DAC UNISDR-funded city-to-city exchange: Durban and Nacala

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The return exchange visit of the UNISDR-funded series, by Nacala to Durban, was concluded on 27 and 28th September, and was attended by Councillor Evaristo Simoco and Mr Momade Amade. During the exchange, the delegation focussed upon the partnership between Durban and its National Port Authority, community-based river rehabilitation projects and the establishment of transdisciplinary partnerships. From this second exchange, a plan of action was developed for Nacala.

At the core of Nacala’s climate change response will be the establishment of a multi-stakeholder forum with the Nacala-Porto local government and Porte du Norte (harbour authority) as initiators. The forum should include representation from Mozambican provincial and national government (given the strategic importance of Nacala), academia, local industry, relevant organisations and communities. The aim of the forum is to coordinate environmental management and ravine rehabilitation through community-based programmes to reduce vulnerability in said communities and drive Nacala’s adaptation agenda. The proposed Community Ravine Rehabilitation Programme (CRRP) is consistent with the DAC Hub and Compact approach and will realise multiple co-benefits as described above. Most importantly, it will provide a mechanism to engage communities around inappropriate development to prevent further degradation of sensitive environmental areas. This forum could effectively become a standing agenda item on the Compact of Coastal Cities in Mozambique.

There already exists, within Nacala, the expertise to successfully complete ravine rehabilitation programmes, for example in Mucuaipa and Ontupaia. What is required, is funding support to enable the large scale rehabilitation programmes to be completed. The programme should be community-based, where adjacent communities are encouraged to grow plants that will be used for the stabilisation of ravine sides and floors, like vetiver grasses and the trees used in Mucuaipa. Where necessary, gabions should be deployed to slow flood waters and stabilise ravine floors. Retrofitting already developed areas with storm water control measures like rain water harvesting and flow attenuation upstream through Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) and natural vegetation should be prioritised to mitigate the source of the problem. These actions should result in reduction of the erosion and sedimentation rates in the harbour, rehabilitation of the ravines, avoided loss of operational time in the port and benefits for the local community. There is opportunity for carbon sequestration co-benefits, as in Durban’s Buffelsdraai programme. Rehabilitation could be followed by a self-funded maintenance programme where it could be shown that avoided losses (costs) from erosion and flooding are greater than the cost of recovering from events currently being experienced (and future increases in the severity of such events). This funding could be sourced from partners in the multi-stakeholder forum. The research programme should monitor and evaluate this process to provide learning outcomes to improve programme implementation, but also to be included in the global stocktake of 2023. In this way, the programme can contribute to Mozambique’s Nationally Determine Contributions within the Paris Agreement.

Given that Nacala has identified tourism as a key part of its master plan, effort should be put into avoiding environmental impacts in sensitive areas, and pollution generally. The Master plan should identify, through processes like systematic conservation planning, critical biodiversity and ecosystem provision areas, and appropriate land should be identified for conservation and environmentally sensitive development for an ecotourism industry. A community-based environmental reporting system should be established as a part of a citizen science programme. This can start simply by using smartphones to report incidents of pollution; including where and when they occur and what was observed. This ambition of this system can be increased to include the employment of smartphone social applications. Nacala should identify the appropriate official in the environmental department to drive this process. Once again, the research partnership should play a pivotal role here.

Broad and ongoing communication of the establishment and implementation of the multi-stakeholder forum is strongly encouraged. This will have the benefit of raising awareness about the issue of climate change, leverage political support, and help keep communities complying with maintenance programme objectives. Nacala should report its efforts through the Compact of Mayors and within its national and local reporting framework, as well as brief input into the DAC Annual Report.

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