LAUNCHING OF THE CLIMATE RISK ASSESSMENT IN LAKE RUKWA BASIN

Tanzania is highly vulnerable to climate change. Severe drought and flooding events have been experienced all over the country with negative consequences in food production and water availability. Climate change projections show heavy precipitation events as well as heat waves are expected to increase, leading to higher risks of loss and damages in various sectors.

To analyze potential economic and non-economic losses and damages in the Lake Rukwa Basin a climate risk assessment was commissioned by GIZ’s Global Programme on Risk Assessment and Management for Adaptation to Climate Change on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, with the aim of demonstrating how potential losses and damages associated with the impacts of climate change can be assessed in line with how adaptation and risk management options can be identified and prioritized.

In close cooperation with the GIZ Water program which is operating in Lake Rukwa Basin, the assessment aims to complement their work in supporting the Lake Rukwa Basin Water Board in its efforts to promote Integrated Water Resource Management and Development in a climate resilient manner.

The objective of this risk assessment is to improve policy-relevant climate information and anticipatory planning at the basin level. In addition to efforts at the local level, insights will be evaluated to inform the national level decision-making processes and feed into Tanzania’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process. Eventually, this will provide inputs for the design of methodological guidelines for risk assessments of potential economic and non-economic losses and damages.

To kick start the participatory process a workshop was organized which brought together stakeholders including; Ministry of Water and Irrigation representatives, representatives from the Local Government Authorities, technical advisors, Civil Society Organizations, Academia and Media. Apart from other participants, key individuals featured in the workshop included; the District Commissioner of Songwe District, Chairman of the Lake Rukwa Water Basin Board, and the Assistant Director for Water Resources Management from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. 

The workshop aimed at; introducing participants to the concept of Climate Risk Assessments (CRA); and generating valuable insights and recommendations for selecting sub basin(s) and appropriate thematic areas for the assessment to focus on.

Held in Mbeya from the 27th to 28th of July, 2016, the workshop revealed that the basin is already facing a number of climate change related challenges and thus the study is inevitable and expected to deliver valuable results on projected climate risk. Considering different criteria – e.g. degree of environmental degradation - stakeholders were consulted to select regional and thematic focus areas, where the consultation identified agriculture, ecology, health and water resource as the focus areas of interest, thus selecting Songwe, Luiche and Katuma sub-basins as the regional focus areas for the study. These valuable insights and recommendations from the participants will act as a strong guideline for final selection of the focusing areas which will consider key issues such as the availability of climate data among others.

The next agreed steps from the workshop include; data collection, analysis and socio-economic assessment. The question of how to respond to the potential losses and damages will lead to the identification of proposed measures where the final identified measures will be presented, discussed and validated by key stakeholders in October and the study will be finalized by the end of November.