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Lessons learned from Mozambique NCAP Project

Multiple Authors

Discussion and Conclusions

The majority of the people within all the study areas are vulnerable to a range of climate risks. Chronic poverty erodes the resilience of communities to external pressures, which is further exacerbated by climate hazards. The key climate hazards that impact upon the three study areas are floods, tropical storms, and drought. Floods impede agricultural production and other employment opportunities and activities. Tropical storms damage houses and crops, and halts fishing activities. Drought contributes to both food and water insecurity in Tenga, while in Guijá there are serious ‘maladaptive’ recovery mechanisms that contribute further to food insecurity.

However, it is difficult to draw direct causal linkages between climate variability and the impacts on livelihoods perceived by the communities. For example, in Tenga, people said that life was bad when there was drought because they can’t grow crops and so they go hungry. However, the main strategies to cope with a lack of food production in Tenga are based upon selling wood, charcoal, and to a much lesser extent, unprocessed wild fruits. This requires up to 25 km travel to places such as Machava or Moamba which is either expensive or exhausting (or both!) and there is both strong competition and limited demand for these products. Other strategies include selling labor in the informal sector that provides limited opportunities for insecure and poorly paid work. So it is fair to conclude that a lack of opportunity for alternative seasonal employment, combined with drought conditions greatly affects food security in Tenga. Additionally, due to a general lack of agricultural inputs in the production systems, declining soil fertility may be a compounding factor in declining food security during the drought periods. Intensifying agricultural production and improving post harvest storage, as well as improving the regulation of seed fairs would increase food security in all areas.

Limited opportunities for employment exist outside of agriculture which increases vulnerability to climate risk throughout all study areas. The strategies identified in Albazine and Marracuene rely upon socio-economic stratification within the community, for example xiloco cannot work if everyone is poor, and clearly having more than one plot of land is not a strategy that can be employed by landless people. This strongly demonstrates that social capital is not a panacea and is in fact eroded by chronic poverty. There is varied NGO activity in Marracuene, partially in response to rehabilitation after the 2000 floods, and there is a food for work programme in Tenga. However, the only long term formal grass-roots institutions within all three study areas were the local churches. These institutions should therefore at least be considered as potential partners in building community resilience.

There are much greater opportunities for income diversification in Albazine and Marracuene than in Tenga or Guijá because of their close proximity to several thriving markets. The higher proportion of durable houses and roads in Marracuene and Albazine also indicates relatively higher resilience to climate risks in both financial and physical terms. Environmental sustainability may prove to be an issue in the near future, particularly relating to the wood sourced for charcoal production in all the study areas, and local fish stocks in the Inkomati River. However, the fishing community is already actively seeking ways to resolve this issue.

It is obvious that the health situation for the majority of people in the study areas is extremely precarious, given their insecure access to employment and in some cases food and water. Malaria and gastro-intestinal diseases were the main health problems in all of the study. It is not surprising that HIV/AIDS was not mentioned by most of the research participants because of the widespread stigma attached to the disease, for example we were informed that people actively discriminate against HIV positive community members in Mumemo, partially because they receive special assistance from the church. However, HIV/AIDS prevalence is estimated at 16% in Mozambique and is therefore a serious threat to people already suffering from poverty.

The presence of the railway link to all of the study areas theoretically provides access to bigger markets (including South Africa). However, in order for people to be able to access bigger markets, there would have to be substantial support to communities in order to develop the production of appropriate value-added products.

The majority of people in the study areas are surviving in the short term. There is high vulnerability to climate variability in the short term because of a lack of income diversification opportunities and a heavy reliance upon the informal sector. With the exception of extreme floods, it is not useful to attribute this vulnerability solely to climate risk.


Work in Mozambique was extremely rewarding although it was done from a low information base. It was also true that state, provincial and district administrative structures were very weak and frequently under resourced in terms of both people and equipment. Nevertheless, the focus on pre-disaster planning, linking across state structures from the MICOA has proved to be a useful exercise in capacity building not least because it was led by the Mozambicans themselves.

At the level of physical science data, the country remains inadequately served and thus finds itself trying to draw conclusions from broader regional analyses. There are however, lead individuals around state, parastatal and university institutions who have demonstrated capacity at international and national level to complete the scientific requirements of UNFCCC reporting. Their ability goes beyond this formal reporting as demonstrated in this chapter. Their willingness to explore vulnerability as a key factor in the design of local adaptation program offers hope for local solutions that address not only climate change but the broader challenge of poverty alleviation. There has been much to celebrate in Mozambique NCAP.

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Back to: Netherlands Climate Assistance Programme (NCAP)

Mozambique NCAP Project

Methodology of Mozambique NCAP Project

Key findings from Mozambique NCAP Project

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