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Reducing Disaster Risks from Wildfire Hazards Associated with Climate Change in South Africa

Reducing Disaster Risks from Wildfire Hazards Associated with Climate Change in South Africa


The goal of the project is to reduce the country's environmental, social and economic vulnerability to the increased incidence of wildfires in order to adapt to climate change effects. This is to be achieved through a biome-scale change in the fire management approach from reactive fire-fighting to proactive integrated fire management (IFM), including managing the ecosystem through controlled burns. 

Source: UNDP South Africa Project Information Questionnaire 

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Project details

Wildland fire occurrence in South Africa is a function of vegetation (fuel availability), climate ("fire weather” conditions, with key critical limits of dry spell duration, air humidity, wind speed and air temperature), and ignitions (lightning or human and other sources).  While wildland fires are a natural feature of fire-driven ecosystems, changes in climate will have adverse affects through altering the future occurrence of wildland fires, and the area burned, in various ways that involve weather conditions conducive to combustion, fuels to burn and ignition agents.

These influences may be summarized as follows: (i) increased local climate variability and weather extremes are likely to be characterized by decreased intensity of rainfall and moisture in the dry period; (ii) the predicted increases in surface air temperatures as a result of climate change will increase rates of evapotranspiration, and desiccate the fuel load; (iii) the increase in spatial and temporal variability in wind patterns are likely to result in hot and dry winds, notably in the interior areas of the country; (iv) an increased incidence of lightning storms; and (v) the increased carbon uptake in vegetation (notably in invasive alien species) will increase the rate of increase of quantity of combustible biomass. Together, these drivers will influence the number of days where the risks of fire (as measured by the Fire Danger Index) are dangerously high.

Source: UNDP South Africa Project Information Questionnaire  

Infrastructure/Climate Change Risk Management
Level of intervention
  • Community
Key collaborators
  • Country Office
  • Local Governments
  • National Governments
  • Non-Governmental Organizations
Primary beneficiaries:

Those living in the Fynbos Region in South Africa at high risk of experiencing wildfires caused by climate change induced droughts.

Implementing agencies and partnering organizations
  • Government of South Africa
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project status
Funding Source
Global Environment Facility - Special Climate Change Fund
Financing amount
35,336,400 (as of August 2009)
Co-financing total
31,800,000 (as of August 2009)


Key results and output

  • Outcome 1: Early warning and hazard risk information system put in place to deal with the additional fire hazard risks associated with climate change (national level)
  • Outcome 2: Paradigm Shift from reactive fire fighting to integrated fire management system to cope with climate change-induced fire hazards and capacity built at local level to manage the predicted increased incidence and extent of fire, leading to the reducing fire risk over areas at least 150,000 km2 in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State Provinces
  • Outcome 3: Innovative risk reduction interventions implemented, in close cooperation with the insurance industry, with the special coverage of no less than 20,000km2.
  • Outcome 4: Good practices on adaptive management of fire risks disseminated (national and regional levels)

Source: UNDP South Africa Project Information Questionnaire 

Reports & publications

Videos & multimedia

Monitoring & evaluation

Project Start:

Project Inception Workshop: will be held within the first 2 months of project start with those with assigned roles in the project organization structure, UNDP country office and where appropriate/feasible regional technical policy and programme advisors as well as other stakeholders.  The Inception Workshop is crucial to building ownership for the project results and to plan the first year annual work plan. 


Day to day monitoring of implementation progress: will be the responsibility of the Project Manager, based on the project's Annual Work Plan and its indicators, with overall guidance from the Project Director. The Project Team will inform the UNDP-CO of any delays or difficulties faced during implementation so that the appropriate support or corrective measures can be adopted in a timely and remedial fashion.


Project Progress Reports (PPR): quarterly reports will be assembled based on the information recorded and monitored in the UNDP Enhanced Results Based Management Platform. Risk analysis will be logged and regularly updated in ATLAS.


Annual Project Review/Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIR): This key report is prepared to monitor progress made since project start and in particular for the previous reporting period (30 June to 1 July).  The APR/PIR combines both UNDP and GEF reporting requirements.  

Periodic Monitoring through Site Visits: 

UNDP CO and the UNDP RCU will conduct visits to project sites based on the agreed schedule in the project's Inception Report/Annual Work Plan to assess first hand project progress.  Other members of the Project Board may also join these visits.  A Field Visit Report/BTOR will be prepared by the CO and UNDP RCU and will be circulated no less than one month after the visit to the project team and Project Board members.

Mid-Term of Project Cycle:

Mid-Term Evaluation: will determine progress being made toward the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction if needed.  It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and will present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management.  Findings of this review will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the project's term.  

End of Project:  

Final Evaluation: will take place three months prior to the final Project Board meeting and will be undertaken in accordance with UNDP and GEF guidance.  The final evaluation will focus on the delivery of the project’s results as initially planned (and as corrected after the mid-term evaluation, if any such correction took place).  The final evaluation will look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of global environmental benefits/goals.  The Terminal Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities.

Project Terminal Report: This comprehensive report will summarize the results achieved (objectives, outcomes, outputs), lessons learned, problems met and areas where results may not have been achieved.  It will also lie out recommendations for any further steps that may need to be taken to ensure sustainability and replicability of the project's results.

Learning and Knowledge Sharing:

Results from the project will be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through existing information sharing networks and forums. 

The project will identify and participate, as relevant and appropriate, in scientific, policy-based and/or any other networks, which may be of benefit to project implementation though lessons learned. The project will identify, analyze, and share lessons learned that might be beneficial in the design and implementation of similar future projects.

Establish a two-way flow of information between this project and other projects of a similar focus.