to the population, as well as develop information and procedures for ex-ante actions.

The GCF grant is required to upgrade the existing hazard forecasting and warning system in Uzbekistan so it can effectively deal with the additional pressure brought about through increases in climate variability and change. This requires investments in both new observing technologies, training of technical staff, demonstration of modern approaches to hazard modelling and prediction, as well as development of awareness and educational materials and communications with communities. Together these activities will demonstrate the potential benefits of the upgraded system and contribute to the transformation of the climate and disaster risk management in the country.




[1] Cabinet Resolution No. 242 of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On further improvement of state system for warning and emergency applications of the Republic of Uzbekistan” from 24 August 2011

[2] Central Asian Hydro-Meteorological project

 

Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Output 1: Upgraded hydro-meteorological observation network, modelling and forecasting capacities

The proposed intervention will create a more efficient monitoring network for weather, climate, hydrology and cryosphere, through both upgrading existing (automating) and installing new monitoring equipment (automatic weather stations (AWS), automatic hydrological stations, upper air sounding stations, and strategically placed low cost radars. This equipment and other existing data streams will be integrated into high availability/redundant single databases. Hazard-specific forecasting procedures will be developed and operationalized for climate-induced hazards. Training of Uzhydromet staff to undertake forecasting, operation and maintenance and data QA/QC/archiving procedures will also accompany these activities. Activities follow the GFCS and in this output are designed to address aspects related to: i) observations and monitoring; and ii) research, modelling and prediction. Uzhydromet will be the immediate beneficiary under all activities of Output 1, while their end beneficiaries include all the users of the upgraded hydro-meteorological observation network, modelling and forecasting capacities.

Activity 1.1 Upgrading and modernization of the meteorological and hydrological Observation System. This will include upgrading/automation of 25 meteorological observation stations and equipment (software, workstations etc), modernizing the ground-based infrastructure (telemetry processing, hydrogen generators etc) for 2 upper-air stations (Uzhydromet/GoU will support the establishment of 2 more), installing 2 online X-band doppler radar systems to cover current gaps in mountainous areas, upgrading and technical equipment of 90 hydrological stations , and establishing benchmarks and up to date equipment for instrument calibration (vacuum chambers, mobile laboratory etc). AWS and hydrological stations will be installed/upgraded at existing facilities and premises of key locations in the mountains above hazardous valleys and in the areas of high precipitation/landslides/mudflow risks, not already covered by investments through the CACILM and CAMP4ASB projects, as shown in Figure 46 (page 66) of the FS. Uzhydromet is strongly engaged with the WMO and maintains its standards and compatibility with existing systems. In particular it requires that goods and service comply with WMO 2003 Guidelines on Climate Observation Networks and Systems (TD No. 1185) and WMO Guide to Meteorological Instruments and Methods of Observation (the CIMO Guide No. 8, 2014 edition / 2017 update). These requirements will be taken into account during project implementation, and demonstrated compatibility with existing systems is part of any procurement (ITB/RFQ) tender documents under UNDP processes. All equipment will report data to central servers at Uzhydromet and will conform to WMO standards, including reporting to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), Global Basic Observing Network (GBON) and Global Telecommunication System (GTS). The project will also assist the government to identify long-term requirements and to enable budgeting and planning for the maintenance of all observing systems.

Activity 1.2 Upgrading Uzhydromet’s capacity to store, process and develop hazard products, as well as to communicate hydrometeorological data to regional divisions. This is a climate services information system (as described in GFCS) and involves the establishment of an operations centre, ICT servers and networking equipment to integrate data streams (hydrometeorological and satellite-based observations) and automate processes and analyses (including hazard forecasts). Software and processing routines will enable data and maps to be exported in common formats for sharing with partners and importing into the MES risk management system (see activity 2.1 below). A local cloud-based solution will be implemented to store and manage data that will benefit from offsite backups and easier access for the MES risk management system. Specifically this activity will: i) Integrate hydrometeorological data (from both automatic and manually operated stations) into a single database as a basis for developing products based on all available observed data. Automatically transmitted data from different providers/manufacturers will be integrated and undergo quality control/assurance within a single database in real time and will be available for interrogation via geo-visualization software. This activity will also: i) Expand the hydrological drought early warning system for Amu Darya (developed by the UNDP/AF project) to the Syr Darya and Zeravshon rivers. All historical streamflow and flood data for the two rivers will be collected and forecast models, with data ingestion and data processing routines, will be derived;  ii) Develop automatic procedures for calculating avalanche risk in real time. Software and code will be developed to automatically update avalanche hazard maps based on snow accumulation from satellites (and AWS) and established procedures for estimating avalanche extent; iii) Develop code and procedures for automatically calculating mudflow risk maps based on precipitation observations and forecasts for 2-3 days lead time; iv) Develop a landslide risk model for Eastern Uzbekistan based on geophysical and geotechnical characteristics, including subsurface water and extreme rainfall. The skill of all developed forecast systems will be assessed using retroactive forecasts and used to assess their utility for forecast based actions in activity 2.1 and 2.2.

Activity 1.3 Re-training and advanced training of Uzhydromet staff on monitoring and forecasting technologies and procedures (training of MES staff is covered in output 2 below). International experts will train weather forecasters to work with new products of the KOSMO model (with a resolution of 13 km and 2 km). Refresher courses and advanced training will be provided for new software and equipment, including the introduction of new methods for the analysis and prediction of hydrometeorologically important variables and climate hazards. The project will facilitate organization of on-the-job trainings, engagement with universities, courses and seminars with the involvement of foreign specialists. Training of IT specialists of Uzhydromet will be conducted for work with the computer center and operation of the KOSMO model, the UNIMAS, MITRA information reception and transmission system, workstation software (for weather forecasters, agrometeorologists, GIS-METEO, etc.) and EU Copernicus programme on satellite data, all of which will be used for impact-based forecasting where needed. Trainings on AWS installation, general user training and technical support will be provided. These increased capacities will also assist Uzhydromet in fulfilling its regional role as a WMO RMSC, in accordance with the GFCS capacity development, and help improve their capacity for regional cooperation.


