Resilient Cities 2015

Reality Check Workshop: Pemba and Quelimane

Situated on the southeast coast of Africa, Mozambique is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change. Coastal cities, which serve as the main economic drivers of the country and home to about 60% of the Mozambican population, struggle not only with extreme climatic events such as cyclones, floods, and droughts, but also face secondary effects like erosion, famine, and water-borne diseases. The vulnerability of coastal cities is compounded by socio- economic conditions that limit the ability of municipalities, provincial, and national government agencies to enhance their resiliency and adequately respond to extreme climatic events.

The cities of Pemba and Quelimane illustrated the challenges faced by medium and small coastal cities across Mozambique. Although there are marked differences in their location, topography, spatial distribution of population, and socio-economic realities, these cities face similar challenges. They are vulnerable to extreme weather, contend with aging infrastructure that is not sufficiently resilient, include numerous informal settlements located in highly vulnerable areas, and their populations have little knowledge about the risks they face and how to deal with them. With limited resources, both cities are adopting stepwise and participatory approaches to build their capacity to respond effectively to climate change in the medium to long-term and to natural disasters in the short-term. By working closely with the communities, the municipal institutions are demonstrating results, such as participatory design of more climate resilient housing, improved approaches to water and sanitation, and rebuilding green infrastructure to protect the most vulnerable areas. And, at the national level, a new SMS-based system is being put in place to improve the coverage and timeliness of early warning messages and the rapid collection of actionable data during and immediately following natural disasters. 

This Reality Check Workshop brought together the leadership of these two municipalities and the National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) to present and discuss their approach to strengthen their adaptation planning capabilities, deliver tangible results on the ground, and to respond effectively to natural disasters.

Key themes covered in this Reality Check Workshop: 

  • Disaster risk reduction (early-warning system, use of ICTs)
  • Simple but effective, adaptation planning tools
  • Climate-smart housing
  • Community based adaptation