Project Development Phase of the UNDP/GEF Project: Ecosystem Restoration and Sustainable Water and Land Management in the Komati and Mbuluzi Catchments in Swaziland

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About 70% of people in the Kingdom of Swaziland that rely on subsistence farming for their livelihoods, are highly vulnerable to climate and land-use impacts. The recent impacts of the 2014/15 El Nino induced-drought including climate change progression undermined crop production resulting to a decrease of 68% in 2015 production compared to previous years, particularly the stable food (maize). In addition, the sugar industry accounting for 21% of the GDP consumes more than 80% of the surface water resources thriving on inefficient irrigation technologies. Results of the annual assessment by the 2016 Swaziland Vulnerability Assessment Committee indicate that 26% of the population faced a food deficit beyond the 2016/2017 rainy season. According to the 2015 WFP/FAO assessment, it is further estimated that food production needs will increase by 70% by 2050 to meet growing population demands, an increasingly challenging emergence to the projected impacts of climate change. Such, endorses lessons drawn from the implementation of the, ‘Adapting National and Transboundary Water Resources Management to expected Climate Change’ Project implemented from 2012 to 2016, which intervention assisted the country establish the national position of a commitment to increased water management efficiencies and agricultural production through improved ecosystem management actions.

The multi-focal project to enhance sustainable land management on key ecosystems in the country is proposed under the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs (MTEA) with multi-developmental benefits to Swaziland’s Vision 2022 6th pillar, Agriculture and Environment Sustainability. This builds on the strong commitment by the Government of Swaziland through intentions to promote productivity of climate adapted ecosystems, of the Mbuluzi and Nkomati catchments through support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Round 6 STAR allocation amounting to $2.13m. This will be programmed under the, Ecosystem Restoration and Sustainable Water and Land Management in the Komati and Mbuluzi Catchments in Swaziland’, Project. The integrated project will achieve global environmental benefits by addressing the following objectives of the GEF-6 Strategy: (i) CC1: Promote innovation technology transfer and supportive policies and strategies, (ii) LD4: Maximise transformational impact through SLM for agro-ecosystem services (iii) and, SFM-O4: Increased contribution of sustained forest ecosystem services to national economies and local livelihoods for both men and women.

The national idea has been proposed for undertaking through three components:

  • Component 1: Enhanced national and communal integrated water resources management for productive ecosystems. Such would address: weak governance and management of catchments and communal lands through effective and coordinated River Basin Authorities (RBAs); improve coordination of ecosystem management approaches; and, promote adoption of efficient technologies through knowledge generation for adapting climate smart technologies and practices in rural climate-vulnerable communities.
  • Component 2: Innovative water-use efficient technologies are promoted for adoption by small-scale irrigation farmers. The Mbuluzi catchment will be key in piloting integrated catchment monitoring systems (river flow, siltation), while the Komati Catchment will be facilitated for adoption of water efficient innovative irrigation systems such as drip irrigation and renewable energy integration in economic water abstraction. Focus will be directed towards small-scale sugarcane farmers building on the government investment in the irrigated sugarcane industry.
  • Component 3: Catchment ecosystems restored and alternative livelihoods options developed for rural and vulnerable communities’ livelihood. The country’s 2015 Intended National Determined Contributions (INDC) singles out climate change adaptation as key to building the necessary knowledge systems and platforms at both national and communal levels to promote small-scaled production including creating linkages with markets. The targeted Mbuluzi and Komati catchments are key in harnessing national water resources however such capacities are on wane considering climate change impacts. In this regard the role of communities in adopting adaptive practices for enhanced food insecurity and water efficiency. This will be promoted by knowledge transfer for differential gender impacts and benefits considerations. Private sector partnership is targeted in improving water use and irrigation efficiency.

The Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs (MTEA) and GEF National Focal Point seeks the technical services of an International Consultant to work with national stakeholders and expound the, ‘Ecosystem Restoration and Sustainable Water and Land Management in the Komati and Mbuluzi Catchments in Swaziland’ concept into a GEF-compliant Project Identification Form (PIF).

Scope and Objectives

The overall objective of the assignment is to guide the country through the process of GEF Round 6 programming and produce a concept for the Ecosystem Restoration and Sustainable Water and Land Management in the Komati and Mbuluzi Catchments in Swaziland Project’ for implementation from 2018 to 2022. This will be developed through a broad and inclusive consultation process, agreed by relevant stakeholders. Specifically, the consultancy will have two objectives (i) to guide the national consultants in refining the current draft Concept Note and focusing these to specific GEF-able issues using an integrated biodiversity (BD) and climate change adaption (CCA) as the entry point; and, (ii) to develop a Project Information Form (PIF) in line with the revised issues and GEF Round 6 STAR Allocation Guidelines and inform the Project Preparatory Grant (PPG) for submission to GEF through UNDP.