Output 2: Establish a functional Multi-Hazard Early Warning System based on innovative impact modelling, risk analyses, effective regional communication and community awareness

The proposed intervention will integrate and develop ICT systems to use the hydro-meteorological hazards predicted in output 1, and combine these with vulnerability data to identify risks and provide information for planning and mitigating their impacts. It will improve the efficiency of the current early warning system by automating the sharing and production of risk-related data, as well as the communication of warnings. The project will also develop methodologies for and support hazard and risk mapping and risk zoning for key climate-induced hazards (floods, landslides, mudflows, droughts and  avalanche). Specifically it will introduce an advanced, impact-based information management system for combining data on socio-economics (population, livelihoods, poverty indicators), infrastructure (roads, utilities, buildings, bridges etc) and the natural environment (landcover, vegetation, soils etc) in order to operationally assess the risks associated with each hazard forecast. This information will be transmitted and shared with RCMCs in key hazard-prone districts in Uzbekistan so that regional teams have the most up to date information available for planning their operations. Building on the existing mobile-based public dissemination platforms, the project will develop geographically specific risk based warnings tailored to the areas affected by each hazard (e.g. mudflows, avalanches, landslides and flooding). Based on the user interaction guideline of GFCS, inputs from consulations with key stakeholders and end-users (activities 3.1 and 3.3) will inform the design and dissemination of warnings and alerts to communities at risk.  MES and its RCMCs will be the immediate beneficiaries under all activities of Output 2, while their end beneficiaries include all the users of the Multi-Hazard Early Warning System.

Activity 2.1 Developing and installing a modernised and efficient system for assessing climate risks based on dynamic information on both hazards and vulnerabilities, including socio-economic risk models for decision making and prioritization of resilience building long-term/future investments. This would enable establishing an impact-based MHEWS, where hazard forecasting is linked to the risk and exposure information (socio-economic risk model).  This involves installing both hardware and software to enable an advanced, impact-based information management system to be built, which will combine data on current vulnerabilities (e.g. indicators of poverty, education, health, housing etc), public and private assets (including infrastructure, roads, railways, housing, mines, airports, hospitals, schools etc), the environment (crops, lakes, rivers, tourism areas etc) and hazard impacts (input from Output 1) to operationally assess the risks associated with each hazard forecast. Based on evaluated risks and the skill of each impact-based forecast, a set of feasible ex-ante actions will be identified for different lead times. This activity will also develop software and standard operating procedures to automatically ingest hydrological and meteorological observations, weather and seasonal forecasts, and derived drought/avalanche/mudflow/landslide forecasts from Uzhydromet (through activity 1.2) into the system to be combined with available vulnerability data. Traning to MES staff will be delivered on risk assessment, operations and maintenance of the systems. The system will also import long-term climate change scenarios to be used for forward planning and evaluation of future risks.

Activity 2.2 Developing and introducing technical guidance, institutional and coordination frameworks to increase the efficiency of: i) data collection and archiving (activities 1.1 and 1.2); ii) hazard mapping and modelling (activity 1.2); iii) risk assessment (activity 2.1); iv) impact-based warning and forecast-based actions (activity 3.2); and v) dissemination of information to RCMCs (activity 2.3). These protocols are also required to ensure that new climate information sources (e.g. AWS, AWLS, radar and satellite observations – activity 1.1) are translated into products that are useful for decision making and investment by MES and Uzhydromet (based on feedback obtained through activities 3.1 and 3.3). Thus, under this activity the project will explore and facilitate promotion of forecast-based-financing (FBF) by developing draft SOPs and prototype FBF protocols/decision-making systems.  This activity will include development of SOPs (both for ingesting and sharing data, as well as for forecast based actions to be undertaken when specific risk-related triggers/thresholds are reached), a national to regional EWS protocol, and communication protocols to accompany introduction of the new technologies. Guidance and procedures will be developed to support the application of socio-economic risk models and enhanced risk zoning in development planning and decision-making (activity 2.1). Corresponding training to MES staff will be delivered.

Activity 2.3 Designing and implementing a system for information dissemination to RCMCs and area specific mobile alerts including an information visualization system for RCMCs with software. This involves setting up information visualisation and analysis systems (video walls, telecommunication systems, servers and ICT storage) at 7 RCMS, to enable them to visualise the maps and impact forecast information provided through the risk analysis and warning system (activity 2.1) and combine it with local (regionally available) information on current vulnerabilities and field-based information. This will enable them to better target advice and direct regional response teams. This activity will further develop (improving the existing MES dissemination system) area-specific mobile and SMS based warnings for mudflows, avalanches, landslides and flooding. This will reduce the chance of false alarms sent to those not at risk, as well as improve the content based on information from the improved MES risk and impact-based forecast system (activity 2.1 and 2.2). Inputs from consulations with key stakeholders and end-users (activities 3.1 and 3.3) will be used to design the dissemination system, following the co-design and co-production user interaction guideline of GFCS.

Output 3: Strengthened climate services and disaster communication to end users

The proposed intervention will strengthen the effectiveness of delivering climate information services and disaster warnings to users in Uzbekistan at two levels. On the overall national level, the project will initiate the establishment of the National Framework of Climate Services as a mechanism to systematically bring together producers and users of hydrometeorological and climate information and to ensure that information and services reach their end recipients both in the various sectors of the government and the society and at the different geographic levels down to local communities. Disaster-related information and services being the specific focus of the project, it will work with the various public and private stakeholders to reorient the existing financial / economic model behind the provision of such services to make it more cost-efficient and sustainable in the long-term, i.a. using private investment and partnership opportunities on the domestic and the international markets. Finally, on the warning dissemination and communication aspect, updated communication technolgoies will be utilised to support real-time risk evaluation by Regional disaster managemen agencies (RCMCs) and first responders and ensure ‘last-mile’ delivery of early warning risk information to the communities at risk and population at large. In collaboration with  Red Crescent Society and other community-level NGOs, RCMC will organize trainings and annual community forums to help communities at risk better interpret, understand and react to those warnings, as well as facilitate forecast-based actions and responses. Uzhydromet (and, in the long run, other parts of the Government of Uzbekistan, as well as other providers and users of climate services) will be the beneficiaries under Activity 3.1, as the NFCS provides a platform where the various service providers and end-users are engaged in the co-designing, testing and co-production to improve the content and delivery of products and services. Uzhydromet and MES (and Uzbekistan’s Government in the long run) will be the beneficiaries of Activity 3.2, as the development and promotion of a sustainable business model for disaster-related information and services in Uzbekistan will provide additional operational funding to the two institutions which currently to a large extent rely on government budgets. MES and its RCMCs as well as the communities in the 15 targeted districts as well as Uzbekistan’s population at large will be the beneficiaries under Activity 3.3.

