International Crane Foundation


Zambezi Delta Management Planning Process

Africa: > Zambezi Delta Management Planning Process

The Zambezi Delta Management Planning Process
The process for developing and implementing a comprehensive and visionary management plan for the conservation and wise use of the Zambezi Delta involves 14 steps.

(1) Identify Marromeu Complex stakeholders
A diverse array of stakeholders are now included in the planning process, drawn from local communities and administration posts in the Zambezi Delta region, private sector (including sugar producers, hunting concessions, railway operators, farming companies, and others), government agencies (national, provincial, and local offices), and NGOs (both humanitarian and environmental organizations).

(2) Consolidate and disseminate background information
Extensive information on resource uses, trends, and ecosystem inter-relationships has been collected and analyzed over the past decade. Before, during, and after the awareness meetings we compiled, integrated, and summarize information on the socio-cultural, economic, hydrological, and ecological character of the Marromeu Complex. We disseminated this information to community, private sector, NGO, and government agency and administration stakeholders in an easy-to-use format and style.

(3) Convene awareness meetings
We convened a series of awareness forums and meetings with community, private sector, NGO, and government agency stakeholders. These meetings were conducted at the very beginning of the planning process to clearly inform all stakeholders about the intention to produce a management plan and the goals for stakeholder, especially community, involvement in the process and decision-making. The meetings provided an opportunity to promote a shared understanding of the functions and values of the Marromeu Complex, the present and future pressures likely to be placed on the system, and the opportunities for improved management of the site. The meetings also solicited community perspectives on resources issues of local importance (such as local use of resources, resources that are declining, root causes of management problems, existence of local resource management rules and institutions, and local solutions to problems). Before each of the community workshops, we met with the chiefs, traditional leaders, district/local administrators, and woman’s organizations associated with the specific community center to discuss their questions and concerns and gain their support for the planning process.

(4) Convene management planning meetings
We now are convening a series of workshops to gain specific input and insights from community, private sector, NGO, and government agency stakeholders for the draft management plan. These meetings are designed to promote equitable involvement in the management planning process, to build capacity of communities to interact and to speak on behalf of their interests and engage with other stakeholders, to expand the flow of communication within and among stakeholder groups, to develop shared vision, agendas, and objectives for management, and to provide a forum for conflict resolution. The management planning meetings include ten public workshops, held with local community members and administrators around the ten focal community centers, approximately 40 office meetings covering the private stakeholders, government agencies, and NGOs, and two joint stakeholder workshops drawing together community representatives with government agencies, private sector, and NGOs (the second workshop, discussed below, will focus exclusively on wildlife management issues).

(5) Develop digital elevation and floodplain hydrology models
We will develop a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the lower Zambezi system based on high resolution radar imagery. The DEM will enable us to accurately map the floodplains, embankments, and other topographic features of the lower Zambezi River and Delta in relation to Zambezi water levels. We will undertake detailed floodplain modeling to link Zambezi River flows to the magnitude, timing, duration, and extent of floodflows in different river sections. These models will be used to generate scenarios linking spatial and temporal flow characteristics with different ecological, economic, and/or socio-cultural activities.

(6) Evaluate water management alternatives
One critical management action – establishing Environmental Flow Requirements for inflows from the Zambezi River to the Zambezi Delta – requires multi-disciplinary expert opinion in addition to input from communities, stakeholders, and decision-makers. Lower Zambezi River flows are controlled largely by Cahora Bassa Dam, and water management improvements in the Zambezi Delta will require coordinated flood releases from the hydropower dam in cooperation with the dam operators (Hidroeléctrica de Cabora Bassa), National Water Directorate, and Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy. Environmental Flow Requirements to meet specific ecological, economic, and socio-cultural management strategies for the Marromeu Complex will be estimated through a site-specific workshop technique developed in South Africa to assess ecologically sensible flood flows and low flows for rivers. We will combine data and knowledge from relevant biophysical, social, and economic disciplines to produce a range of objective, scientifically-based flow scenarios using the Downstream Response to Instream Flow Transformations model, or DRIFT. DRIFT is a structured, modular process that combines different parts of the flow regime (e.g., low flows and small, medium, and large floods) that maintain different parts of the river system in terms of economic and socio-cultural activities and ecological processes. DRIFT was developed in the context of river management in southern Africa and differs from other methodologies in that it allows for the integration of a range of stakeholder values into the flow scenarios. Scenario Planning will be used to develop a practical set of operational rules, based on integrating the system hydrology, user demands, and downstream biophysical and socioeconomic requirements.

We will conduct two interactive workshops with specialists, through which the biophysical and socio-economic implications of various flow scenarios are discussed and quantified, facilitated by experts from Southern Waters Ecological Research and Consulting. This first workshop will focus on biophysical aspects and include specialists in hydrology, geomorphology, water quality, aquatic ecology, estuarine ecology, wildlife ecology, floodplain/riverine vegetation, and fish biology, with socio-economic specialists as observers to foster a clear cross-disciplinary understanding of expected changes in the system. The second workshop will focus on socio-economic aspects and include specialists in anthropology, agronomy, natural resource economics, and fisheries, with biophysical specialists as observers. Experts will include international specialists and local experts from Mozambique to encourage information exchange and local capacity building. We are also inviting water resource specialists from upstream Zambezi basin countries to the workshops to further enhance confidence and capacity building within the entire Basin and lead to their better appreciation of the vulnerability of the Zambezi Delta region to river basin development.

