Upscaling nature-based flood protection in Mozambique’s cities: Enabling environment (January 2020)

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Mozambique’s coastal as well as parts of its inland cities comprise risk areas prone to erosion and flooding. Heavy rainfalls regularly inundate settlements and roads and erosion increasingly threatens housing and public infrastructure, leading to human and economic losses. These risks, on the one side, are caused by the exposure of the land, its population and infrastructure to natural hazards, which is the case particularly along the coast with its low-lying estuary areas. On the other side, inappropriate land use increases flooding and erosion risks, with settlements occupying protection areas (e.g. floodplains and wetlands) and with the degradation of forests and vegetation.
Accordingly, flood and erosion management is one of the first priorities in affected cities. The majority of protection measures, in Mozambique and worldwide, comprise the rehabilitation and construction of grey infrastructure, such as drainage canals, retention basins, protection walls and their appurtenant infrastructures. While there are several reasons to consider for and against grey infrastructure, incl. degree of urbanization, existing infrastructure, local capacities (construction and operation), etc., naturebased solutions are an alternative/ complementary approach receiving more and more attention at local, national and international level. Especially when looking at small-scale interventions, nature-based solutions can be a more cost-effective option and may also be implemented and operated/ maintained by local stakeholders, including communities and NGOs (e.g. afforestation measures). They can thus be included in urban planning without major costs, not only reducing flood risks but avoiding them in the first place.

Nevertheless, it needs to be pointed out that nature-based as well as hybrid flood and erosion protection measures may also be very complex in their planning and implementation, requiring expertise not only in engineering but also in specific areas of environmental science (e.g. ecology, zoology, botany, oceanology, soil science, and geology) and social science.
In Mozambique, small-scale initiatives of nature based solutions (NBS) can be found. Mangrove reforestation and planting of dune vegetation are erosion protection measures mostly carried out with local communities or community-based organizations. However, the use of NBS for investments in public infrastructure though national and local authorities is not a common practice.
Pilot projects with a larger scale have been launched and implemented through international funding, as it is the case of the Chiveve Rehabilitation and Green Urban Infrastructure Project in Beira City, implemented by the Administration for Water and Sanitation (AIAS) and financed through the German Cooperation (KFW) and World Bank.
Considering that the use of NBS for flood and erosion protection is currently in a piloting stage, questions arise about who is in the lead of this process, who establishes policies, norms and guidelines and who is responsible for the implementation and operation at local level.


The World Bank, with funding from PROFOR and the GFDRR Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Mainstreaming Disaster and Climate Risk Management in Developing Countries (City Coastal Resilience Project – CityCORE Africa), is providing technical assistance to the Government of Mozambique (GoM) for the upscaling of nature-based solutions for urban flood risk management in Mozambican cities.
The objective of the present Consultancy is to provide technical and analytical support to contribute in the upscaling of nature-based solutions for urban flood risk management, particularly in coastal cities.
Specific objectives of the consultancy services are:

(1) to identify the lessons learnt of the green urban infrastructure pilot project in Beira, as well as legal, regulatory and institutional constraints and opportunities to integrate nature-based risk management solutions in the cities of Mozambique; and (2) to identify different options for nature-based and hybrid solutions to manage urban flood risks in two pilot cities and assess their effectiveness, costs and benefits.
It is expected that the consultancy contributes to the following outcomes:

  1. Knowledge gap in the preparation and implementation of nature-based solutions for urban flood risk management has been reduced.

  2. Recommendations to improve the enabling environment for nature-based solutions for risk reduction are being discussed by decision-makers in Mozambique.

  3. The full range of possible nature-based and/or hybrid green-grey solutions flood risk management solutions for two pilot cities (Quelimane and Nacala) has been analyzed based on a comprehensive urban flood risk assessment for different climate change and urban growth scenarios.

  4. Rough cost-benefit analysis for different investment scenarios for selected cities in Mozambique has been completed to allow for an initial comparison of potential traditional and nature-based approaches and contributes to improving methodologies to carry out cost-benefit analysis for nature-based approaches.
    The ‘Enabling Environment Report’ presents the main result for the second outcome, elaborated under Task 2 of the consultancy. The objective of this task is to provide a detailed assessment of the legal and institutional environment to mainstream nature-based approaches for urban flood risk management and erosion protection solutions in the cities of Mozambique.
    Specific objectives of the Enabling Environment Report are to: o Collect and review relevant legal documents and the regulatory framework; o Analyze gaps / inconsistencies regarding principles and mandates as well as synergies / potential convergence points regarding the application of nature-based approaches for flood and erosion protection; o Prepare a stakeholder mapping with relevant mandates for the implementation of nature-based flood /erosion protection solutions at national, provincial and municipal level O Analyze stakeholder strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of nature-based solutions;