Activity 3.1  Establishing National Framework for Climate Services for Uzbekistan

The Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), promoted and facilitated by the World Meteorological Organization in cooperation with GFCS partner organisations, is a framework that envisions better risk management and more efficient adaptation to climate variability and change through improvements in the quality, delivery and use of climate-related information in planning, policy and practice. GFCS, i.a. endorsed by the GCF Climate Services Strategy, focuses on developing and delivering information services in agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, energy, health and water, and organises its work around observations and monitoring; climate services information systems; research, modelling and pre- diction; user interface platforms; and capacity development. A strong focus of GFCS is on a multi-stakeholder approach to the definition and the actual delivery of services, thus bringing users and co-producers of climate and hydrometeorological information together and to the centre of the design and production process as opposed to more traditional supply-driven approaches. The establishment of the NFCS would typically involve:

i) an assessment of gaps, needs and user perspectives (i.a. through interviews) with respect to the current and desirable climate services;

ii) based on this assessment, the drafting of NFCS Uzbekistan concept and action plan;

iii) extensive consultations regarding the concept with the various sectors, users and co-producers of climate services; and

iv) reaching a broad agreement and Governmental endorsement for NFCS implementation.

Following an accepted WMO blueprint for the conceptualising and establishment of a NFCS, the project will undertake a baseline assessment of climate services in Uzbekistan, followed by multi-stakeholder consultations and the participatory development of the country's NFCS concept and Action Plan to be endorsed both by stakeholders and at the high executive level, ready for implementation once supplementary NFCS-earmarked funds become available as a follow-up to the project.

As part of this activity, a platform will be set up to engage end users in the design and testing of new disaster-related climate information services and products. Similarly, a National Climate Outlook Forum will be established and supported as one mechanism to help shape and deliver climate services with longer time horizon, i.a. with a particular focus on disasters such as hydrological droughts. A connection will then established between the Forum and WMO’s Regional Climate Fora operating in Europe (NEACOF) as well as Asia (FOCRAII).  Both the NFCS user dialogue platform and the National Climate Outlook Forum will (as well as the NFCS process at large) will be managed by Uzhydromet.

Activity 3.2  Designing sustainable business model for disaster-related information and services

While it may not be realistic to expect any significant level of private financing during project implementation given the existing public service management model and the time required for transition, there is long-term potential for private sector investment in climate information services and for expanded service provision to private sector based on enhanced hydrometeorological and climate information in Uzbekistan, including those related to natural disasters and early warning. Linked to the NFCS process above, the project will conduct a comprehensive analysis and discussion of long-term sustainable financing options for disaster-related services in Uzbekistan beyond current state-funding model, in particular drawing on blended finance through dedicated national funds and public-private partnership opportunities.  This will include seeking financing, from both public and private sources, for forecast based (ex-ante) actions identified in activities 2.1 and 2.2. Based on the analysis and consultations, a sustainable value chain-based business model for disaster-related information will be developed and agreed with the key stakeholders, and the necessary legal and organisation changes will be outlined and planned on the national (adjustment of legislation) and the inter-institutional levels (Uzhydromet, Ministry of Emergency Situations, users of the services, private investors).

Activity 3.3 Strengthening disaster warning dissemination and communication with end users

The project will significantly strengthen interaction with the end users with the aim to communicate and facilitate proactive responses to disaster information and warnings in Uzbekistan. Within the 15 RCMCs, outdoor communication boards[1] will be set up in identified communities at highest risk to alert and inform the population in real time about threats or emergencies, following which, through cooperation between MES RCMCs and the Red Crescent Society, communities will be trained to interpret and use information on climate hazards and early warnings. Printed visual information (leaflets) will be provided to RCMCs and Uzbekistan’s communities on climate hazards and associated early warnings. With expected increase of user interaction level, regional staff of MES RCMCs will be further trained in the effective use of this information to suppport community interactions (crowd sourcing and survey data) and formulate forecast-based actions following the guidelines developed in Activity 2.2. Similarly, easy-to-understand and visual information will be channelled to mass media through existing agreements between them and MES / Uzhydromet, as well as to national NGOs. Finally, this activity will also complement the prior Activity 2.3 in the development of region-specific (as opposed to the currently used national-wide) broadcasting of early warnings, with the use of other modern communication channels such as social media and electronic messenger subscription groups. In addition, the project will establish a platform for organizing annual community forums on community-based EWS engaging target communities and representatives of vulnerable groups to exchange information, lessons learned, successes and opportunities. Through such platforms regular competitions will be organized engaging both youth and the most active community representative to advocate for structural and non-structure mesures and ensure their inclusiveness.  


[1] These are physical boards used to relay warnings and messages, to be installed/set up by MES in targeted districts (including in hazard-prone areas with limited mobile receptions or not immediately reachable by a Regional Crisis Management Center). Boards will be installed in popular public places used by communities or on regular commuter transport routes.


 



 

Contacts: 
UNDP
Nataly Olofinskaya
Regional Technical Advisor
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Location: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Output 1: Upgraded hydro-meteorological observation network, modelling and forecasting capacities
Output 2: Establish a functional Multi-Hazard Early Warning System based on innovative impact modelling, risk analyses, effective regional communication and community awareness
Output 3: Strengthened climate services and disaster communication to end users

 

Project Dates: 
2021 to 2027
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
March 2021
Description: 
GCF Board Approval
Proj_PIMS_id: 
6218
SDGs: 
SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 13 - Climate Action

Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilience Project

Liberia’s capital city Monrovia is extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise and the increased frequency of high-intensity storms. These climate change-related impacts are contributing to coastal erosion and shoreline retreat, putting lives and livelihoods at risk, and affecting efforts by the Government of Liberia to reach the targets outlined in the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.

