By Wallace Mawire
A Limpopo basin atlas is being developed under the auspices of the Limpopo Watercourse Commission with the objective of providing scientific evidence about changes that are taking place in the natural resources and the environment, according to Michael Ramaano, Regional Programmes Officer for the Global Water Partnesrship GWP-Southern Africa.
Ramaano says the project is a basin collaborative initiative targeted at policy makers and the general public. It is expected to raise awareness and generate action and interventions at local, national and regional levels, Ramaano said.
According to Ramaano,the initiative is a collaboration of Grid/Arendal and the RESILIM project.
Also the Water and Climate Development Programme (WACDEP) is being implemented in the Limpopo river basin covering Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The WACDEP aims to integrate water security and climate resilience in development planning processes, build climate resilience and support countries to adapt to a new climate regime through increased investments in water security. By building climate resilience, the initiative will contribute to peace building and conflict prevention, support pan-African integration and help safeguard investments in economic development, poverty reduction and the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs). The programme responds directly to the commitments expressed by African Heads of State in the Sharm el-Sheikh Declaration on water and sanitation. Activities have been expanded with locally raised funds to cover the SADC region under the SADC-GIZ project titled: Mainstreaming climate change into the SADC water sector, targeting the rest of the SADC region, Ramaano added.
It is also reported that at least $1,3 million has been raised for this project.
For the atlas development project it is reported by the Limpopo Watercourse Commission that at least $200 000 has been raised in co-financing from Grid/Arendal and Resilience in the Limpopo basin project.
According to a Limpopo Watercourse Commission spokesperson, the Limpopo River Basin Atlas will package complex environmental data into easy-to-understand but credible, science-based information.
This will be delivered through innovative communication tools and capacity building services targeting relevant stakeholders. The idea behind this is to use narratives, satellite images, photographs, statistics and maps in a way that is easily understood and compelling for future decision-making? a spokesperson said.
It is understood that the commission has recently completed the development of the Limpopo Basin Monograph and this will be the basis of the information to be packaged in the atlas.
It is further reported that climate change will be a common thread in the analysis based on current literature, which shows that the environment and livelihoods have been changing in the basin partly due to climatic hazards such as floods and droughts.
The Atlas will discuss the impacts that these changes are having on the basin?s people and resources, thus contributing to the documentation and study of the relationship between human populations and the environment,? a commission spokesperson added.
It has also been reported that the preparation of the Atlas will be conducted through a participatory approach, which involves relevant stakeholders such as government departments, local authorities, private sector, civil society and community leaders.