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Oxfam Southern Africa Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (Mozambique)

Submitted by Michael Rastall 2nd April 2014 11:02

Flooding in Mozambique ©noticieromilamex

Project description

SEI's work is informing Oxfam's regional strategy for mainstreaming climate considerations into their programming for poverty reduction. SEI also worked at the local level to understand perceptions of risk and existing responses to climate stressors through a gender lens, and mapped the institutional landscape at the national level to identify government, donor and NGO activities on climate change and disaster risk reduction, with a view to Oxfam's engagement. We reviewed the climate science for the region, focusing on Mozambique.

Key findings

Local understanding of climate variability and change: 

  • In Mozambique, people are aware of the cyclical nature of droughts and big flood events. All interviewees noted the observed changes in frequency and intensity of these events, though with some variation in the length of the cycles. Local groups have noted that they have had to change their crop cycles to adapt to the changing rainfall by planting two months earlier and that crop failure is a constant risk. People also make reference to more frequent and intense cyclone activity based on the occurrence of several category 4 cyclones in less than 3 years.

Linking climate and livelihoods: 

  • In Mozambique there is a resettlement approach, that moves people from transition camps to final resettlement centres after extreme events but this needs major improvement. It is necessary to develop resettlement approaches that allow farmers to use the farmland in the lower fields during the non-critical months of the year (i.e., when floods and cyclones are not common), and relocate during the times of the year when life on the floodplains is unbearable. The relocation of communities to less vulnerable areas is an issue that requires special consideration. A recent Oxfam study indicates that the resettlement process and transition camps often do not have crucial services accessible, such as education and health. In addition, the resettlement process, many stakeholders believe, has been challenged by limited fertility of soils where communities are resettled, forcing many communities to move back to the floodplains after floodwater retreat for farming.

Links to disaster risk reduction: 
  • In Mozambique, the concept of disaster risk reduction is widely used. Widespread use of the concept provides an opportunity to illustrate one type of adaptation that is already occurring. However, it is important that disaster risk reduction strategies are not relied on as the only response to climate change. Although the impact of disasters is expected to increase, there are also more gradual climate trends that need to be addressed. These more gradual changes, such as change in annual Communities and climate adaptation rainfall amounts for example, require adaptation to focus on a range of adaptations and not just disaster risk reduction.