Compounding these issues, sea-level rise and urban encroachment into the Mesurado Wetland in the center of Monrovia threatens the sustainability the ecosystem services and fisheries in the region.

To address these challenges, the Green Climate Fund-financed “Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilience Project” will enhance coastal protection, foster improved coastal management and present local communities with diversified climate-resilient livelihoods. In this way, the project will build the long-term climate resilience of coastal communities in Liberia by both addressing immediate adaptation priorities and creating an enabling environment for upscaling coastal adaptation initiatives to other parts of Monrovia and Liberia.

The project will directly benefit a total of approximately 250,000 people through coastal defense, enhanced livelihoods, and improved protection of mangrove ecosystems. In addition, the project will indirectly benefit approximately 1 million people through the adoption of a transformative, climate risk-informed Integrated Coastal Zone Management approach for Liberia, with the first phase of implementation focused on the Monrovia Metropolitan Area (MMA). The combination of direct and indirect beneficiaries under this project will ultimately confer adaptation benefits on one quarter of the total population of Liberia.

English
Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (-10.749755961229 6.3051065918459)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
250,000 direct beneficiaries, 1 million indirect beneficiaries
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$17.2 million (Green Climate Fund)
Co-Financing Total: 
US$8.4 million (Government of Liberia)
Project Details: 

Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia[1], is extremely vulnerable to the climate change impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) and the increasing frequency of high-intensity storms, both of which contribute to coastal erosion and shoreline retreat. SLR is a significant contributor to accelerated coastal erosion, and along with the increasing intensity of offshore storms and waves, exacerbates coastal erosion, the impacts of which result in significant damage to buildings and infrastructure in Monrovia’s coastal zone. Additionally, SLR is threatening the sustainability of ecosystem services provided by mangroves in the Mesurado Wetland[2] at the centre of the Monrovia Metropolitan Area (MMA), which is further exacerbated by urban encroachment into, and over-exploitation of the mangroves. These changes negatively impact the habitat for economically important fish species and the loss of these nursery areas will have a considerable impact on the fishery-based livelihoods of approximately 55,000 Monrovians, 46% of whom are women.

The most vulnerable part of the MMA coast is West Point, an impoverished and densely-populated informal settlement situated on a narrow spit between the coast and the Mesurado Wetland, with dwellings built up to the shoreline. In the last decade[3], coastal erosion has caused the shoreline to regress by 30 m, leading to the loss of 670 dwellings and threatening public spaces and boat launching sites that are critical to fishery-based livelihoods. Without intervention — and with the added impact of climate change — coastal erosion is expected to cause further shoreline regression of 190 m by 2100. This is equivalent to an additional 110% more than the coastal retreat expected under a non-climate change or baseline scenario[4].

To adapt to the severe impacts of climate change on Monrovia’s coast, it is necessary to change the current approach to addressing the impacts of climate change from a focus on short-term solutions to long-term integrated and participatory planning that involves the public sector, private sector and communities at all levels of governance. The project is requesting GCF support to address barriers to effective climate change adaptation in the coastal zone of Monrovia, and Liberia more generally, through interventions in three inter-related focus areas: i) coastal protection; ii) coastal management; and iii) diversified climate-resilient livelihoods. In this way, the proposed project will build the long-term climate resilience of coastal communities in Liberia by both addressing immediate adaptation priorities and creating an enabling environment for upscaling coastal adaptation initiatives to other parts of Monrovia and Liberia.

The project will address one of the most urgent adaptation needs in Monrovia by constructing a rock revetment to protect West Point against coastal erosion and storms. The revetment was selected as the preferred solution, because while a ‘soft solution’ in the form of beach nourishment with an associated groyne was considered technically feasible, the sustainability of this option would be limited, because the regular maintenance required was not feasible in the local context[5]. From an infrastructural perspective, the project will protect and build the climate resilience of approximately 10,800 people in West Point and avoid damages of up to USD 47 million to the individual and communal property of West Point residents as well as securing launch sites for fishing boats which will have a positive impact on the fisheries sector. The construction of this coastal protection infrastructure will form part of a strategic, cohesive coastal adaptation strategy using an Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) approach.

The paradigm shift necessary for adopting an evidence-based and participatory ICZM approach across Liberia will be facilitated by the proposed project through initiatives to strengthen the technical and institutional capacity of the government and communities to adapt to the rapidly changing coastal landscape and to undertake long-term, climate-responsive planning on the coast. Based on quantitative, defensible scientific data in coastal management and planning, the proposed project will develop a national-scale high-resolution multi-criteria vulnerability map and design a national ICZM Plan (ICZMP) for Liberia in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including the private sector. By fostering partnerships among government institutions and between the Government of Liberia (GoL), private sector actors, research institutions and communities, the project will improve coordination on coastal management and create an enabling environment for ongoing coastal adaptation beyond the project area and after the project implementation period.

The project will increase local adaptive capacity by strengthening gender- and climate-sensitive livelihoods and protecting mangroves in the Mesurado Wetland within Monrovia. Specifically, adaptative capacity in Monrovia will be increased by: i) safeguarding ecosystem services provided by mangroves and increasing the resilience of these ecosystems to climate change, through community co-management agreements between government and communities; ii) improving community knowledge on climate change impacts and adaptation practices; and iii) strengthening climate-sensitive livelihoods and supporting the uptake of climate-resilient livelihoods. This is an important element of the integrated approach because while the development of ICZMP will improve coastal management at an institutional level, limited institutional capacity in Liberia means that capacitating communities to engage positive adaptation strategies is critical to ensure an increase in their long-term climate resilience. The latter two activities will be based at the innovation and education centre — to be established in West Point. In addition to being the focal point for climate-resilient livelihood development, the innovation and education centre will act as a hub for awareness-raising and other community-led actions being implemented under the project[6]. An exit strategy and O&M plan (Annex 21) will ensure that the proposed project activities will be sustained in the long-term[7].

