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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.

English
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

Integrated climate-resilient transboundary flood risk management in the Drin River basin in the Western Balkans (Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro)

The Drin River Basin (DRB) is a transboundary river basin, which is home to 1.6 million people and extends across, Kosovo*, the Former Yugoslav Republic Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece. Climate change and climate variability have been increasing the frequency, intensity and impact of flooding in the basin. Historical flood data from the Western Balkans suggests a more frequent occurrence of flood events, attributed to an uneven distribution of precipitation and torrential rain, particularly over the last decade. More and larger areas - and more people - are being affected by flooding with a strong impact on national economies. Future climate scenarios project a further increase in the likelihood of floods as well as in their destructive nature. Increased frequency and intensity of floods and droughts, increased water scarcity, intensified erosion and sedimentation, increased intensity of snow melt, sea level rise, and damage to water quality and ecosystems are forecasted. Moreover, climate change impacts on water resources will have cascading effects on human health and many parts of the economy and society, as various sectors directly depend on water such as agriculture, energy and hydropower, navigation, health, tourism – as does the environment.

The objective of the "Integrated climate-resilient transboundary flood risk management in the Drin River basin in the Western Balkans (Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro)" project is to assist the riparian countries in the implementation of an integrated climate-resilient river basin flood risk management approach in order to improve their existing capacity to manage flood risk at regional, national and local levels and to enhance resilience of vulnerable communities in the DRB to climate-induced floods. The countries will benefit from a basin-wide transboundary flood risk management (FRM) framework based on: improved climate risk knowledge and information; improved transboundary cooperation arrangements and policy framework for FRM and; concrete FRM interventions.

* References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)

English
Level of Intervention: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (20.442993079765 40.096002692086)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
1.6 million people
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$9,927,750
Project Details: 

Climate change impacts

Climate change is already having an impact and is likely to intensify in the future. According to the national communications to UNFCCC from Albania, Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as to the report ‘The state of water in Kosovo’, climate change will have serious negative impacts in the Drin river basin including increased frequency and intensity of floods and droughts, increased water scarcity, intensified erosion and sedimentation, increased intensity of snow melt, sea level rise, and damage to water quality and ecosystems. Moreover, climate change impacts on water resources will have cascading effects on human health and many parts of the economy and society, as various sectors directly depend on water such as agriculture, energy and hydropower, navigation, health, tourism –as does the environment.

The DRB countries are increasingly exposed to the impact of climate change. They are experiencing increased periods of extreme heat in the summer months and increased rainfall during the cooler seasons. According to long-term projections, the average annual temperature will increase by 2° C to 3° C by 2050 and precipitation will decrease in the summer, resulting in longer dry periods followed by more sudden heavy rainfalls. This combination increases the likelihood of floods as well as their destructive nature.

Historical flood data from the Western Balkans suggests a more frequent occurrence of flood events, characterized by more extreme and more rapid increase in water levels, attributed to an uneven distribution of precipitation and torrential rain, particularly over the last decade. More and larger areas and, therefore, a greater population numbers are being affected by flooding with a strong impact on national economies.

In Albania, climate change projections indicate the intensification of heavy precipitation and an increase in the frequency of heavy rains with longer duration, causing flooding and economic damages. There is already evidence of increasing frequency of high intensity rainfall, which is increasing pluvial or flash flooding which inundates the floodplain in a matter of hours. In winter, longer duration rainfall causes flooding which lasts for several weeks during the winter period while long-duration spring rainfall combines with snowmelt to cause flooding. Flood risk is a combination of river flooding and coastal flooding due to sea water inundation (storm surges), both of which are increasing with climate change.

According to available climate change projections for Montenegro, there will be a sharp increase in variability of river flow, characterized by increased frequency and intensity of flooding and hydrological drought. In addition, coastal flooding and storm surges will also significantly increase. During this period the area of low air pressure develops in the coastal region of Montenegro and has a wide impact causing maximum precipitation in the southern areas. In the karst areas, during spring, there are periodic floods due to longer periods of precipitation, melting snow and high groundwater levels. Such floods have impacted the Cetinje plain several times and have caused severe damage to the buildings there.

