Issue No. 3
Dear friends and colleagues
Welcome to the December edition of our newsletter! We hope you enjoyed our August edition. In case you missed it, please check it out here. 2020 has been a whirlwind of a year, and we have had to learn to continue our work under very challenging conditions. As we reflect on this complicated time we can look upon all that we have achieved with pride, as we successfully managed to implement and innovate in response to new constraints. As we approach the end of the year, here's a recap of the exciting updates we have for you on the activities undertaken during the last few months:
- Spotlight on the Adaptation Fund Project at the city level: Building Urban Climate Resilience in South Eastern Africa
- Behind the Scenes: Adaptation Fund Project Team Building
- Let's take a deep-dive: Challenges and key interventions in Morondava, Madagascar
- Mayor's Take: Mr. Raharison Désiré Armand, Mayor (a.i.) of Morondava, Madagascar
- CityRAP in Africa and beyond: Fomboni City and Downtown Amman
- Highlights of the month: Mayors' and city leaders dialogue, Adaptation Week, Making Cities Resilient 2030 Campaign
- Zooming out: LOCS4Africa Conference
- What's Trending: Climate Smart Cities Challenge
1. Spotlight on the Adaptation Fund Project at the City Level: Building Urban Climate Resilience in South Eastern Africa
1.1. Launch of the Adaptation Fund Project in Zomba City, Malawi
On 7 October 2020, national governments and key stakeholders convened in Zomba City, Malawi, for the launch of the Building Urban Climate Resilience in Southern Africa Project, funded by the Adaptation Fund, implemented by UN-Habitat and OXFAM.
This project is an evolution of a process started several years ago, when UN-Habitat and DiMSUR developed the City Resilience Action Planning tool (CityRAP) and piloted it in the four target cities namely, Chokwe, Morondava, Moroni and Zomba City.
Mr. Belekanyama stressed on the need for communities to take ownership of the structures that will be built through the project and urged those implementing the project to cooperate with the residents to meet its intended purpose.
The message that I have is that they should cooperate so that the projects can realize the benefit of community insights,” Belekanyama said.
1.2. Launch of the Adaptation Fund Project in Chokwe City, Mozambique
A week later on 13 October 2020, the project was launched in Chokwe City, Mozambique, during a high level event attended by national and local governments, and relevant key stakeholders. Among the attendees were representatives from the Ministry of Land and Environment, delegates from Chokwe Municipality, UN-Habitat, OXFAM and local community leaders.
Implementation of the project in Chokwe City will include:
- Improving the overall drainage capacity of the city
- Construction of safe-havens
- Improving solid waste management
- Establish early warning for floods at community level
Implementation of these activities in Chokwe, Zomba and Morondava (as well as in Moroni where the launch has not yet taken place) will allow creation of temporary jobs, especially targeting poor/vulnerable people. To ensure sustainability and efficient maintenance of the project other activities will be carried out which include:
- Local training sessions (including vocational/skill training) for both responsible municipal staff and community members;
- Community awareness and sensitisation (with focus on gender/youth issues) regarding drainage/road maintenance, solid waste management, management and use of public rainwater harvesting systems, tree planting, enforcement of by-laws with climate adaptation focus, etc.;
- Use of required maintenance equipment, among others;
- Promotion of alternative livelihoods to support sustainable use of resources.
In this way, local capacity will be developed to ensure the management/maintenance of the priority sub-projects’ outcomes in the longer term.
1.3. City Project Team (CPT) kick-off planned activities in Morondava, Madagascar
Two months later, we met with OXFAM, municipal representatives and local authorities of Morondava to establish the City Project Team (CPT) in Morondava for the Building Urban Climate Resilience in South-Eastern Africa project.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Zaid, focal point of the project in Morondava municipality said, “Together, we will achieve good things for our city. It has been a long time since we started preparations for this project and we are counting on the outcome of our past effort
1.4. Fulfilling National Strategies and State Manifesto in Malawi
Speaking from State House during the nation-wide weekly update, the President of Malawi, H.E. Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera acknowledged the work of UN-Habitat and OXFAM through the 4 year Building Urban Climate Resilience in Southern Africa Project in Zomba City, to address the pressing challenges of floods and poor drainage systems.
In his statement, H.E. Dr. Chakwera highlighted how the recent floods in Zomba and Lilongwe do not just hint at environmental vulnerabilities, but also point to the need for interventions to address the problem of unplanned urban growth, which creates waste management challenges and increases the risk of disasters.
