GWP SA engaged in developing a DRR Action Plan for the Limpopo Basin- Zimbabwe in country consultations

Following the in-country consultations with the key stakeholders and institutions to review and update into an Action plan ‘the Limpopo Basin Strategic Plan for reducing vulnerability to floods and droughts’, GWP SA conducted in country consultations in Zimbabwe. This review is part of the assistance being given to the LIMCOM in order for it to develop a Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plan.

In light of this, consultations were conducted with key personnel from key stakeholders from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate – Department of Water - Department of Civil Protection, Meteorological Services Department, ZINWA and the Catholic Relief Services.

The stakeholders were selected so that all aspects of DRR i.e. Preparedness, Response and Recovery were captured. Funds permitting, it was going to be more beneficial if views from at least one Rural District Council operating within the basin were captured.

From the consultations undertaken,  the following were the common expectations that emerged with regards to the role of LIMCOM:

1. Establish proper institutional structures – LIMCOM needs to establish proper institutional structures at basin level that are anchored within the districts and provincial structures.

2. Establish a communication strategy –LIMCOM should designate local people in the basin as the focal persons for LIMCOM e.g. district administrators. The contact details of the focal persons should be circulated among the countries for ease of communication and also to promote early warning.

3. Harmonise communication structures – LIMCOM needs to harmonize communication structure between riparian countries and within the basin.

4.  Establish an information sharing platform – LIMCOM should create a platform that brings together all disaster management personnel from the riparian countries. After these meetings information should then be cascaded down to relevant sectors within respective countries.

5. Promote resilience – LIMCOM needs to be more involved in promoting community resilience. For drought disasters some communities seem to be having copying mechanism in place such as cross –border trading in Beitbridge, a similar kind of resilience need to be built for flooding disasters.

6. Promote capacity development –LIMCOM needs to assist in mapping of disaster hot spots within the basin and also promote the gathering of baseline data for the basin e.g. demography.

7. Establish a DRR liaison person – LIMCOM needs to have a DRR liaison person who will liaise with the four countries and ensure that activities and operations are moving on as planned. The person should be responsible for follow-up and checking the progress of activities.

viii. Establish real time monitoring stations – LIMCOM should assist in the establishment of real time stations in the basin for early warning

8. Promote more collaboration of met departments – Currently at regional level countries meet at SACOF for seasonal forecasting. LIMCOM should provide a platform for them to meet more frequently even in-between seasons to monitor the applicability and relevance of the forecast as well as to share information and experiences. Other countries have clear procedures in place in terms of information dissemination. LIMCOM needs to promote the emulation of such procedures by other countries.

9. Technical support (Equipment) – LIMCOM can assist in establishing dense station networks especially automatic mini stations and models that can zoom in to local levels. These will address both the data issue and the manpower challenge and also promote local level forecasting.

10 Promote community awareness – LIMCOM needs to promote community awareness to avoid vandalism of the stations as well as to give the community a sense of ownership for the sustainability of the station.

11. Encourage the use of indigenous knowledge in early warning and forecasting – indigenous knowledge and what is forecasted usually tallies.

xiii. Enhance transboundary cooperation – LIMCOM should explore new ways and mechanisms  of encouraging transboundary cooperation

In country consultations will also be carried out in South Africa and Mozambique.