You are here

Upscaling nature-based flood protection in Mozambique’s coastal cities


The objective of this activity is to support the Government of Mozambique in implementing nature-based solutions for urban flood risk management, particularly in coastal cities. The activity will also leverage the lessons learned in Mozambique to support the future application of similar solutions in the wider Africa region.


Many of Africa’s major cities are located in river deltas along the coast. These cities are highly prone to damaging floods due to the combination of climate extremes and rapid urbanization. Mozambique is one of the countries most exposed to coastal and river flooding in Africa. The World Bank has been active in providing emergency recovery after flooding in Mozambique, and is increasingly supporting the Government in preventive disaster risk management operations on the city and regional levels. While traditional infrastructure-based interventions still make up the majority of global financing to improve disaster risk management, the application of nature-based solutions is gaining momentum.

One of the first nature-based urban flood management projects supported by the World Bank is in the coastal city of Beira in Mozambique. To maximize results from such projects, it is important to clarify the exact benefits for urban flood risk management and how such approaches can be best adjusted and scaled up to other cities in Mozambique and other countries in Africa. More generally, nature-based urban flood risk management projects struggle to provide a structured and comprehensive assessment of grey and green infrastructure solutions and produce and communicate evidence on the cost effectiveness of such solutions compared to other priorities. 

PROFOR’s activity aims to enhance and upscale the green infrastructure pilot for urban flood risk management to other cities in Mozambique by building on lessons learned in Beira and using guidelines produced under PROFOR’s ongoing Harnessing Forests for Nature-Based Solutions to Disaster Risk Management funded under the DRM and Forestry Global Knowledge Management program.



The activity will conduct the following key tasks and outputs:

1.         Compile lessons learned from the green infrastructure pilot in Beira with a view to extend the knowledge base on green infrastructure development for urban flood management purposes in Africa.

2.         Assessment of relevant legal, regulatory, and institutional framework in Mozambique to identify gaps in the enabling environment to mainstream nature-based solutions (NBS) into planning and implementation of urban drainage and flood risk management, considering climate change. The expected output will be a policy note providing a set of recommendations to improve the enabling environment.

3.         Urban Flood Risk Assessment for one other major delta city in Mozambique that is prone to flooding and erosion (potentially Nacala or Xai-Xai). Outputs from this assessment will include flood risk maps for different climate change and urban growth/expansion scenarios, identification of land-use typology and the potential for nature-based solutions, and a proposal on potential types of nature-based solutions that could be feasibly implemented in the specific setting. A workshop for representatives from national and local government, civil society, academia, and other donors will be conducted to validate the findings and define possible risk reduction strategies.

4.           Cost-benefit analysis of different investment scenarios for green and hybrid flood management solutions. Based on the urban flood risk assessment and stakeholder workshop, a range of investment scenarios for green and hybrid solutions for urban flood management will be generated and analyzed in terms of costs and benefits. A final dissemination workshop will be organized in Mozambique to present and discuss findings with key stakeholders from the national and local level.

The abovementioned outputs will utilize and contribute to the comprehensive guidance on nature-based solutions for flood management that the World Bank is currently preparing under the PROFOR-funded program on Disaster Risk Management and Forestry. Activities will also feed into the preparation of new investment lending operations in aiming to improve drainage and resilience of cities across Mozambique.


The activity contributed to reducing the knowledge gap and extending the knowledge base on the implementation of nature-based solutions for urban flood and erosion management.

  • The lessons from the report have informed World Bank project teams who are working on green infrastructure in cities facing similar challenges, such as inspiring uptake of NBS in a World Bank investment project in Rwanda. 
  • The reports proposed several NBS that could be considered to reduce flood and erosion risk in Quelimane and Nacala, providing an initial assessment of their viability and impact that may inform future investment projects.
  • These lessons learned have been feeding into the implementation and preparation of WB-financed projects in Mozambique. Specifically, contributed to finetuning remaining activities related to the green urban infrastructure in Beira under the Mozambique Cities and Climate Change Project (P123201), especially with regards to maintenance arrangements, and are informing the design and preparation of additional nature-based interventions in Beira that will be financed under the Cyclone Idai and Kenneth Emergency Recovery and Resilience Project (P171040).
  • The risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis show that the implementation of proposed NBS measures would contribute to a significant reduction in flooding risk, be financial and economically viable, and bring additional benefits (ecosystem services, human health, potential job opportunities, etc.).
  • The CBAs will inform proposed investments under the Cyclone Idai and Kenneth Emergency Recovery and Resilience Project (P171040).
  • The findings allowed decision-makers to understand how potential green and gray solutions compare from effectiveness and cost-benefit perspective. The contributions/feedback from national actors also demonstrated that they now consider green/NBS solutions on an equal footing to gray solutions than before.
  • The presentation and discussion of these findings raised awareness for the potential and benefits of NBS with local and national policy-makers in Mozambique, fostering interest in pursuing these solutions to complement or substitute more traditional grey approaches and contributing to building alliances between different actors to work together towards the application of such solutions.

For stories and updates on related activities, follow us on twitter and facebook, or to our mailing list for regular updates.

Last Updated : 05-15-2020