Theme 4

Increased skills and capacity to build resilience in the Olifants basin

The objective of this theme is to build the capacity of stakeholders to sustainably manage water resources and biodiversity in Olifants Basin.

The focus of this theme is to build capacity within governments, communities, and other stakeholders at the sub-catchment level to formulate and implement integrated natural resources policies and practices that enhance overall resiliency of livelihoods and ecosystems. Stakeholders will be drawn actively into the project through a number of partnerships that are constituted as the RESILIM-O Learning Network (RLN) as well as through a sub-grant programme (after year 2) so that they can collaborate in developing strategic resilience frameworks and actions for various sub-catchments (clusters) of the Olifants. These will be drawn together into an overarching regional governance framework that emphasizes resilience, sustainability and responsivity to environmental (climate) change.

The sub-objectives for Theme 4 are:
4.1 to develop capacity at the Olifants basin and sub-catchment level to implement practices that improve natural resource management and ecosystem resilience.
4.2 to increase knowledge and understanding of resource management, climate change and biodiversity conservation

The holding mechanism for learning, and mediating this learning in the Olifants catchment, will be the RESILIM Learning Network (RLN) (see Table 1). The RLN is a spectrum of stakeholders with a stake in the RESILIM project objectives. The RLN will provide the platform for key areas of activity associated with building the capacity of stakeholders. The objectives of the RLN are to:
• Facilitate active stakeholding in local, national, and regional policy dialogues on transboundary management of the Olifants River Basin.
• Facilitate and support the involvement of local NGOs and communities in management of sub-catchment through the sub-grants program.
• Provide training as identified e.g. in IWRM for sub-catchment water management authorities and stakeholders through the capacity and skills development program.
• Build awareness and capacity within governments, communities, and other stakeholders through Forums, a website, newsletters and other media.

Workpackages under Theme 4:

a. Understanding the ORB context
Learning and capacity development cannot proceed in a vacuum. For this reason the initial activities will work with the three RESILIM O themes in order to explore the contexts within which stakeholders function and need to respond. The specific focus will be the management of water and biodiversity and related issues.
b. Understanding stakeholders and their contexts
This area of activity aims to understand who the stakeholders of the catchment are, what their values and interests are, and how they plan to respond to the challenges facing the catchment. Part of the task is to establish a comprehensive stakeholder database for both South African and Mozambican stakeholders. This will be followed up by detailed stakeholder profiling and analysis.
c. Tracking practice towards resilience
The way the catchment is managed is a function of practices that have been developed over a number of years, at a number of levels and by a number of institutions. This key workpackage will focus on developing a strategy for assessing existing practices and potential ones that can support resilience. The aim is to develop, with stakeholders, activity systems (configurations of practices) that have a positive effect on resilience in the ORB.
d. Implementing communication strategy
A strong communications strategy is important for the RESILIM O project in order to communicate its progress and findings. In addition to this is the recognition of the principle that resilient systems display high levels of connectedness and communication. To this end Theme 4 will explore ways of facilitating communication that supports connectedness, feedback and interaction that builds resilience.
e. Fulfilling events and partner obligations
RESILIM O fits into the broader context of the Limpopo Basin initiative of RESILIM B. Shared outcomes, stakeholders and contexts for implementation require that there is communication, co-ordination and integration. This theme holds this responsibility and also fulfils general partner obligations for integration.
f. Training and skills development
Theme 4 is responsible for training programmes to be conducted under themes 1, 2 and 3. These activities will be conducted under the subgrants programme to be initiated in year 2.