GWPSA holds Validation Workshop on the Limpopo Basin DRR Action Plan

Responding to the dramatic increase in extreme weather events and mega disasters is one of the great challenges of the Limpopo River Basin. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is a top priority for the basin as it seeks to hold back the tide of rising economic and human losses through flood and droughts. To reduce risks from such disasters, GWPSA has over the past 2 years been involved in the development of a disaster risk reduction action plan for the Limpopo Basin. This Plan of Action presents a strategy for integrating disaster risk reduction into the Limpopo transboundary level operations. As part of the process to developing the plan, GWPSA held a workshop on the 5th of April, 2016, to validate the draft DRR action plan of the Limpopo Basin. 

The workshop, which was held at Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg included participants from all 4 riparian states that is Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe and took the opportunity to discuss and provide additions to the draft report. Delegates to the workshop were welcomed by Tendani Nditwane Commissioner DWA, South Africa.

The process also involved providing input and recommendations on the priority areas coming out of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 around which the Limpopo River Basin DRR Action Plan is modelled. These priority areas included: understanding disaster risk; strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk; investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience; enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to "Build Back Better" in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. The development of the DRR Action Plan thus supports the assessment of global progress in achieving the outcome and goal of the Sendai Framework.

The workshop was held under GWPSA’s support to RESILIM in the region. RESILIM has been tasked by Chemonics, the lead organisation to develop the Limpopo Action Plan to reduce Vulnerability to Droughts and Floods. In this process of developing the plan GWPSA has been a part of the process that began in October 2014. The validation workshop comes after a number of activities that GWPSA has so far undertaken as part of the process to developing the DRR Action plan. These activities include: stakeholder consultations on DRR in all countries; national level consultations that provided country input and proposes actions; and consultations with the LIMCOM Technical Committee and RESILIM.

Giving a background on “why we are here today”,  Dr. Nkobi Moleele, from RESILIM reminded delegates of RESILIM’s main objectives in enhancing resilience of people’s livelihoods and ecosystems. He further noted that it is important to understand the current and future challenges faced in the basin, and put in place remedial practices to reduce disasters in the Basin. He further stressed on the need to package technical information  in such a way that it could be used.

The process to developing the DRR plan was elaborated by Sergio Sitoe, LIMCOM Interim Executive Secretary who noted that the process to developing a DRR for the Limpopo Basin could be traced as far back as 2005 when a Preparedness Plan for part of the Limpopo Basin was developed by UN-HABITAT. As the plan has been overtaken by events, and did not cover the whole Basin, there was a need for LIMCOM to update the plan and reflect on current issues.

The programme of the day also included the presentation of the Limpopo Basin Atlas for the Changing EnvironmentInception Report. The inception plan is among the activities leading to the Limpopo Basin Atlas that is due for completion in June 2016. The atlas is being developed by the Southern Africa Research Documentation Centre (SARDC), with the partnership of Grid Arendal, RESILIM, and GWPSA.  The presentation noted that the atlas would provide evidence-based analyses on changes in the Limpopo River Basin, including their drivers and outcomes, so as to motivate policy action and the promotion of sustainable development. The atlas will highlight the changes that have occurred over time as a result of the negative impacts of climate change and human action.The work in developing the DRR action plan is being done under the auspices of LIMCOM, under a partnership with relevant government institutions. As a result, a total of  24 participants attended the workshop, these representatives from included LIMCOM, RESILIM, SARDC, and Ministries of Water, Environment, Agriculture, Academia and LIMCOM Technical Committee members from the four Riparian countries.