Fisherman pulling a fishing net in water
As a coastal country, Mozambique faces particular threats from climate change.

ESPS II Mozambique

NIRAS supports climate change adaption in Mozambique

Mozambique is among the ten countries most vulnerable to climate change. Through its involvement in the Environment Sector Programme Support (ESPS) project, NIRAS helped the country and people of Mozambique prepare for climate change through a variety of adaption strategies.

Situated in South Eastern Africa, Mozambique is one of the most poverty-stricken countries in the world and one of the top ten countries most vulnerable to climate change. In Mozambique, 60% of the 28 million inhabitants live along the coastline, which also features most of its main urban areas: drivers of economic growth. The agriculture sector is responsible for 25% of the country's GDP and also employs about 80% of its labour force. Mozambicans depend mostly on subsistence farming and fishing for their food, with 95% of their agricultural production being rain-fed, a real concern as far as drought and extreme weather is concerned. About 50% of Mozambique’s protein consumption comes from its coastal fishing, 85% of which is done by small-scale fishermen depending on fishing to survive.

These percentages all stack up when taken into account with institutions that are ill-equipped to handle the effects of global warming, the frequency of extreme weather events, and poverty. Mozambique frequently deals with droughts, flooding, and cyclones due to the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and these events are worsening due to climate change. Added to that are the effects of global warming on fish stocks and rising sea levels when big portions of the country are below sea level.

Half of Mozambique’s population is food insecure, 7 million people chronically so. Economic conditions are set to worsen, as climate change could decrease the country’s GNP by between 4% and 14% by 2050.

In conditions like these, climate change adaption doesn’t only help a country brace for the future. It helps its citizens as soon as it’s implemented.

Providing support to Mozambique’s climate change efforts

DANIDA launched the Environment Sector Programme in 2006 with the goal of supporting Mozambique in its efforts to adapt to climate change. The programme comprised three main components, which were then implemented separately.

The first of these components, which came to a completion last year, was the Environment Sector Programme Support (ESPS), jointly funded by Danida, the European Union, and Irish Aid. The key implementation partners for ESPS were Mozambique’s Ministry for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs (MICOA) and Ministry of Land, Environment, and Rural Development (MITADER), but ESPS also involved other central and decentralized institutions and ministries.

Phase I of ESPS ran from 2006 to 2010. NIRAS provided technical assistance for ESPS Phase II (ESPS II), which had been planned to run from 2011 to 2015, but ended up being extended to 2017 to allow time to consolidate the results and achievements and to ensure a responsible withdrawal of technical assistance.

Model storm-proof house constructed in Mozambique

ESPS II was tasked with three objectives: the mainstreaming of environmental considerations into sector policies and strategies, the institutional development of MICOA and other sector institutions, and the implementation of environment and climate change policies and strategies. The technical assistance team for ESPS II comprised two long-term members, the institutional development advisor and the climate change advisor, as well as a large pool of short-term experts. They were headquartered in the Permanent Secretary's office in MICOA to secure sufficient outreach and visibility in the sector.

To achieve its goals, ESPS II delivered the following services:

  • Strengthened MICOA, including provincial departments (DPCAs), sectors, and other implementing partners in annual planning.
  • Strengthened MICOA’s and 100 implementing partners’ capacities in the planning, budgeting, and execution of activities in the priority areas for environmental management.
  • Assisted MICOA in revising, formulating, and elaborating on environmental strategies and policies, including the National Climate Change Strategy, NAMA, Local Adaptation Plans, REDD+, the National Counter-Erosion Plan, etc.
  • Facilitated the establishment of a monitoring-and-evaluation system, including training on systematic data collection at outcome/impact level and reporting on progress towards achieving environmental indicators. Integrated the results into the State of the Environment Report and prepared indicator fact sheets.
  • Supported the National Council for Sustainable Development (CONDES) in establishing a monitoring system for climate change.
  • Established a database for gas emission to assess progress towards reducing emissions and the vulnerability of populations in high-risk areas. Provided training to staff on data collection methodology.
  • Facilitated discussions with MICOA for a communication strategy.
  • Prepared various visibility actions, including studies to capture lessons learned on climate change adaptation actions. Engaged directly at district and provincial level nationwide, as well as with agencies and ministries to enhance annual planning workshops, to ensure environment and climate change mainstreaming.

These activities resulted in some very important outcomes, including the Government of Mozambique elaborating and approving the National Climate Strategy in 2012, and the implementation of Local Adaption Plans (LAPs). During LAP implementation, ESPS II took a decentralized approach and went to the districts themselves. After extensive community consultation, ESPS II identified key sectors (such as agriculture, water resources, or coastal protection) where adaption interventions were particularly needed. District- and central-level staff from key ministries then created and approved a budgeted action plan for each district. By the end of 2017, 54 out of 144 districts had approved LAPs.

A solar-powered water supply system constructed during ESPS II

ESPS II then furthered the implementation of the LAPs in 11 districts with financial support and technical assistance to small-scale and agricultural projects. Over 30 projects were implemented in the period of 2016–2017, including construction of multi-use solar-powered water supply systems and projects around drought resistant crops, rain water harvesting, storm-proof housing, and fish farming.

The project was so successful it is being replicated in São Tomé e Príncipe in a three-year EU funded project to reduce climate vulnerability. You can read more about that here.