Technical Assistance to Advance Ecosystem-based Climate Adaptation in South Africa

The World Bank

South Africa 🇿🇦

Technical Assistance to Advance Ecosystem-based Climate Adaptation in South Africa

Climate change poses considerable risks and is a critical constraint to inclusive and sustainable economic growth in South Africa. Extreme events, such as severe drought and heavy rainfall, and drastic changes in rainfall patterns threaten basic services and infrastructure. Climate damages, in turn, strain public budgets and reduce the attractiveness for private investors. If not addressed, climate-related risks could jeopardize South Africa’s economic growth and financial stability, while disproportionately affecting the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable.

The National Climate Change Response (NCCR) White Paper (2011) sets out South Africa’s response to addressing these challenges, highlighting the importance of well-functioning ecosystems in helping society to adapt to climate change as well as supporting opportunities for adaptation to contribute towards broader development goals. The 2020 National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) serves as South Africa’s National Adaptation Plan and fulfils South Africa’s commitment to its obligations in terms of Article 7.9 of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It provides a policy instrument in which national climate change adaptation objectives for the country can be articulated to provide overarching guidance to all sectors of the economy in implementing adaptation to climate change.

Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is recognized by the NCCAS as an adaptive technology that focuses on sustainable management of multi-functional landscapes with a view of building resilience in vulnerable communities through the conservation and protection of ecosystems that deliver goods and services. In short, it is a tool that leverages biodiversity and ecosystems to help communities adapt to a changing environment and climate. EbA efforts can lessen flooding, improve water and soil quality, and contribute to livelihood opportunities. They deliver benefits for society and the environment at the same time, and are an important way of safeguarding development in the face of climate change. The Strategic Framework and Overarching Implementation Plan for EbA (EbA Strategy) positions EbA as a central component of South Africa’s programme of work on biodiversity and climate change and the Action Plan and Priority Mapping focuses on the tactics that are required to deliver the strategy and associated implementation in an effective and efficient manner.

EbA efforts in South Africa are led by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). With support from GIZ, DFFE and SANBI have produced the EbA Action Plan and Priority Mapping. The priority mapping was conducted at a national scale and includes assessment of the whole country. Such mapping work identifies areas of high potential for EbA down to the district and municipal levels. An initial 54 priority areas (Local Municipalities) were identified and these are found primarily in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. These 54 priority areas were further ranked into 14 top priority areas (based on the level of threat faced by the area and the potential cost of lost ecosystem goods and services, including loss to livelihoods). DFFE aims to assess key threats (i.e., drought, flood, fire) in each of the 14 areas and generate concept notes that enable local-scale action plans, including with priority investments identified, to build resilience that would protect and strengthen the ecosystem and, in turn, increase resilience to climate change. DFFE, with support from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), is currently working on threat assessment in the first three priority areas, namely the local municipalities of Elundini, Senqu and uKhahlamba. Concept Notes for these three areas are expected to be developed in the 4th quarter of 2021.

The Climate Support Programme (CSP), implemented by the GIZ in South Africa, has supported DFFE in developing and implementing the NCCAS, as well as sector response plans. Within this scope of work the CSP has supported the development and mainstreaming of EbA policy and strategies, including the development of the EbA Action Plan and Priority Map. CSP supports the ongoing development of concept notes referenced above that will enable local municipalities to initiate and implement relevant EbA responses and actions at the local level, thereby reducing the overall vulnerability to climate change and related disaster events. CSP plays an enabling role for project and policy validation through stakeholder engagement, co-design and consultation with political partner DFFE and local implementation stakeholders, such as local, district and provincial government officials.

In partnership with the Government of South Africa (GoSA), the World Bank implements a Programmatic Advisory Services and Analytics (P-ASA) program on Supporting the Implementation of South Africas Nationally Determined Contribution (P172748). The objective of the program is to support the GoSA in achieving effective implementation and update of its NDC. The program is financed by the NDC Support Facility a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank and a contribution to the NDC Partnership. The Figure below shows the scope of the program, which includes climate change mitigation and adaptation activities; climate policy advancement; and closing the climate financing gap.

To support DFFE to achieve its climate change adaptation objectives generally and its EbA activities specifically, the World Bank seeks support from a qualified firm or consortium to support the scale-up of on-going EbA work. Specifically, the objectives of this work are to:

Component 1: Priority Area Risk and Vulnerability Assessment and Concept Note Development
a. Within the municipalities of Tubatse/Fetakgomo, Matatiele, Laingsburg, and Mthonianeni identify the location, type, and extent of climate disaster risk vulnerable areas, taking into account historical and projection data on climate-related disasters. Depending on the product, the geographical locations should come with GIS shapefiles and supporting metadata depicting the geographical location of areas that need to be prioritised in terms of disaster risk reduction actions;
b. Develop ecosystem-based disaster risk response measures for the identified disaster risk vulnerable areas and validate these measures in consultation with the relevant stakeholders.
c. Develop concept notes for the identified climate disaster risk vulnerable areas outlining the climate disaster risks, proposed ecosystem-based disaster risk response measures, and the approximate costs for implementation that can be used to make a case for investment. Previously completed concept notes can be used as a reference. The work should build on similar concept notes already completed for other municipalities and should utilize, for example, the already adopted Climate Change Vulnerability Framework and the Climate Risk Assessment for EbA Guidebook, both developed by GIZ.

Component 3: Stakeholder Engagement and Validation of Findings
a. Stakeholder engagement will be required during a, b, and c of component 1. DFFE and the World Bank will facilitate coordination among stakeholders. The selected firm/consortium will be expected to engage in virtual validation workshops and to prepare materials accordingly. It will also be expected to confirm how stakeholder feedback has been adopted. The selected firm/consortium should include validation time into its workplan as part of the inception report (see deliverables below).


a) Inception Report (Word file OR PowerPoint). The inception report shall present the methodology or planned approach to complete the work. It should detail the timeline and milestone for completing the deliverables.
b) Spatial identification of disaster vulnerable areas and development of ecosystem-based response measures (Map). Using the EbA priority area map for Tubatse/Fetakgomo, Matatiele Laingsburg, and Mthonianeni identify climate disaster vulnerable areas. There may be more than one area in a given municipality. The scale of the areas identified will be defined by the types and extent of climate disaster vulnerability issues identified. Areas should be validated through a stakeholder engagement process.
c) Assessment report (Word file) to summarize the climate change risks and EbA-based response measures for the vulnerable areas identified in (b) above. The report should include recommendations for how EbA-response measures could be implemented (sequencing; stakeholders to engage). A single report can cover each of the municipalities covered by this ToR.
d) Concept notes. For each climate vulnerability area identified in (b) above, develop a concept note that outlines the climate disaster risks identified, prioritization of action, an approximating for costs to implement EbA measures, and details of any gaps (regulatory, data, stakeholder engagement) that would pose a barrier to implementation. The EbA Action Plan includes a log frame that should be referenced in the concept notes.

This work is expected to commence end-September 2021 and must be completed by 30 May 2022. EOI responses should be limited to 25 pages and highlight the capacity both meet the technical requirements of the tasks listed as well as to engage effectively with local stakeholders. To this end, local presence will be especially valued in any eventual proposal. Attachments