Countries comprising the Southern African Development Community (SADC), including South Africa and Zimbabwe, have shown interest in addressing the problems caused by frequent flooding of the lower Limpopo River Basin. Recently, the Government of Mozambique, the country most affected by the floods due to its downstream location, formulated a request for assistance in addressing these problems, which include environmental degradation and displacement of communities. UN-HABITAT prepared this project in close collaboration with UNEP's Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The project will focus on disaster preparedness and vulnerability reduction through an integrated approach of land and water management for sustainable development in the lower Limpopo River Basin. The objectives of the project are to:
- Mitigate environmental and economic losses and reduce the risk of loss of life and damage to bio-diversity in future floods or other extreme weather conditions through a regional action plan.
- Reduce the vulnerability of communities living in flood-prone areas.
- Preserve bio-diversity through planning for sustainable environmental land use.
- Improvement of the reliability of flood forecasting and warning systems linked to national disaster management programmes and specific responses at community level.
- Preparation of plans for community-based environmental land use and for the management of natural resources.
- Development of national action plans for reducing the effects of the floods on the environment through awareness campaigns.
- Capacity-building activities to strengthen institutional capacities for more efficient environmental management and policy formulation.
- Development of an integrated approach to the conservation of ecosystems in flood-prone areas.
- Setting up of a mapping system at the regional level.
The project was recently approved by UNEP-GEF. Actions have already been initiated in the field and a first regional workshop took place in September 2004.