The Municipality of Maputo is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, where the incidence of high temperatures, internal flooding, pluvial erosion due to rainwater runoff and coastal erosion due to the process of sea wave dynamics is currently observed. Maputo Municipality has been identified as one of the most risk-prone locations to climate change in Mozambique by the World Bank in 2010 and INGC.

Main Climate Change Related Challenges

Historical data indicate that most areas near the coast of Maputo Municipality recorded an increase of 0.32 ° C in the mean annual maximum air temperature per decade and a decrease in 0.04 ° C in the mean annual minimum temperature per decade during in the 1970-2006 period. In the mainland of Maputo the mean annual maximum air temperature increased by 0.23 ° C per decade, while the minimum temperature increased by 0.33 ° C per decade over the same period. The precipitation presented considerable annual variability but showed no discernible changes throughout the region of this municipality.

Climate projections indicate that between 2046-2065 the average annual maximum air temperature in Maputo could increase by 2.1 ° C while the minimum increase by 2.2 ° C. On the other hand, precipitation projections also indicate considerable annual variability but no notable changes. Agricultural production, including access to food, in some municipal districts may be severely compromised by precipitation variability and may have adverse effects on local food security. In addition, if rising temperatures are accompanied by increased water demand, this may adversely affect livelihoods and accentuate water-related problems.

Studies indicate that sea level may rise by 10 cm by 2030 (low scenario) and, between 20 cm and 100 cm by 2060 (medium scenario) in the coastal areas of the Municipality of Maputo. The projected elevation of sea level may affect low-lying coastal areas with flooding, reducing agricultural activities and destruction of local people’s assets. This may also lead to a more pronounced degradation of mangroves and coral reefs and bring additional consequences for fisheries and tourism.

It is also expected that the surface temperature of the sea will have a continuous and slow rise in the region near Maputo. An increase in sea surface temperature tends to cause sea level rise by thermal expansion and therefore exacerbate the impacts associated with rising sea levels.

Finally, the frequency of intense cyclonic storms may increase in the Southwest Indian Ocean region including the Mozambique channel. Cyclonic storms and their associated winds have been responsible for the destruction of infrastructures among other goods during their passage that result in unsustainable socio-economic losses.

Storm surge induced sea level rise could rise by 1.1 m or more by 2050 in Maputo’s low-lying coastal areas. The combined effect of rising sea levels, rising tides and storm surges on sea level could cause a rise of 2.7 m by 2046-2065 in the coastal regions of southern Mozambique, including Maputo. The population exposed to flooding by sea level rise (tidal storms) could increase until the end of the century.

Direct consequences

The direct consequences of climate-related threats in Maputo Municipality include the destruction of infrastructure such as roads, drainage systems, sewage, water and electricity systems, public and private buildings, public spaces. This leads to a reduction in the quality of service provision for the residents of the municipality. On the other hand the subsistence activities of the majority of the citizens are sensitive to the climatic risks; therefore, the source of income is also affected. The current economic losses due to climate-related risks / threats in Maputo Municipality are estimated at $ 50 million per year and are expected to increase in the future if appropriate adaptation measures are not implemented (Queface 2016). Its coastal location means that Maputo’s freshwater sources are subject to saltwater intrusion from rising sea level and therefore, salty intrusions have already caused damage to agriculture.

To date, the main focus of climate change assessment and impact studies has been on a national level, which has led to inadequate adaptation plans / measures at the municipal level. Many of the impacts resulting from climate change are already significantly affecting ecosystems, infrastructure, people and socio-economic values ​​in various coastal areas and in the interior of the Municipality of Maputo.

Other challenges are as following

Weak infrastructure and services: Low lying areas in Maputo are particularly at risk and generally comprised of slums populated by impoverished people. These areas have limited drainage infrastructure and poor public services, such as infrequent waste collection and inadequate sanitation services, which compound the effect of floods and cyclones.

Lack of Access to credit: In the event of a cyclone or flood, where assets that people rely on to make a living are destroyed, a lack of access to credit and capital is a barrier to rebuilding their livelihoods and make poor populations particularly vulnerable. Land title laws, left from the previous Portuguese occupation, contribute to the vulnerability of the poor to shocks and stresses particularly during extreme climatic events.

Weak Environmental protection: The natural environment can provide a source of protection to extreme climate events such as flooding and sea storm surges. Mangroves prevent coastal erosion, buffer the coast against storm surges, as well as improving water quality and providing essential nursery grounds for numerous fish species. Destruction of these natural assets has an impact on people’s livelihoods, particularly those who rely on fisheries and tourism as a source of income as well as worsening the effect of the coastal erosion and the storm surge.

Crisis Types

During the last 25 years, Mozambique has suffered from an uninterrupted sequence of drought and floods which negatively affected the country’s social and economic development. The most severe drought periods were recorded in 1981–1984, 1991–1992 and 1994–1995; while floods were observed in 1977–1978, 1985, 1988, 1999–2000 and more recently in 2007–2008. Floods are often magnified by cyclones. Since 1970, Mozambique has been hit by 34 significant cyclones or tropical depressions and 5 major flood events (2000, 2001, 2007 and 2008 and most recently in early 2012 following tropical cyclones from the Indian coast). In particular, the number of recorded cyclones during the 1999– 2000 wet seasons was extraordinarily high and flooding had terrible consequences.

During the months of February to March 2000, a combination of torrential rains and tropical cyclones caused the most devastating floods in the history of Mozambique killing 700 people and producing damages worth 600 million dollars.

[1] National  Institute of Disaster Management

[2] Junior et al, CCCI Climate Change Assessment in Maputo,UN-Habitat, 2009 & Maputo Local Adaptation Plan, 2016

[3] Climate change Assessement in Maputo, UN HABITAT 2009

[4] Maputo Local Adaptation Plan, 2016

[5] ICLEI, City Adaptation Network. Maputo Baseline Study, 2006

[6] GFDRR Climate Change Country Profile, Mozambique. 2011