Responding to a changing world

USAID: Environment and global climate change

USAID recognizes that “in just 60 years, the world’s population has accelerated from 2.5 billion people to 7 billion people today. By 2050, another 2 billion will join our planet—mostly in developing countries—increasing the rapidly growing demand for our planet’s resources” . These problems are exacerbated by global climate change, driven by fossil fuel use and deforestation. In acknowledging that a changing climate will hurt the poor most, undermining the livelihoods of millions of people struggling to break free from poverty, USAID’s work in the areas of environment and global climate change is helping to deliver ecological, economic, and environmental results that help millions of people across the globe and, in southern Africa.


USAID’s Resilience in the Limpopo River Basin (RESILIM) program is designed to address ongoing degradation in the Limpopo River Basin in southern Africa, where people face water shortages, increased floods, and declines in crop productivity as climate change further stresses an already water limited region.

There are 2 components to the program; 1 operating at a basin scale (USAID: RESILIM B) and 1 operating at a catchment scale (USAID: RESILIM O). They share the same overall objectives.


Objective 1: To reduce (climate) vulnerability by promoting the adoption of science-based adaptation strategies for transboundary Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and biodiversity conservation in the Olifants sub-catchment.
Objective 2: To enhance long-term water security and reduce (climate) vulnerability by supporting informed adaptation strategies for transboundary Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the Olifants Basin.
Objective 3: To conserve biodiversity and sustainably manage high-priority ecosystems in the Olifants sub-catchment.
Objective 4: Build the capacity of stakeholders to sustainably manage water resources and biodiversity in the Olifants Basin.

The AWARD team added 2 more to speak to integration and learning:

Objective 5: To facilitate the exchange of experience with other basins and especially catchments within the Limpopo Basin.
Objective 6: To ensure continuous reflective and collaborative processes that promote integration, synergies and coherency between the preceding objectives.


USAID: RESILIM-B facilitates transboundary cooperation at a basin level to prevent further degradation of critical river ecosystems, to secure biodiversity and ecosystem services, and to support robust livelihoods in the Limpopo River basin. The five-year program supports the integrated water resources management objectives of the Limpopo Watercourse Commission (LIMCOM), which falls under the a sub-structure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), by building the capacity and resilience of working with stakeholders from Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.


USAID: RESILIM O focuses on the Olifants River Basin and the way in which people living in South Africa and Mozambique depend on the Olifants and its contributing waterways. It aims to improve water security and resource management in support of the healthy ecosystems that support livelihoods and resilient economic development in the catchment. The 5-year program, involving the South African and Mozambican portions of the Olifants catchment, is being implemented by the Association for Water and Rural Development/

“USAID’s RESILIM O program aims to reduce the vulnerability of people and ecosystems through improved transboundary governance and management of natural resources. The program is grounded in a grassroots approach to understanding the systemic causes of vulnerability, including climate vulnerability, and a promoting new ways of thinking and acting to promote integrated water and biodiversity management.”

 AWARD’s approach

At AWARD, we recognize that the natural world’s resources are limited and undergoing rapid depletion and transformation. We know that current practices of use and management are inadequate to deal with the rapid changes and challenges we’re facing.

Our approach has always been one that involves thinking across disciplines, boundaries and systems. We have a record of designing practical interventions to address the vulnerability of people and ecosystems and merge considerations from both environmental and social perspectives.

We specialize in participatory, research-based project implementation aimed at addressing issues of sustainability, inequity, and poverty by building natural-resource management competence and supporting sustainable water-based livelihoods. Our work helps provide a foundation for robust development policy and practice in South Africa that can stand up to an increasingly complex world.

Our innovative work with USAID: RESILIM O involves not only quality science studies towards developing an inter-disciplinary assessment of the Olifants but also an engagement with the socio-political context of the catchment. The realm of politics and scarce resources is fraught with complexity and we know that change is mediated in deeply social and political processes. Our focus on systems thinking and social learning are key innovations of this project, designed to institutionalize integrated, resilience-based practices in the Olifants River Basin.

It calls on people and organizations working in the water and biodiversity sectors, community members, traditional authorities, farmers, the mining sector, research institutions, local and national government and other interested and affected parties to be part of a process to develop a more resilient Olifants River Basin.

RESILIM-O Downloads

To find out more about RESILIM-O and the Our Olifants campaign download the following brochures:

If you would like high resolution or printable versions of the above pamphlets please contact us


RESILIM-O is funded by USAID