The First and Second National Communications on Climate Change for FYR Macedonia outlined a number of scenarios related to water resources. The findings included a projection of a 15% reduction in rainfall by 2050, with a drastic decrease in runoff in all river basins. Although the long-term projection is for increased temperatures and a decrease in sums of precipitation, the past period studied shows significant climate variability with increased precipitation. The proportion of winter precipitation received as rain instead of snow is increasing. Such shifts in the form and timing of precipitation and runoff are of concern to flood risk.

Project details

The AF-financed project will build resilience of communities and livelihoods in the Drin Basin to climate-induced floods by catalyzing a shift to a holistic basin-wide climate-responsive flood risk management and adaptation approaches based on enhanced climate information, risk knowledge, and community structural and non-structural adaptationmeasures.

The proposed integrated approach to climate resilient flood risk management will encompass: a increased technical, human and financial capacities of relevant institutions within each Riparian country, with responsibility for flood risk monitoring, forecasting and management to enable implementation of climate resilient Integrated Flood Risk Management (IFRM). This would include strengthening of the a. hydrometric monitoring network, risk mapping, flood hazard and risk modelling capacity; b.an enhanced policy and risk financing framework for flood risk management based on enhanced understanding of climate risks; c.climate-proof and cost-effective investment into flood protection through enhanced capacities to design and implement structural and non-structural flood risk management measures, and to provide effective flood risk reduction measures to the population; d. enhanced awareness, response and adaptation capacity of the population; engaging private sector into climate information management and risk reduction investment.

The objective of the project is to assist the riparian countries in the implementation of an integrated climate-resilient river basin flood risk management approach in order to improve their existing capacity to manage flood risk at regional, national and local levels and to enhance resilience of vulnerable communities in the DRB to climate-induced floods. The countries will benefit from a basin-wide transboundary flood risk management (FRM) framework based on: improved climate risk knowledge and information; improved transboundary cooperation arrangements and policy framework for FRM and; concrete FRM interventions. 100.As a result, the Adaptation Fund project will improve the resilience of 1.6 million people living in the DRB (direct and indirect beneficiaries). 101.The project will contribute to the strengthening of the current flood forecasting and early warning system by increasing the density of the hydrometric network, and by digitizing historical data for stations not currently in the existing forecasting model. The project will develop and implement transboundary integrated FRM strategies providing the national authorities with robust and innovative solutions for FRM, DRR and climate adaptation, including ecosystem-based gender sensitive participatory approaches. In addition, the project will develop the underlying capacity of national and regional institutions to ensure sustainability and to scale up the results. It will support stakeholders by providing guidance, sharing climate information, knowledge and best practices. The project will also invest in the priority structural and community-based non-structural measures. Importantly, the project is aligned with and will support the implementation of the EU Floods Directive (EUFD) in DRB countries.102.The AF project will build upon experience of Regional UNDP/GEF Drin project (see baseline initiatives section above) and otherprojects25,26in the region and will include the following innovations:1) introduction of international best practice in flood hazard and risk assessment, modelling and mapping in line with EUFD; 2) innovative mix of structural and non-structural interventions based on climate risk-informed design; 3) agro-forestry measures and community-based flood resilience schemes. The socio-economic benefits include reduced damages and losses and improved food production (through protection of agricultural land). This will have direct and indirect livelihood protection and potential income generation benefits. Climate risk informed planning of the hydropower sector is important to enhance hydropower operations to include transboundary climate-induced flood risk management, thus ensuring the continued sustainable development of the hydropower sector which will help continue the shift to clean energy in the region. Climate risk information will also safeguard critical infrastructure assets such as transportation (roads and bridges) which are critical to the economic development and functioning of communities. Environmental benefits include improved ecosystem functions through better spatial planning and non-structural measures such as agro-forestry, which will provide water retention functions, regulation of hydrological flows (buffer runoff, soil infiltration, groundwater recharge, maintenance of base flows), natural hazard mitigation (e.g. flood prevention, peak flow reduction, soil erosion and landslide control), increased riverbed stabilization resulting in decreased erosion, habitat preservation, and reforestation. This project will directly benefit the most vulnerable parts of the population and will have significant gender co-benefits which will be ensured through close collaboration with a gender expert dedicated to ensuring that gender considerations are a key part of any consultation or activity planning process. Flooding and disasters in general, impact women disproportionately and the project will ensure that these differential impacts are taken account in all project interventions.

