Integrating Adaptation to Climate Change into Poverty Reduction Efforts

Problem statement:

Climate change is a global phenomenon, the negative impacts of which are most severely felt by the poor. This segment of the population tends to be more vulnerable due to a greater dependence on natural resources and a more limited capacity to cope with climate variability and extremes.

In January 2015, the Mauritian Government announced a medium to long-term Marshall Plan to combat poverty and social exclusion in Mauritius. The District of Moka was selected as the pilot region. The initiative was therefore named the “Moka Marshall Plan” (MMP). The MMP is a joint initiative to pilot a community empowerment methodology that will be applicable across Moka and its 16 village council areas (VCAs).

A flash survey carried out in the 16 VCAs of the district of Moka revealed that the changing climate is affecting livelihoods, particularly among the poor, and is therefore a serious risk to poverty reduction, threatening to undo decades of development efforts.

Goals & Objectives:

The goal of the project is to prioritize efforts and empower poor communities in preventing, preparing, and responding to the impacts of climate change:

  • Prevention – identifying the threat;
  • Planning – reducing exposure;
  • Responding – applying lessons learned from past events to significantly improve recovery.

Achievements:

The best way to address the impact of climate change among the target population is by integrating adaptation responses into development planning, while improving practical knowledge at the local level. This serves as an optimal approach to community engagement.

The proposed action addresses and integrates MMP poverty reduction priorities, focusing specifically on disaster and risk reduction issues related to climate change among the target population. The action will inform a better understanding and pinpoint necessary improvements to the community’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

The project will be implemented in five VCAs in the Moka District and the initial phase will be completed in three months. Main activities will include:

  • Prepare a 3D mobile exhibition on climate change issues for display in five villages in the Moka district;
  • Display the exhibit for knowledge sharing with the community on climate change and related issues;
  • Set up a core group for communal action in each village in case of extreme events and shocks-training in preparedness/rescue/resilience.

All the members of the community will be invited to participate in stimulus/preparedness exercises. Immediate results are expected to include:

  • Increased community awareness of climate change issues;
  • Participation in basic practical preparedness exercise;
  • Involvement in basic response exercises;
  • Increased resilience of livelihoods and infrastructure;
  • Development of effective adaptation strategies – build upon and sustain existing livelihoods, taking into account existing knowledge and coping strategies;
  • Make specific policy recommendations for action in the areas/localities.

In the long term, development of a core group formed in each village will provide opportunities for community involvement on climate change issues after the project life. The project monitoring team will continue to work with the core group for capacity building and training for 2-3 years. Overall, the project is expected to yield multiple benefits, including knowledge sharing, networking and support of communal actions, protection and conservation of natural resources, as well as the safeguarding of property and infrastructure. Findings and results of the action will be used to set benchmarks for other villages in other districts across Mauritius.