These investments by the GCF and the Government of Liberia (GoL) will catalyse a paradigm shift in the management of Monrovia’s coastal zone towards an integrated, transformative and proactive approach that addresses current and anticipated climate change risks and which mixes both infrastructure (where necessary) and coastal ecosystems in adaptation efforts. This will directly benefit a total of ~250,000 people in the communities of West Point through coastal defence and enhanced livelihoods; and through enhanced livelihoods and improved protection of mangrove ecosystems in the communities of Topoe Village; Plonkor and Fiamah; and Nipay Town and Jacob’s Town. In addition, the project will indirectly benefit approximately one million[8] people through the adoption of a transformative, climate risk-informed ICZM approach for Liberia, with the first phase of implementation focused on the Monrovia Metropolitan Area (MMA). The combination of direct and indirect beneficiaries under this project will ultimately confer adaptation benefits on one quarter of the total population of Liberia.




[1] In this proposal, ‘Monrovia’ and the ‘Monrovian Metropolitan Area’ (MMA) are used interchangeably to refer to the jurisdictional or administrative entity of the MMA.

[2] the estuary of the Mesurado River

[3] 2008 to 2018

[4] See Annex 2.B (Vulnerability Sub-assessment) for Economic and Financial Analysis of Monrovia Metropolitan Area, and specifically West Point.

[5] Stabilising or ‘fixing’ the shoreline by means of a rock revetment is the preferred solution to coastal erosion at West Point by both the Government of Libera and affected communities. This approach also represents the most socially sensitive design because it requires low-to-no maintenance while still accommodating boat launching and landing. A rubble mound revetment with rock armour, which is able to withstand extreme wave conditions and storm events, is proposed. The Engineering Sub-assessment Report (Annex 2.C) showed that the northern portion of the proposed revetment is a less dynamic wave environment, and the conceptual design for this portion of the intervention site consequently proposes lighter rock armour. The ‘toe’ of the structure will consist of a resistant geotextile and will be anchored in the existing beach sediment to a level of 5m below mean sea-level to account for future deepening of the area directly in front of the revetment. A six-metre wide promenade, for access to the shoreline and recreation activities, is proposed between the revetment and existing dwellings at West Point. Two boat launching and landing sites are proposed as part of the preferred option at the southern end and centre of the revetment, respectively. These launch and landing sites will be provided in addition to the open beach area to the north of the proposed revetment, where fishing boats are already launching and landing. Further details on the stakeholder engagement process that led to this decision is available in Annex 2.A Feasibility Study, Section 10.2 Analysis of coastal defence options.

[6] Recognising the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, all project activities will operate strictly within government mandated regulations and best practices. All government directives, such as lockdowns and mandatory quarantine will be adhered to, as will any restrictions on travel, organisation of events or sizes of meetings and workshops.

[7] Further information on the exit strategy and sustainability of the proposed project can be found in Section B.6.

[8] Direct benefits will accrue at the site-specific scale, whereas indirect benefits will accrue at the municipal scale — i.e. the population of MMA, which is estimated at one million people.

 

Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Output 1: Protection of coastal communities and infrastructure at West Point against erosion caused by sea-level rise and increasingly frequent high-intensity storms.

Activity 1.1: Prepare construction plan and finalise technical design specifications for coastal defence structure at West Point.

Activity 1.2: Construct coastal defence structure to protect West Point against climate change-induced coastal erosion.
 

Output 2: Institutional capacity building and policy support for the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) across Liberia.

Activity 2.1: Develop an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan for Liberia.

Activity 2.2: Capacitate the Cross-Sectoral Working Group to mainstream ICZM into relevant government sectors through a Training-of-Trainers approach.

Activity 2.3: Strengthen the asset base and technical capacity of the ICZMU for the collection of spatial and biophysical coastal information to support the implementation of the ICZMP.

Activity 2.4: Strengthen the existing Environmental Knowledge Management System (EKMS) to act as a platform for awareness-raising and sharing of climate risk-informed ICZM approach.

Activity 2.5: Conduct an awareness-raising campaign for communities in focus areas on climate change impacts and adaptation practices.


Output 3: Protecting mangroves and strengthening gender- and climate-sensitive livelihoods to build local climate resilience in Monrovia.

Activity 3.1: Establish a community education and innovation centre to function as a community knowledge generation and learning hub, a repository on climate change adaptation practices and host community activities under Output 3.

Activity 3.2: Establish community-led co-management agreement to ease anthropogenic pressure on mangroves in the MMA.

Activity 3.3: Conduct annual assessments to evaluate the project-induced changes in mangrove degradation, community perceptions and awareness of climate change impacts, adaptation options and mangrove ecosystems throughout the project implementation period.

Activity 3.4: Establish small-scale manufacturing facilities and develop training material to capacitate community members to manufacture and sell cookstoves to support alternative climate-resilient livelihoods.

Activity 3.5: Purchase and install low-maintenance eco-friendly cold storage facilities near fish processing sites to reduce pressure on mangroves and increase market efficiency

Contacts: 
UNDP
Muyeye Chambwera
Regional Technical Advisor
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Location: 
News and Updates: 

                                                     

 

 

Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 
Output 1: Protection of coastal communities and infrastructure at West Point against erosion caused by sea-level rise and increasingly frequent high-intensity storms.
Output 2: Institutional capacity building and policy support for the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) across Liberia.
Output 3: Protecting mangroves and strengthening gender- and climate-sensitive livelihoods to build local climate resilience in Monrovia.

 

Project Dates: 
2021 to 2027
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
March 2021
Description: 
GCF Board Approval
Proj_PIMS_id: 
5739
SDGs: 
SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 13 - Climate Action

Coastal Resilience to Climate Change in Cuba through Ecosystem Based Adaptation – ‘MI COSTA’

The Green Climate Fund-financed “Coastal Resilience to Climate Change in Cuba through Ecosystem Based Adaptation – ‘MI COSTA’” project responds to the coastal adaptation needs of Cuba due to climate-change related slow onset events such as sea level rise and flooding arising from extreme weather events. Impacts from these climate drivers are a matter of national security for the people of this small-island state and pose an existential threat to coastal settlements and communities. Projections show that if no intervention is made by 2100, up to 21 coastal communities will disappear with a further 98 being severely affected by climate related threats (flooding, coastal erosion and saline intrusion).