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Location: 
Project Status: 
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Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Component 1: Hazard and Risk Knowledge Management Tools

Component 2: Transboundary institutional, legislative and policy framework for FRM (Flood Risk Management)

Component 3: Community-based climate change adaptation and FRM interventions

Project Dates: 
2019 to 2024
Timeline: 
Month-Year: 
May 2019
Description: 
Project Launch
Proj_PIMS_id: 
6215
SDGs: 
SDG 13 - Climate Action

SCALA Argentina

Argentina is considered a high-income economy with a GDP of US$600 billion in 2016 and a population of over 44 million. In the last decades, the country has experienced marked growth in its agriculture and food sectors, accounting to 54 percent of its land use, and playing a strategic role in the socio-economic development of the country, with 54 percent of employment. Agriculture and animal husbandry and fragile ecosystems are also especially vulnerable to the intensification of extreme climate events, affecting the production and supply of food on a national and global scale. The country is considered a top emitter for agriculture, forestry and other land use sectors, contributing to 2.1 percent of the global emissions, and with domestic emissions made up of livestock (21.6 percent); agriculture (5.8 percent) and land-use change and forestry (9.8 percent). 

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Region/Country: 
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Coordinates: 
POINT (-65.039062495536 -36.796089507293)
Project Details: 

Argentina’s agriculture is highly innovative and has much to offer in terms of win-win climate actions. It has great potential to scale up actions and production processes that will simultaneously cut mitigate emissions and enhance resilience to improve productivity. Argentina is one of the 100 countries being supported by UNDP’s Climate Promise to enhance their NDCs. The country is also part of FAO’s Sub-Regional Project on "Low Emission Livestock, a contribution to the Sustainable Development of the Sector in South America, and many other projects related to climate management.

The government of Argentina considers the SCALA programme as strong support for the revision of its NAP in the agricultural sector, and to carry out actions that allow the implementation and achievement of the commitments established in the country’s NDC. The programme will leverage participatory methods to address Argentina’s institutional and financial barriers, which allow for a transformative shift in the agriculture and land use sectors. Moreover, to engage and mobilize the private sector to increase its investments in climate action. With the SCALA programme supporting Argentina over the next five years, UNDP and FAO will strive to foster a more inclusive multi-stakeholder process that eventually meets the needs of smallholder farmers, rural communities, women, and youth, who are the most vulnerable to climate change.

 

Project Status: 
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Project Dates: 
2020 to 2025
SDGs: 
SDG 13 - Climate Action
Barriers: 

Argentina faces different types of barriers in achieving its adaptation and mitigation goals. There is a lack of planning for sustainable management of native forests `and agri-food systems. There are gaps in the articulation between managing bodies/ministries, as well as inefficient bureaucratic financing channels and there are difficulties for producers to access financing. The objective of the NAP in Argentina is to carry out the process in a participatory manner across managing bodies and ministries. The process requires economic efforts to ensure the full participation of all representatives and to support them in parallel processes for formulating provincial plans.   

Country Climate Plans: 

In 2016, Argentina submitted its nationally determined contribution (NDC) that identified several agriculture-related priorities. Argentina has prioritized the development of adaptative capacities and the promotion of agriculture’s strategic role as a solution to climate change. In 2020, the country signed the new United Nations Strategic Cooperation Framework (2021-2025) and confirmed its interest to push forward the agenda that seeks to enhance ambition and catalyze action for land-use and agriculture. Argentina submitted its second NDC in December 2020, ratifying a more ambitious commitment to the Paris Agreement and providing a specific and broader role to adaptation, with the national goal of decreasing 19 percent of its total GHG emissions by 2030. The country has committed to elaborate its Long-Term Climate Strategy by the end of 2021.

The key priorities communicated for the agriculture and land-use sector focus mainly on prioritization of adaptation, strengthening the role of agribusiness as a source of solutions to climate change, integrating agro-industrial production and encouraging the development of process and product technologies. To support the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process, Argentina is implementing the Readiness Project for the NAP Process, financed by the Green Climate Fund and implemented by UNDP.