Such interventions are in fulfilment of our other manifesto promise to ensure systematic and coordinated urban development, culminating in cities and towns that are able to manage urban growth and development, including preparedness to respond to disasters...In this context, we will take an ecosystem approach that implements interventions locally and at landscape scale", H.E. Dr. Chakwera said
2. Behind the Scenes: The Adaptation Fund Project Team Building
December marks six months since the official launch of the project, Building Urban Climate Resilience in South Eastern Africa. To gear up for the work ahead, we held a virtual Team Building Retreat in October, facilitated by Lee-Anne Ragan of Rock.Paper.Scissors, Inc. who has worked with more than 40,000 participants in and from more than 125 countries.
The aim of the team building retreat was to establish better working dynamics and set in place ways to work with our geographically and linguistically diverse landscape.
The three day session was divided into two parts. The 1st part focused on 'Online Team Building' which covered:
- Training of Trainers: Taking that beloved subject matter expertise of yours and teaching it to others for game-changing workshops with real impact
- Tech tools for ease, efficiency, learning and communication
- Working Better Together, including team building and the 7 C’s - communication, con res, culture, creativity, collaboration, celebration and change.
The 2nd part focused on 'Internal Team Coordination' where we unpacked:
- Project Overview and Key Milestones
- Adaptation Fund coordination meetings structure and plan
- Working better together
The 20 member Project Supervision Team (PST) is comprised of a gender-balanced pool of experts in different fields from across the globe.
3. Let's take a deep-dive!
3.1. Challenges in Morondava
In each issue of this newsletter, we have been featuring one of the four cities of the Building Urban Climate Resilience in South Eastern Africa project. Today, for our third city, we travel to the Western Coast of Madagascar. The city of Morondava lies between the Mozambique channel and the Morondava river delta. As a coastal city positioned in the middle of a delta, Morondava is surrounded by water from rivers.
During high discharges, the water overflows the riverbanks and due to the lower elevation north of the river, the water then flows towards the city. In general, along the coastal stretch of Morondava, the main flooding type is swelling. Extreme weather events cause major floods in both the northern and southern sides of the city, especially in the neighbourhoods close to the river. Other key challenges are:
- Expansion of informal settlements in high risk areas
- Limited access and mobility
- Poor drainage conditions
- Inefficient solid waste management
- Mangrove deforestation
- Lack of disaster preparedness
3.2. Key interventions and activities
At the national level, tools, guidelines and training delivery on urban resilience and climate adaptation techniques will be developed for Madagascar. National and local officers will be trained in urban climate adaptation techniques.
At the city level, planned sub-projects will be implemented in Morondava based on priority, to help increase climate resilience. These interventions were identified through the participatory CityRAP process implemented by UN-Habitat in Morondava in 2016.The sub-projects include:
- Rehabilitation of 180 ha of mangroves
- Urban greening interventions in high risk areas
- Establishment of a city-wide early warning system for floods
- Construction of a resilient and multi-purpose safe-haven
- Construction of a flood-proof elevated road with improved drainage capacity
- Reconstruction of 3 bridges connecting different neighbourhoods in a resilient manner
- Enhancing the drainage capacity in the city centre
- Improving solid waste management
4. Mayors Take: Mr. Raharison Désiré Armand, Mayor (a.i.) of Morondava, Madagascar
Mr. Raharison Désiré Armand is the ad interim Mayor of Morondava City, Madagascar. Prior to this, he was the Secretary General of the Kily Be Association, Research-Action-Development. He has held various positions during his career since 1979 in both education and development fields. He has a bachelor and a master’s degree in History from Antananarivo University.
(i) What motivated you to get involved in the government of the city of Morondava?
I have been living in the coastal area since 1987. This has enabled me to witness the city degrading due to climatic hazards, such as marine erosion, neighbourhoods submerging, frequent flooding due to heavy rainfall and overflows from the Morondava river. Additional natural disasters include cyclones such as cyclones Cynthia and Geralda.
My goal was to protect the city of Morondava. It is in October 2015 that I was called upon to join the Mayor's team. Fast forward to 2020, we are cleaning out the drainage channels to improve resilience. However, we have limited resources and so in the event of a natural disaster or torrential rains, the water will destroy the repaired infrastructure.
(ii) What are the most urgent challenges related to climate change and natural disasters facing the city of Morondava today?
