ProDoc - Strengthening Comoros Resilience Against Climate Change and Variability Related Disaster

Strengthening Comoros Resilience Against Climate Change and Variability Related Disaster

The Union of Comoros (Comoros) is comprised of four islands, namely Ngazidja (or Grande Comore), Mwali (Mohéli), Ndzuani (Anjouan) and Maoré (Mayotte). However, the project will only focus on three of the four islands, excluding Maoré from  the project area. Comoros is a small island developing state (SIDS) with a population of ~8000 and is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. Being a SIDS, the Comoros is characterised by limited resources and poor economic resilience. The Comorian population is predominantly dependent upon subsistence livelihoods based on traditional crops and reliant upon natural resources. Existing land use practices connected to natural resource management are poorly managed resulting in food and water insecurity. Furthermore, because of its geographical position and climatic factors, the Comoros is vulnerable to natural disasters such as tropical storms, floods, rising sea level, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and landslides. The exposure to natural disasters coupled with human-induced pressure on natural resources gives rise to the inherent vulnerability of the Comorian population, which will be further exacerbated under changing climatic conditions.

Climate change is likely to adversely affect the Comoros by resulting in: i) an increase in annual rainfall variation; ii) an increase in temperatures; iii) a rise in sea level (resulting in salt water intrusion and coastal erosion); and iv) an increase in the frequency and severity of climatic hazards (such as tropical cyclones, droughts, episodes of heavy rainfall and flooding).

Existing conditions increase the vulnerability of local communities in the Comoros to the above-mentioned climate change effects. The topography of the islands is rugged with many steep slopes and lava flows which intensify the runoff strength of rainwater. In combination with fragile soils, the topography causes erosion and flooding and results in the destruction of villages. This is exacerbated by the unsustainable land use practices, including deforestation and expanding agriculture. Local communities living in vulnerable areas within proximity of the sea are also exposed to coastal erosion as a result of heavy rainfall, tides or sand removal. Furthermore, climate-induced disasters – including tropical cyclones and storms leading to heavy rainfall, landslides, rock falls and flooding – affect the transport networks. Local communities are often cut off from food, water and medical supplies as well as emergency services during such climate-related natural disasters.

The project objective is to strengthen the adaptive capacity of the Comorian population to manage the current disaster risks and reduce vulnerability to climate change. In so doing, the project will focus on improving early warnings and disaster risk management under changing climatic conditions. To achieve this, the following outcomes will be delivered: i) enhancing the political, regulatory and institutional framework of climate-related disaster risk management; ii) improving the knowledge and understanding of government ministries, departments and institutions of medium- to long-term climate-related natural disasters; iii) strengthening the climate resilience of the local communities’ livelihoods and assets against climate-related natural disasters; and iv) increasing knowledge-sharing and awareness of climate change adaptation.