Along with these actions, the country aims to strengths the implementation of Minimum Budgets for the Environmental Protection of Native Forests, as well as achieve a substantial reduction in the deforestation rate. To support this goal the country implements the National Forest Management Plan with Integrated Livestock (MBGI), the Forest Watershed Plans and Comprehensive Community Plans (PIC), and the national forest extension system and the Deforestation Early Warning System (SAT). By 2030, the country also expects to deepen the development of fire, flood, and drought prevention measures - of great importance for the agricultural, livestock and forestry sectors.

SCALA Cambodia

The Kingdom of Cambodia is situated in mainland Southeast Asia with a population of over 14 million people, and with approximately 80 percent of this population living in rural areas. In Cambodia – which is ranked the 12th most vulnerable country in the world to climate change by the Global Climate Risk Index 2020 – increases in the frequency of floods, droughts, and windstorms in recent years cost 10 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015 from loss and damages. The agriculture sector makes up a third of GDP and employs 57 percent of the country’s labor force. Approximately 80 percent of the country’s population lives along the Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake, where flooding occurs due to increased water levels between early July and early October. Disruptions to logistical corridors caused by floods have a profound impact on agricultural supply chains, both domestically and for international trade. At the same time, 39 percent of the country's total GHG emissions come from the agriculture and land use sectors. 

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Region/Country: 
Level of Intervention: 
Coordinates: 
POINT (104.58023067979 12.935564448741)
Project Details: 

Cambodia aims to increase adaptive capacity for sectors and communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in the medium-to-long term of its sustainable development. The SCALA programme in Cambodia is being designed to help address several of these barriers through, for example, capacity building and strengthening the evidence base for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation activities. In addition, with support from the SCALA programme, climate change considerations will be integrated into sectoral planning, budgeting and coordination, and linkages with key stakeholders such as the private sector and community-based organizations will be developed. Cambodia will be supported by the SCALA programme until 2025 to strengthen coordination on climate action between ministries, the private sector and community-based organizations to support transformative change in the agriculture and land use sectors in alignment with adaptation and mitigation priorities outlined in the NDC and NAP.

 

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News and Updates: 
Cambodia strengthens climate action coordination with ministries, private sector and community-based organizations

11 November 2021 - The SCALA programme sat down with Dr. Prum Somany, Director at the Department of International Cooperation (DIC) and Assistant to Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to learn about how Cambodia plans to accelerate its adaptation and mitigation goals in the agriculture and land use sector.

Display Photo: 
Project Dates: 
2020 to 2025
SDGs: 
SDG 13 - Climate Action
Barriers: 

A key barrier for climate actions in Cambodia is limited resources: human, technical and financial resources, which could be enhanced with support from development partners and private sector financing.  There is also a need to enhance capacity and technical skills in data and information collection and management, particularly for Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV). In Cambodia, some of the other barriers include limited staff capacity at the sub-national levels for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions, as well as coordination with line ministries and other stakeholders (civil society, community-based organizations, NGOs, and the private sector) to ensure that efforts and resources are concerted, and synergies are leveraged.

Country Climate Plans: 

Cambodia initiated its National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Financing Framework and Implementation Plan in 2017. Cambodia’s developing agri-business environment also needs assistance for enhancing sustainability, and the Cambodia Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (CPSA) is paving the path for the sector, for targeted interventions in its value chains, such as rice, sugar cane, and cassava. Cambodia submitted its updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC in December 2020, which outlined adaptation and mitigation goals in the agriculture and land use sectors. The NDC has 17 prioritized adaptation actions under agriculture, focusing on agribusiness, the development of rice and other cash crops, horticulture, livestock aquaculture production. The NDC adaptation component outlined the need for agriculture support services, capacity building, enhanced institutional arrangements, the development of new technologies and increased research. Cambodia prioritized mitigation actions under the forestry and other land use (FOLU) sectors intending to reduce 50 percent of emissions by 2030 via the REDD+ programme. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and other relevant ministries will also undertake a bio-digester programme as part of the mitigation actions outlined in the updated NDC.