Recognizing the need to raise public awareness of the effects of climate change and opportunities for adaptation in local communities, the Government of Eswatini launched the Adaptation Outreach Programme at an inception workshop on July 5 in Mbabane.
In November 2021—and in time for the international negotiations and discussions at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom—Eswatini submitted its first Adaptation Communication (AdCom) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The country’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process is currently underway, along with an update to the first AdCom.
The adaptation planning process has highlighted the need for a short-term initiative to engage adaptation stakeholders from local communities in the country’s national planning process to both grow their capacities for climate adaptation action and to learn from their experiences in coping with the impacts of climate change. A key element of this learning is to collect information to better understand the local community’s adaptation actions and Indigenous Knowledge for adaptation in Eswatini. The NAP process and AdCom are also being used as vehicles of information to help guide this new initiative.
With technical support provided by the NAP Global Network, the Adaptation Outreach Programme aims to
- Foster peer learning on climate change adaptation actions among communities.
- Collect information on the adaptation measures being implemented at the local level.
- Take stock of non-governmental entities and local grassroots organizations implementing these adaptation measures.
- Gather information on Indigenous Knowledge for adaptation.
During the inception workshop, hosted by Eswatini’s Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, stakeholders were updated about the adaptation planning processes and introduced to the Adaptation Outreach Programme. The meeting was attended by representatives from ministries, government departments, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations from relevant sectors, such as community development, biodiversity, health, water, and research.
Duduzile Nhlengethwa Masina, Director for National Meteorological Services, officially opened the workshop by highlighting “the importance of the outreach programme and the impacts it could have on the resilience of the country’s communities.” The presentations by Khetsiwe Khumalo, Climate Change Programme Coordinator, and Minky Groenewald, the Project Manager of the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency, highlighted the National Climate Change Programme, the NAP development process, the initial AdCom, and their linkages to the new Adaptation Outreach Programme.
The workshop participants discussed the approach to the outreach program and strategized innovative ways to gather and archive traditional and Indigenous Knowledge on adaptation. Professor Gugu Sibandze, University of Eswatini, remarked that the program “should target both rural and urban vulnerable communities to equip them with the necessary information on their varying climate change impacts and ensure that we leave no one behind.”
The next steps for the outreach program are:
- Increase understanding of climate change impacts and promote the inclusion of grassroots communities in adaptation actions through workshops for communities.
- Collect Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge on how to adapt to climate change risks.
- Prepare case studies on adaptation action that focus on specific communities that have implemented adaptation actions and have improved their livelihoods, knowledge, and resilience.
This inception workshop was supported by the NAP Global Network via its Country Support Hub, with funding from the U.S. Department of State.