Mozambique workshop builds scientific capacity to assess climate impacts on the water sector
By Carmen Munhequete
Pictured: André Zibia from the National Directorate of Water, Tomas Miuango from the Ministry of Environment and Arcanjo Sandre Árabe from the National Institute of Meteorology are given direction by workshop facilitator Emmanuel Obuobie during a hands-on session on the use of a local-data analysis tool.
From May 21 to June 1, AAP Mozambique hosted a two-week workshop aimed at developing country capacity to undertake integrated assessments of climate change and variability and the impacts these will have on water resources in Mozambique.
The workshop trained scientists in the use of decision-making support tools and regional climate modelling, which together can help provide a better understanding of the impacts a changing climate will have on water resources. These skills are essential for integrated adaptation planning for hydro-meteorological risks and for successful water resources management. Held in Namaacha, a town south of Maputo, the workshop was conducted by a team of international consultants recruited with the support of the AAP Regional Office in Dakar.
The workshop was attended by 21 individuals with diverse technical backgrounds representing eight Mozambican institutions involved in water resources management. The participation of staff from across Mozambique’s water resources management sector was seen to add extra value to the workshop.
‘It was a very important aspect because it allowed for a better understanding of the role and importance of each sector, and above all, the need to make a concerted effort to work together in the resolution of problems related to climate change,’ said Almeida Tembe of Mozambique’s Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition (SETSAN).
Planning for cross-sectoral success
Mozambique isparticularly vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. Management of water resources is therefore crucial for the country, particularly given the uncertainty of the changing climate and vulnerability of many rural communities to hydro-meteorological risks.
In collaboration with the AAPRegional Office, AAP Mozambiquelooked into the possibility of training staff from key institutions to approach this matter in a comprehensive and integrated way using available local knowledge and climate data for better management.
The national team initiated aconsultation process with each of its key implementing partners and institutions : SETSAN, the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM), the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC), the National Directorate of Water (DNA) and the Ministries of Planning and Development, Finance, and Environment. All of them expressed interest and considered it a relevant and worthwhile endeavour.
The AAP regional office in Dakar assisted in identifying a consultant to carry out a training needs assessment. The consultant had four tasks:
To assess the needs of our partners with respect to their capacity to generate high resolution climate change scenarios, to analyse and manage large volumes of climate data and to apply climate change scenarios in impact and vulnerability assessments;
To design, in collaboration with our implementing partners, a comprehensive training workshop that would address the needs identified;
To select a river basin for a target exercise; and
To collect local data and information on things like water supply, water demand, infrastructure and geography for use in preparing practical exercises for the workshop.
The consultant also visited key institutions and met with technicians working in water resources management, disaster risk reduction and climate change. Through discussions with these individuals the consultant identified national needs and contextually analysed these. The knowledge gained was used to inform and localise the training exercises.
With support from theRegional Office in Dakar AAP Mozambique also recruited two specialist presenters: Dr Devaraj de Condappa, who facilitated the WEAP component of the workshop, and Dr Seyni Salack, who facilitated the climate analysis component. Meanwhile, representatives from all of the key institutions involved in climate change, disaster risk reduction and water management were invited to attend.
A hands-on approach to new tools and techniques
The facilitators used various approaches to transfer knowledge and skills to the participants. These included lectures, case-study presentations, hands-on exercises, discussions and group assignments and presentations. About 70% of the training time was devoted to hands-on practice and group exercises. This was done to ensure that participants mastered the tools and techniques transferred to them.
For each subject, the participants were first introduced to key concepts and the relevant tools and techniques used for analysis. This was followed by a demonstration of the capabilities of the tools using data from locations within and outside of Mozambique. After that, participants were provided with local datasets and were made to apply the tools on the data in group exercises. Each group—deliberately constructed of participants from different institutions and different backgrounds to promote institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration—then presented their work and received comments from colleagues and facilitators.
Xavier Agostinho Chavana from the Ministry of Planning and Development said he and his peers would be able to inform decision-makers better as a result of the training.
‘The training provided the participants with key information and tools that can help the country in the decision support process by making better judgments from climate information and of climate change and water management scenarios,’ said Xavier. ‘This is particularly beneficial in areas where a single little error can lead the country to a disastrous decision on the paths of development that the country should take in the context of current and future climate change impacts.’
Other participants, such as Andre Zibia from the DNA, said the workshop provided knowledge that is needed to maximise the potential of their workplaces.
‘The course was extremely important since it came to fill a knowledge gap that I had in the analysis, treatment, planning and allocation of water resources, and especially on how to deal with models,’ said Andre.
‘One of the tasks of the DNA is water resources management. From this training the DNA now has more technicians trained in project design, management and evaluation, planning and allocation of water resources, and using climate data models, which previously required the hiring of external consultants.’
Almeida of SETSAN agreed that her organisation would be similarly empowered.
‘For SETSAN in particular, the course content is definitely adds value as the tools we were introduced to will allow better visualisation of future scenarios of possible food insecurity related to climate change. This will enable SETSAN to improve guidance and to better coordinate food security in the country.’
Meet the policy-makers
The final day of the workshop was held in Maputo and attended by directors of the participating national institutions. This day was dedicated to sharing the content of the workshop with the heads of the departments to demonstrate to them the results of the training, and to jointly defining follow-up actions.
The participants were divided into workplace groups so they could present the primary results of their discussions and the follow-up actions they had identified. These included the need to share the training with other technicians and institutions, having the workshop consultants monitor the first steps, gaining access the software applications used, the establishment of inter-institutional working groups and the pursuit of a political commitment to implement these tools in planning and development process.
The workshop was closed by AAP Mozambique National Director and Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Environment Maurício Xerinda, whothanked the facilitators and AAP Mozambique for organising the event and encouraged the participants to apply the tools learned in the exercise of their duties.
Carmen Munhequete is the Project Manager for AAP Mozambique. Additional reporting was provided by Emmanuel Obuobie, one of the facilitators at the workshop. Carmen and Emmanuel can be contacted via [email protected]