Cuba’s Southern Coast has been selected due its high vulnerability to climate change particularly in the form of coastal flooding and saline intrusion. 1,300 km of coastline, 24 communities, and 1.3 million people will directly benefit from the project. In protecting life on land and below the water, 11,427 ha of mangroves, 3,088 ha of swamp forest and 928 ha of grass swamp will be restored, which in turn will improve the health of 9,287 ha of seagrass beds and 134 km or coral reef crests.

The project will enhance adaptive capacity by holistically rehabilitating coastal land-seascapes, their interlinked ecosystems and hydrology. This will be achieved by rehabilitating ecosystem functions and connections within mangroves and swamp forests and reducing anthropic pressures to marine coastal ecosystems, thus enhancing the services supplied by integrated coastal ecosystems (particularly protection from saline flooding and erosion, and channelling freshwater to coastal areas and aquifers). It will also strengthen the adaptive capabilities of coastal governments and communities´ by building their capacity to utilize and understand the benefits of ecosystem-based adaptation, enhancing information flow between stakeholders and strengthening the regulatory framework for territorial management in coastal areas.

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Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (-78.594726920422 20.988793500139)
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$23,927,294
Co-Financing Total: 
US$20,371,935 (US$16,242,488 MINAG, US$2,696,376 CITMA, US$1,435,071 INRH)
Project Details: 

Climate change impacts and threats

The Cuban archipelago’s location in the Caribbean, places it in the path of frequent tropical storms, and the long, narrow configuration of the country is such that no part of the country is very far from the sea (over 57% of the population lives in coastal municipalities).*

Coastal municipalities and their respective settlements are also extremely vulnerable to climate change (CC) due to increased storms and rising sea levels, resulting in increased coastal flooding caused by extreme meteorological phenomena such as tropical cyclones, extratropical lows, and strong winds from surges. From 2001 to 2017, the country has been affected by 12 hurricanes 10 which have been intense (category 4 or 5), the highest rate in a single decade since 1791. In the past 10 years the percentage of intense hurricanes affecting the country has risen from a historical average of 26% to 78% with accompanying acute losses. These intense hurricanes impacting Cuba since 2001 coincide with very high sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical Atlantic recorded since 1998.

The coasts of Cuba in the past three decades have also seen an increase in the occurrence of moderate and strong floods as a result of tropical cyclones and of extratropical systems; with extratropical cyclones being associated with the highest rates of flooding in the country.  Furthermore, warm Pacific El Niño events lead to an increase in extra-tropical storms which increase the risks of flooding along the coastline.

CC induced Sea Level Rise (SLR) will aggravate coastal flooding affecting in particular low-lying coastal areas. It is expected that through SLR, mean sea level will increase by 0.29 m by the year 2050 and between 0.22m and 0.95m by the year 2100 impacting 119 coastal settlements in Cuba. Combining increased storm surge and projected SLR, flooding of up to 19,935 km² (CC + Category 5 hurricane) and 2,445 km² (CC + normal conditions) can be expected by the year 2050.

These estimates could be higher when compounded by the impact of surface water warming on the speed of storms, and new research that links it to increased wave heights in the Caribbean. Under this scenario, storms could be more frequent and move at a slower pace thus increasing the impact on island states such as Cuba.

CMIP5 projections indicate that by 2050, mean annual temperature in Cuba will rise by a median estimate of 1.6°C; total annual extremely hot days (temperature >35°C) will rise by a median estimate of 20 days (RCP 4.5) and 20.8 days (RCP 8.5). Associated increases in potential evapotranspiration will further lead to more frequent severe droughts, as already observable in eastern Cuba.

Cuban coastal seascapes and landscapes are a succession of ecosystems that have coevolved under current climatic conditions, including current distributions of extreme events. The progression of coral reefs, seagrass meadows, beaches, coastal mangroves and forest or grassland swamps represents an equilibrium that confers resilience to each ecosystem separately but also to the coast as a whole. The current resilience of Cuban coastal ecosystems to extreme events and SLR, is being undermined by both climate change effects (increased extreme events) and other anthropogenic pressures, tempering their capacity to provide their protective services. Mangroves have further suffered high levels of degradation affecting their ability to colonize new areas, reduce wave impacts, accrete sediments and stabilize shorelines. Additionally, coral reefs have shown signs of bleaching and degradation that have been attributed to mangrove and sea grass degradation (including the alteration of hydrological natural flows, presence of invasive species, water contamination, and habitat destruction), climate-related increases in surface water temperature and to increased impacts of hurricanes.

SLR will further increase current vulnerabilities and stresses on ecosystems due to increases in water depth and wave energy which will increase coastal erosion, coastal flooding and saline intrusion risks.

Coastal erosion

Current coastal erosion rates are attributed to a combination of natural dynamics (waves, currents, extreme events, hurricanes, etc.) and human interventions (natural resources extraction, wetlands filling, coastal infrastructure construction excluding natural dynamics, habitat loss, water diversion, etc). An increase in the magnitude of extreme events and increasing SLR will accelerate erosion related to natural processes, which currently averages 1.2 m/year (calculated between 1956-2002). This erosion rate poses a danger to communities, infrastructure and natural habitats that are not tolerant to saline intrusion and provide services to landward communities.

Flooding

Coastal flooding as a combination of high rainfall, high sea levels and storm surges has been identified as one of the primary climate change related threats to Cuba. Trends in the frequency of coastal floods during the period 1901-2011 have been observed in Cuba with the past three decades seeing an increase in the occurrence of moderate and strong floods, regardless of the meteorological events that generate them. Specific impacts and the extent of resulting damages depend on local bathymetry and topography, seabed roughness and coastal vegetation coverage and conditions, with the coastal regions of La Coloma- Surgidero de Batabano and Jucaro-Manzanillo being particularly vulnerable.

Hurricanes have also extensively damaged infrastructure. Hurricane Matthew, which crossed the eastern end of Cuba in October 2016, caused USD 97.2 million of damages (approximately 2.66% of GDP), making it the third most devastating hurricane to hit the island in the last decade, only behind Ike (2008) and Sandy (2012), with equivalent costs of USD 293 million (12.05% of GDP) and USD 278 million (9.53 % of GDP) respectively.

