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Environment Program Overview
USAID/Southern Africa's Environment portfolio promotes sustainable economic growth in targeted areas by integrating climate change into policy and decision making, and ensuring sound management of transboundary natural resources. In particular, USAID/Southern Africa supports the Global Climate Change (GCC) Presidential Initiative and Congressional Biodiversity and Water earmarks through its programs. Through its environmental programs, USAID enhances resiliency of critical river basins in Southern Africa, improves capacity to cope with climate change, advances environmental innovation and supports low emissions development. Programs work in the following areas:
Enhancing Resiliency of Southern Africa’s River Basins
USAID/Southern Africa improves transboundary management and decision making for water, biodiversity, and associated natural resources resulting in sustainable, equitable and rational use of natural resources to meet human development and ecological needs. Many countries in the Southern Africa region are either currently experiencing water scarcity or are vulnerable to water stress. The integrity of ecosystems is under threat, with biological diversity being lost. Climate change is likely to exacerbate these problems, with the potential to limit economic development in the decades to come. All major rivers in the region flow across national boundaries and cooperative decision making and management is necessary to conserve biodiversity and ensure equitable and efficient use of water and other natural resources. USAID/Southern Africa currently works in the Okavango River Basin (including parts of Angola, Botswana and Namibia). In 2012 we will start new programs in the Limpopo River Basin (including parts of South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe), and expand partnerships in the Orange-Senqu River Basin (including parts of Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia).
Improving Capacity to Cope with Climate Change
USAID/Southern Africa promotes the integration of climate change into policy, decision-making and practice. Climate change has the potential to be a major stressor limiting development potential in Southern Africa over the next century. While the full scope of climate impacts is not yet fully understood for the region, overall evidence indicates an increase in more intense and severe weather events, such as storms, floods and droughts, sea-level rise, and a shift in agro-ecological zones. USAID provides technical assistance to improve understanding of the potential impacts of climate change in targeted geographies, while building regional, national and local capacity to address these changes.
Advancing Environmental Innovation
Global change, in the form of climate impacts, population growth and an increased and unsustainable demand on natural resources, demands a new kind of thinking and acting to ensure a sustainable future for Southern Africans. USAID/Southern Africa promotes the development and adoption of innovative, science-based solutions to support vibrant and ecologically sustainable development.