Based on the results of the two workshops a range of scenarios for different environmental flow requirements for the Zambezi River corresponding to various management goals for the Zambezi Delta will be articulated. For instance, one scenario might be constructed to maximize benefits to estuarine processes and the rehabilitation of the delta prawn fishery. Another scenario might be constructed primarily to improve the channel morphology to restore the geohydrologic conditions needed to sustain the grasslands that could support re-established Cape Buffalo herds. Yet another might be designed to restore subsistence fisheries. And yet another might be to create the optimal conditions for recessional agriculture in the floodplain. Each of these scenarios will describe an "environmental hydrograph" in terms of the magnitude, duration, frequency and timing of the flow patterns necessary to create the desired environmental conditions. This analysis will reveal possible synergies between environmental hydrographs associated with various water management scenarios and provide and estimate of the range of required delta inflow hydrographs that are needed to support the various management goals.

We will evaluate the feasibility of the different scenarios generated during the expert panel workshops and winnow the scenarios down to those that appear to provide the largest benefits to Marromeu Complex communities and stakeholders with the minimum reduction of the hydropower generation, water supply and navigational benefits of Cahora Bassa. Each scenario will be subjected to an economic analysis of their costs (in terms of lost power revenues and other benefits associated with the operation of the dam) against the economic and non-economic benefits associated with the rehabilitated environmental services downstream. The objective is to identify those scenarios that appear to provide the most positive cost to benefit ratio. We will cross-check the final selected scenarios with the expert panel before incorporating them into the management plan.

(7) Evaluate wildlife management alternatives
We will also convene a focal workshop to address wildlife management objectives and hunting quotas for the Marromeu Complex. The stakeholder workshop will involve the warden for Marromeu, representatives from all concerned government agencies, Coutada operators (and their professional hunters), local communities, district administrators, NGOs, and other interested and affected parties. Using background information and data on the wildlife populations (status and trends), the history of the wildlife operations over the past 20 years, and current hunting quotas and restrictions on wildlife utilization, we will work towards a consensus vision for wildlife management in the Marromeu Complex based on what stakeholders would like to see in the future. We will discuss strategies and mechanisms to devolve increasing benefits from wildlife management to local communities.

(8) Review laws and policies
Concurrent with the focal workshops, we are commissioning a desktop review of all policies, legislation, and plans relevant to the management of the Marromeu Complex. We will assess local, regional, national, and international policies and identify policies and legislation (such as land tenure, national economic policies, or development policies) that may be a root cause of management problems. We will produce recommendations towards harmonizing or reforming existing policies and legislation (for example, blending water policy and environmental policy) to more clearly and efficiently govern resource use in the Marromeu Complex.

(9) Synthesize input and draft management plan
Following completion of the management planning meetings, focal management workshops, and policy review, we will produce a first draft of the Marromeu Complex management plan. We will describe the consensus vision for the conservation and sustainable development of the Marromeu Complex based on stakeholders vision and aspirations, with specific strategies for addressing Environmental Flow Requirements, conservation and sustainable utilization of wildlife, community access to natural resources, commercial and subsistence fisheries and fish conservation, upland forest exploitation and conservation, coastal mangrove exploitation and management, commercial and subsistence agricultural practices (including sugar mill water quality management), livestock management, control of erosion, and other management issues.

(10) Stakeholder review of draft plan
After completion of the draft management plan, we will reconvene forums at each of the ten focal community centers to present the draft plan for discussion and debate and ensure continued community involvement in the planning process. Copies of the draft management plan also will be disseminated to government agencies and administrators, private sector stakeholders, and NGOs for review and comment.

(11) Produce final management plan
We will evaluate and synthesize revisions and additions solicited during the review and comment period and revise the draft management plan accordingly. We will consult with agency, private sector, NGO, and community representatives on an as-needed basis to clarify any unresolved issues.

(12) Disseminate management plan
The final management plan will be published and disseminated widely to all the stakeholders and decision makers who participated in the planning process. Copies of the management plan will be available at the focal community centers. Copies of the plan also will be submitted to the Ramsar Convention and other international conservation bodies.

(13) Launch implementation of management plan
Throughout the planning process, we will focus on ensuring that the management plan will be accepted and implemented upon its completion. After dissemination of the approved plan, we will collaborate with government agencies and non-government organizations to develop the necessary local infrastructure and field capacity, with the goal of having a headquarters established within the Marromeu Complex, staffed by an experienced warden and trained scouts, with adequate transportation and resources to implement the plan. Some preliminary guarantees of funding support already have been offered for establishing this necessary infrastructure and local capacity. We also will meet with local communities throughout the management area to answer questions and discuss concerns about the management plan and solicit feedback from communities, stakeholders, and decision makers to facilitate revisions to the plan.

(14) Evaluate management plan
We will develop a pilot project to evaluate the ecological, economic, and socio-cultural implications of the management plan, with emphasis on newly implemented community-based natural resource management practices in one region of the Marromeu Complex. The pilot project will be implemented during Year Three of the project. The detailed focus of the pilot project will be determined based on the results of the management planning process, but will involve a quantitative evaluation of changes in the resource base in the pilot area for the period following implementation of the plan, including especially wildlife and forest products, and a Participatory Rural Appraisal process to assess the economic and socio-cultural affects of the plan on local livelihoods and aspirations.