Saline intrusion

Saline intrusion into aquifers is the most common and extensive cause of freshwater degradation in Cuba’s coastal zones. Most of these aquifers, located near and beneath the northern and southern coasts, are open to the sea, making them very susceptible and exposed to saline intrusion as a result of SLR, and potentially leading to water that is too saline for human consumption and increasing the salinization of agricultural fields.  It is estimated that approximately 544,300 ha in the area of proposed interventions are already affected by saline intrusion.

Drought

Drought has been identified among the most important climate risks for all Caribbean islands, including Cuba. There has been an increase in drought events in the period 1961-1990 when compared to 1931-1960.  Severe droughts have been increasing in eastern Cuba and are projected to increase in the future. Future projections indicate a general reduction in rainfall by 2070 (particularly along the Eastern Coastline), along with an average reduction in relative humidity between 2% and 6% between 2030 and 2070, respectively. Reduced rainfall occurring mostly during the summer rainy season, with relatively smaller increases in winter and dry season rainfall. This situation adds an increase pressure on the aquifers, which cannot be filled by just one tropical storm, or during the rainy season.

Vulnerability Southern Coast of Cuba, project target site 

Cuba’s coastal ecosystems have been extensively studied through extensive research led by The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA), the Environmental Agency (AMA) and the Scientific Institute for the Sea (ICIMAR). ICIMAR’s research on coastal dynamics and vulnerability is the foundation for Cuba’s National Environmental Strategy (NES) and its State Plan for Facing Climate Change (“Tarea Vida”, 2017) which outlined coastal areas in eminent danger as national priority.

A research-based CC vulnerability ranking (high, medium, and low) was designed considering a combination of factors: geological, geomorphological and ecosystem degradation highlighting that vulnerability to sea-level rise and associated events is higher in the country’s low-lying coasts. Settlements in these areas are more vulnerable to SLR and more likely to be affected by extreme weather events (hurricanes, tropical storms) because of their low elevation, largely flat topography, extensive coastal plains and the highly permeable karstic geology that underlies it; hence more exposed and susceptible to flooding and saline intrusion. These areas have been targeted as the project’s area of intervention, prioritized within “Tarea Vida,” with attention being paid to two coastal "stretches" totaling approximately 1,300 km of coastline and 24 municipalities covering 27,320 km2.

Main localities for direct intervention of EBA include settlements with high vulnerability to coastal flooding, facing saline intrusion and with a contribution to economic life including those with major fishing ports for shrimp and lobster. Settlements with coastal wetlands that represent a protective barrier for important agricultural production areas to reduce the effects of saline intrusion on the underground aquifers and agricultural soils where also considered.

Southern Coastal Ecosystems

Coastal ecosystems in the targeted coastal stretches are characterized mainly by low, swampy and mangrove-lined shores surrounded by an extensive, shallow submarine platform, bordered by numerous keys and coral reefs. In these areas mangroves and marshes could potentially act as protective barriers against storm surges, winds and waves and therefore reduce coastal erosion, flooding and salt intrusion associated risks. These ecosystems can keep pace with rising seas depending on sediment budgets, frequency of disturbances, colonization space, and ecosystem health.

There are numerous reported functional relationships between coastal and marine ecosystems, including sediment binding and nutrient absorption, which combined with water retention, create equilibrium dynamics and coastal stability. Freshwater infiltration is favored by swamp forests reducing saline intrusion risk and organic matter exchange facilitates favorable conditions for healthy seagrass beds and coral reefs. Restoration of these fluxes and connections is required to increase these ecosystems resilience to a changing climate and strengthening their protective role.

Coastal ecosystems and their complex interconnections provide a variety of services to communities, including coastal protection and disaster risk reduction. These services can be enhanced with healthy ecosystems, functional connections and when adequately integrated into land/marine planning policies.

Project focus

The project will focus on actions along Cuba’s Southern Coast that has been selected due its high vulnerability to climate change (open aquifers, low lying coastal plain, degraded ecosystems and concentration of settlements), particularly to storms, drought and sea level rise, which result in coastal flooding and saline intrusion.

Targeted shores cover approximately 89,520 hectares of mangroves (representing 16.81% of the country's mangroves) followed by 60,101 hectares of swamp grasslands and 28,146 hectares of swamp forests. These in turn will contribute to improving 9,287 ha of seagrass and 134 km of coral reefs and their respective protective services.

There is evidence of reef crests degradation which in turn could cause significant wave damage in both mangroves and sea grasses reducing further their ability to offer protection against the effects of CC on the coast of Cuba.

Restoration of degraded red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) strips along the coastal edges, in stretches 1 and 2, is crucial. During wind, storms and hurricane seasons, the sea has penetrated more than 150 meters inland in these areas, exposing areas dominated by black or white mangroves, which are less tolerant to hyper-saline conditions, potentially becoming more degraded. During stakeholder consultations, communities highlighted the consequent loss of infrastructure and reduced livelihood opportunities (both fisheries and agriculture).

Coastal Stretch 1: La Coloma – Surgidero de Batabanó (271 km – 13,220 km2)

This stretch is made up of  3 provinces (Pinar del Rio, Artemisa and MAyabeque) and 13 municipalities (San Juan y Martinez, San Luis, Pinar del Rio, Consolacion del Sur, Los Palacios, San Cristobal, Candelaria, Artemisa, Alquizar, Guira de Melena, Batabano, Melena del Sur and Guines). The main localities along this stretch are: (1) La Coloma in Pinar del Rio Province; (2) Beach Cajío in Artemisa province; and, (3) Surgidero Batabanó in Mayabeque Province.  

The vulnerability assessment concluded that, by 2100, 5 communities in this stretch could disappeared due to SLR. Extreme events, waves’ strength and salinity have also been identified in this area; hence appropriate adaptation measures need to be in place to reduce the impact.

These risks are being exacerbated by the impacts of ecosystem degradation related to changes in land use, pollution past logging, grey infrastructure and inappropriate measures of coastal protection in the past, urbanization, and the reduction of water and sediments flows.

