By Mpfunzeni Tshindane and Candice Arendse
The uMngeni Resilience Project (URP), funded by the Adaptation Fund, aims to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities to extreme weather-related events such as flooding, storms and droughts. Focussing on the uMgungundlovu District Municipality, interventions will include early warning systems, climate-smart agriculture and climate proofing settlements.
The Project hosted a two-day workshop that focussed on the development of Early Warning Systems for the uMgungundlovu District Municipality. The workshop was attended by approximately 80 stakeholders from around the country which included data generators, data users and disaster management officials within KwaZulu Natal. The institutes present included, the South African Weather Service (SAWS), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), eThekwini Municipality, the Provincial Disaster Management Centre and the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN).
The first day of the workshop focused on understanding the state of South Africa’s existing Early Warning Systems and the national vision for using climate information. The second day focused on how the uMngeni Resilience Project can build on what is already in place and fill the current gaps so that warnings can make their way to vulnerable communities in the District and in two local municipalities. Additionally, the Disaster Management capabilities in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality were discussed.
The workshop was successful in stimulating lively discussions about the best way to generate, package and send weather warnings to communities in high-risk areas. The importance of partnerships was stressed, as was the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge in monitoring risks and sharing warning messages. Numerous lessons from other Early Warning Systems were shared and the important points were noted for inclusion in the uMngeni Resilience Project. An exciting outcome of the workshop was the strengthening of the partnership with the South African Weather Service, who is the custodian of climate data in the country.
Recognising the importance of responding to Extreme events, the Adaptation Network will host a one day workshop in Grahamstown on 29 May 2017 which will focus on Adaptation for Extreme Events. A two day Multi stakeholder Think Tank will follow the workshop on 30 & 31 May 2017 organised by the Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University and co-hosted by the Adaptation Network. The Think Tank will focus on linking disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) to reduce social vulnerability and build resilience.
For more information on the workshop or to join the NIE mailing list to receive future URP and Small Grants Facility project updates, please email Mpfunzeni Tshindane (M.Tshindane@sanbi.org.za).