Climate Resilience and Management of Natural Resources in the SADC Region

Porject description

Title: Climate Resilience and Management of Natural Resources in the SADC Region
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Regional SADC countries
Lead executing agency: Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat 
Overall term: 2021 to 2023


According to forecasts, Southern Africa will experience considerably higher temperatures and lower precipitation by 2100. Extreme weather events will become more frequent and more intense, thereby reducing the amount of water available for arable farming and animal husbandry, wildlife and vegetation, and also decreasing productivity. The population is growing and farmland is expanding: natural areas are under increasing pressure. This, combined with environmentally damaging practices, is adversely affecting ecosystems. Women in rural areas are particularly impacted by this, as they are frequently more dependent on natural resources. 

Cross-border, environmentally friendly land-use systems and ecosystems preserve biodiversity. They secure the livelihoods of rural communities and increase their resilience to climate change. This is why the Southern African Development Community (SADC) supports the creation of Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs). To date, 18 TFCAs have been registered, which together cover around 10 per cent of the land area of the SADC member states. 

In TFCAs, the land is used in such a way as to protect biodiversity and improve the livelihood of the local population. Nature tourism, which is important economically, also benefits. Good natural resource management practices and climate-smart agriculture are available, but are not yet systematically implemented. In the TFCAs, courses and opportunities for discussion on ways to both adapt to and mitigate climate change are limited. There is little regional cooperation between training and research institutions. Furthermore, the online courses that are required in light of the COVID-19 pandemic are lacking. Tourism, which is so important for the TFCAs, has also been severely harmed by the pandemic. Support is required to rebuild the sector in a climate-friendly way. 


Climate change is systematically taken into account in the cross-border management of natural resources in the SADC region.


The project strategy covers four fields of work, which it implements at the international, regional, national and local levels.
At the regional level, the project is improving the strategic planning framework for taking climate change into account in the cross-border management of natural resources. It analyses the risks of climate change and of mitigation measures and supports access to funding. 

The project promotes knowledge sharing on climate-sensitive resource management and climate-smart agriculture locally, regionally and nationally. To do so, it deploys knowledge platforms and networks and makes greater use of digital formats. More regional courses at training centres and in e-learning formats are facilitating access to knowledge, as well as strengthening regional cooperation in the area of education. 

The project provides support for the tourism sector in the region and in international forums to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is harmonising COVID-19 standards, strengthening marketing and facilitating cross-border travel.

At the local level, the project works together with municipalities to implement climate-smart agriculture and resource management measures in selected TFCAs. It also promotes cross-border cooperation among the population. 

Last update: April 2021