“We are teaching the local communities techniques for building houses at low cost but with methods that make them more resistant to floods, cyclones and other disasters,” says Araulo. There is also work to develop building codes so that the techniques can be spread, train local builders and seek to influence overall housing policies.
There has also been a scheme within CCAP to combine local knowledge, high-resolution satellite images and GIS and GPS tools to improve the understanding of current land use and to direct future urban planning.
This has particularly been in Pemba, to the north of the country where, again, rain, year-round flooding, and strong winds are prevalent and around one-third of the city is assessed as moderately to highly vulnerable.
Pemba City Mayor, Tagir Carimo, says the main priorities are promoting resilient infrastructure, encouraging tourism, promoting a resilient fishing industry, and improved health and educational. Via a participatory approach, he says, this has provided much more detail and useful vulnerability maps.
Challenges and the Future
There remain challenges. Araujo feels there needs to be more provincial and national government involvement. “The government role is still very fragile and needs improvement.” There is also a need to increase the local technical resources to lead the conservation and restoration work. To these challenges, Carimo adds reduced public and private investment, the illiteracy of so much of the population and a lack of understanding of climate change among decision-makers.
There is also the root cause of much of the mangrove destruction – all the while there is poverty, short-term survival is likely to outweigh medium and long-term considerations. It is a constant fight, says Araulo, “but what’s the alternative?” If they see improving fisheries, for instance, then they will see more reason to protect the mangroves, he hopes.
Fundamentally – as with all such projects – there is also now the question of whether the efforts can continue after the end of the current funding. There is a search for new national and international backers. There is a memorandum of understanding with CCAP to disseminate the results of the programme to all municipalities and to attend and present at the annual meeting of the municipality mayors, plus provision of the tools developed over the five years.
Maria Olana Bata, head of the CCAP project, believes that, where there was previously very limited knowledge of climate change at the start within government, this has now changed. She is hopeful that the programme will now influence policies, that partnerships will continue and that knowledge has been embedded. “We don’t want to see this legacy being wasted.”
Main image credit: Mozambique coastal flooding, NASA Earth Observatory