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Zimbabwe Flood and Drought Monitor Workshop

Background

Zimbabwe is currently still lacking an operational Early Warning System (EWS) at the national level, while being severely affected by El Niño- and La Niña-induced droughts and floods, resulting in the loss of lives and properties, and acutely affecting the already stressed economy. As climate change is increasing the frequency of water related hazards, the need for an operational Early Warning System becomes even more pressing.

UNESCO and Princeton University developed in 2011 the "African Flood and Drought Monitor" (AFDM) under the G-WADI Programme, providing a regional platform to monitor and provide forecasts of upcoming flood and drought hazards. Building on this regional effort, and in response to Cyclone Idai, a more detailed, national version of the Monitor has been developed for Zimbabwe to strengthen flood and drought risk management in the country, and to support the work of the national agencies and related stakeholders to address these hazards.

Objective

This workshop aimed to develop and strengthen the capacity for disaster preparedness and resilience to extreme hydro-meteorological phenomena in Zimbabwe, through the establishment of a user-friendly high-resolution system that predicts risks and consequences of floods and droughts. Specifically, the workshop allowed to:

1) Launch the pilot Zimbabwe Flood and Drought Monitor (ZFDM) for the management of potential flood and drought risks,

2) Conduct training sessions on early warning methods, the ZFDM platform, and data validation

3) Assess the gaps and needs country-wide to improve disaster risk management

4) Consolidate the proposal for a community-centered decision-support-system for monitoring and early warning of climate risks in Zimbabwe.

Outcomes

In order to train key stakeholders on the effective use of the monitor, a capacity building workshop was jointly organized by the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa, Meteorological Services Department (MSD) and Princeton University from 25-27 November 2019. Key stakeholders who attended the event included non-governmental organizations such Oxfam, World Vision and Red cross, interested UN agencies such as Food and Agriculture Organization and UNDP and local authorities such as the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. The two day training workshop emancipated the stakeholders with skills to use the monitor with an aim to develop an encompassing solution to the lack of preparation and foresight, providing the capacity to significantly reduce the threat to human life in future flooding occurrences as well as reduce the impacts of drought episodes.

The training session also gave the stakeholders an opportunity to bring up recommendations to be considered in the continuous refining of the ZDFM. This will contribute to the further development of a long-term project on the development of a community-centered decision-support-system for monitoring and early warning of climate risks in Zimbabwe. Participants gave valid recommendations which will aid in the sustainability and feasibility of the pilot monitoring system moving forward.

Agenda

Day 1 - 25 November

08:30 – 09:00

Registration of participants

09:00 – 09:30

Welcome remarks by Ms. Rebecca Manzou, Director Meteorological Services Department (MSD)

Opening remarks by Mr. Koen Verbist, UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA)

Workshop Agenda by Mr. Vojislav Mitrovic, Princeton University

09:30 – 11:00

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Introduction of Participants

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Overview of currently available flood and drought monitoring systems in Zimbabwe

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Knowledge exchange on flood and drought monitoring and management

11:00 – 11:30

Health Break and Group Photo

11:30 – 12:30

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Introduction to the Zimbabwe Flood and Drought Monitor

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Discussion

12:30 – 13:30

Lunch break

13:30 – 15:00

Hands-on training on the Zimbabwe Flood and Drought Monitor

15:00 – 15:30

Health Break

15:30 – 16:30

Hands-on training on the Zimbabwe Flood and Drought Monitor

Discussion and conclusions for the first day

 

Day 2 - 26 November

09:00 – 11:00

Breakout session: Validation of the Zimbabwe Flood and Drought Monitor using historically observed flood and drought events

11:00 – 11:30

Health Break and Group Photo

11:30 – 12:30

Presentation of the breakout session discussions to the plenary

12:30 – 13:30

Lunch break

13:30 – 15:00

Presentation of the Concept note: ‘A community-based Flood and Drought Monitoring and Early warning system for Zimbabwe’

Breakout session: Gaps and needs for improved flood and drought monitoring and early warning in the country

15:00 – 15:30

Health Break

15:30 – 16:30

Presentation of the breakout session discussions to the plenary and conclusions for the second day

 

Image from the Zimbabwe Flood and Drought monitor

 

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