The impact of saline intrusion into the karstic aquifer is particularly troubling along this coastal stretch with important implications at a national level, as the main aquifer, in the southern basin which supplies water to the targeted coastal communities and agriculture, is also an important source of fresh water to the capital, Havana. To address the issue of saline intrusion in this area, the GoC has experimented with grey infrastructure (The Southern Dike), a 51.7 km levee built in 1991 aiming to accumulate runoff fresh water to halt the infiltration of saline water in the interior of the southern aquifer. The USD 51.3 million investment, with maintenance costs of USD 1.5 million every 3 years and a once-off USD 15 million (20 years after it was built), had a positive effect in partially containing the progress of the saline wedge. However, the impact of the dike resulted in the degradation of mangroves in its northern shore reducing the mangroves function to protect the coastline.

Coastal Stretch 2: Jucaro- Manzanillo (1029 km – 14,660 km2)

This stretch is comprised by 4 provinces (Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas and Granma) and 11 muncipalities (Venezuela, Baragua, Florida, Vertientes, Santa Cruz del Sur, Amancio Rodriguez, Colombia, Jobabo, Rio Cauto, Yara and Manzanillo).The main localities to intervene along this stretch include (1) Júcaro in Ciego de Avila Province; (2) Santa Cruz del Sur in Camagüey Province; (3) Manzanillo in Gramma Province (4) Playa Florida.

The communities in this coastal area are located within extensive coastal wetlands dominated by mangroves, swamp grasslands and swamp forest.

Water reservoirs for irrigation have reduced the water flow towards natural ecosystems, it has also been directed towards agricultural lands altering the natural flow indispensable for ecosystems.

Mangroves have been highly impacted by degradation and fragmentation, which has undermined their role in protecting the beach and human populations from extreme hydro-meteorological events, saline intrusion and coastal erosion. Only 6% of mangroves are in good condition, while 91% are in a fair state, and 3% are highly degraded. Wetlands in the prairie marshes have begun to dry due to a combination of climate drivers and land use management with a direct impact in reducing their water retention and infiltration capacity.

Coral crests of the area’s broad insular platform, have been classified as very deteriorated or extremely deteriorated and it is predicted that if no intervention on the sources of degradation from the island, is made, they will disappear by 2100. Reef elimination will increase communities’ flood risk to potentially settlements disappearing.

Saline intrusion is becoming increasingly significant in this area due to a combination of CC-related SLR and the overexploitation of aquifers.

Climate change vulnerability is exacerbated by construction practices (such as people building small shops and walkways) along the shoreline where fully exposed infrastructure can be found within flood zones, between the coast and the coastal marsh. This situation is aggravated by the limited knowledge of local actors and a false sense of security that was perceived during community consultations.

Baseline investment projects

Traditionally, Cuba´s tropical storms response and management strategies have focused on emergency preparation and attendance rather than on planning for disaster risk reduction. The GoC has successfully introduced early warning mechanisms and clear emergency protocols to reduce the impact of storms in the loss of lives. The development of Centres for Risk Reduction Management (CGRR) has also been successful in mobilizing local actors when storms are predicted to hit ensuring that emergency resources are available to address storms’ immediate impacts. While these are important steps in the face of an immediate emergency, they are insufficient to manage multiple ongoing threats (some of slow consequence of climate change).

In 2017, GoC approved its State Plan to Face Climate Change (“Tarea Vida”) in which identified and prioritized the impacts of saline intrusion, flooding and extreme events to the country coastal zones, focusing strategic actions for the protection of vulnerable populations and of key resources including protective ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs. The GoC has begun to look into various strategies to mainstream local adaptation initiatives using existing successful national mechanisms for capacity building and knowledge transfer and international cooperation best practices.

Initial investments made by the GoC have identified the country´s climate vulnerability, including drought and SLR vulnerability and hazard risk assessment maps. The development of the “Macro-project on Coastal Hazards and Vulnerability (2050-2100)”, focused on these areas´ adaptation challenges including oceanographic, geophysical, ecological and infrastructure features, together with potential risks such as floods, saline intrusion and ocean acidification. Cross-sectoral information integration was a key tool to identify climate risks and potential resources (existing instruments, institutions, knowledge, etc) to manage it. While this is an important foundation it has yet to be translated into concrete actions often as a result of lack of technical equipment.

International cooperation has financed projects that have further allowed the GoC to innovate on various institutional mechanisms such as the Capacity Building Centres (CBSCs) and Integrated Coastline Management Zones through active capacity building incorporating municipal and sectoral needs. Table 1 summarizes the most relevant baseline projects and highlights key results, lessons learned, and gaps identified. The proposed project aims to address such gaps, and incremental GCF financing is required to efficiently achieve efficient climate resilience in the target coastal sites.

* Footnotes and citations are made available in the project documents.

Expected Key Results and Outputs: 

Output 1: Rehabilitated coastal ecosystems for enhanced coping capacity to manage climate impacts.

1.1 Assess and restore coastal wetland functions in target sites by reestablishing hydrological processes  

1.2 Mangrove and swamp forest rehabilitation through natural and assisted regeneration for enhanced coastal protection

1.3 Record and asses coastal and marine ecosystems‘ natural regeneration and protective functions based on conditions provided through restored coastal wetlands

1.4 Enhance water conduction systems along targeted watersheds to restore freshwater drainage in coastal ecosystems and aquifers to reduce and monitor saline intrusion in target sites

Output 2: Increased technical and institutional capacity to climate change adaptation in coastal communities, governments and economic sectors.

2.1 Develop a climate adaptation technical capacity building program for coastal communities and local stakeholders to enable adaptation actions and capacities

2.2 Integrate project derived information,  from EWS  and national datasets into a Knowledge Management Platform, to provide climate information products to monitor, evaluate and inform coastal communities on local capacity to manage climate change impacts.

2.3 Mainstream EBA approaches into regulatory and planning frameworks at the territorial and national levels for long term sustainability of EBA conditions and investments for coastal protection

Output 3: Project Management

3..1 Project Management

Contacts: 
UNDP
Montserrat Xilotl
Regional Technical Advisor
Location: 
Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Output 1: Rehabilitated coastal ecosystems for enhanced coping capacity to manage climate impacts.

Output 2: Increased technical and institutional capacity to climate change adaptation in coastal communities, governments and economic sectors.

Output 3: Project management.

Project Dates: 
2021 to 2028
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
March 2021
Description: 
Project Approval
SDGs: 
SDG 13 - Climate Action
SDG 14 - Life Below Water
SDG 15 - Life On Land