The most urgent challenges to be addressed are:
- Reduce the impact of disasters (such as loss of human, economic and social life, infrastructure)
- Set up early warning systems while developing residents' awareness on the risks of climatic hazards
- Adopt coping mechanisms to help protect vulnerable neighbourhoods, save and rescue disaster victims and recover quickly in the event of a disaster
- Make the city attractive and prosperous by increasing recreational areas, better waste management for good health, development of economic activities, particularly tertiary activities
(iii) CityRAP was implemented in Morondava in 2016. How has City RAP contributed to improving the city's capacity to plan and implement resilience solutions?
The activities carried out were all done with and for the inhabitants of Morondava City. Since the implementation of CityRAP, local, neighborhood and municipality officials have been introduced to the concepts of risk and resilience through participatory workshops which made us aware that the realities experienced involve disasters / vulnerabilities; hence the need to manage and plan better.
Previously, we from the municipality of Morondava, acted punctually when disaster occurred by warning inhabitants, observing, improvising and helping where needed. Almost all of the inhabitants were not aware of the importance of understanding climatic hazards, risks and resilience.
Since 2016, we have been led to understand, evaluate and gradually build a resilience plan. The identification and prioritization of challenges and actions were done through participatory exercises involving both women and men. Local testimonies and existing knowledge contributed to the development of a resilience plan.
The knowledge gained from the training session enhanced our understanding of risks and solutions based on past experiences. This contributed to the participatory mapping that each group developed based on their neighborhood. The issues and challenges as well as the priority action plans were respectively discussed and developed by all people involved.
In summary, to achieve the development of the urban resilience plan of Morondava, it was necessary to go through early stages of initiation, understanding the concepts of climate change and the process of developing an urban resilience plan. For this, various entities reporting to the authorities, municipality, civil society and its components as well as community leaders were involved.
(iv) The Adaptation Fund project will be implemented simultaneously in four cities, including one in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Comoros. What are the best practices for building resilience in Morondava that can be learned by other cities? according to you?
- Restoration of mangroves in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Fisheries Resources, the urban municipality of Morondava has mobilized its inhabitants (association of young people, women, consortium, municipal youth council, etc.) to plant various species so as to restore the mangroves and maintain fishery resources.
- Establishment of a nursery at the initiative of the regional environment directorate and to which each public entity including the municipality has had its share of woody forest species nursery.
- Periodic cleaning of canals in the neighborhoods by labor-based workers in collaboration with specialized organizations such as the National Nutrition Office (ONN and ORN). This involves the community including vulnerable men and women where they're given food and money for work done.
(v) CityRAP is a highly participatory process. How has the experience of CityRAP implementation influenced the planning processes within the municipal administration of Morondava?
CityRAP has helped us draw up our local development plan, and implement the framework of the local consultation structure, that enables the municipality to involve various youth-led entities and disabled persons organizations, association of notables and the elderly, technical services, etc. through a participatory planning process. In addition, we've managed to conduct public consultations using a differentiate approach, aligned with the terms of reference for service providers.
(vi) What is your favourite place in Morondava: where can you go to take a break from your busy life as mayor?
At the beach, away from the city because it is not noisy, there is clean fresh air and it is far from public areas.
5. CityRAP in Africa and beyond
CityRAP Tool is a step-by-step participatory resilience planning methodology that includes a set of training exercises, activities targeting municipal authorities, communities and local stakeholders to build their capacity in action planning for risk reduction and resilience building. Implementation of the tool is done in four phases as shown below.
5.1. Implementation of CityRAP in Fomboni, Union of Comoros: Phase 1 - Phase 4
PHASE 1: Intensive Training Workshop
In June 2019, CityRAP was initiated in Fomboni Municipality by UN-Habitat and partners. Activities conducted during this period involved introducing CityRAP tool methodology and the concept of urban risk and resilience to the municipal focal points in order to reach a common understanding. In this phase, we identified the main problems affecting the city and the most vulnerable neighborhoods. We also trained the municipal focal points to lead the resilience planning process.
PHASE 2: Compilation and organization of data
This phase we employed participatory planning in neighborhoods by use of satellite images to stimulate discussion, engage different stakeholders and identify the main issues in the neighbourhood.
The main issues identifed include:
- Coastal erosion
- Drainage Problems
- Periodic flooding (’flash flood’)/flood risks
- Poor maintenance of the channels
- Poor waste management
- Lack of access to clean drinking water
UN-Habitat | Shutterstock