4 November 2019, Comoros – At a ceremony in the city of Vouani on Ndzuani island (Anjouan), the President of the Union of Comoros, Mr. Azali Assoumani officially launched the project "Ensuring climate resilient water supplies in the Comoros Islands".
“I am delighted to see one of my key commitments come to fruition through this project which aims to simultaneously address several major challenges and achieve transformational changes in the sectors of health, nutrition, food security, agricultural production as well as socio-economic development," said the President of the Union of Comoros.
Climate change impacts threaten to derail recent development gains in Comoros – where approximately 80 percent of the rural population is reliant on rain-fed agriculture. United Nations Models indicate a potential reduction in dry-season rainfall of up to 47 percent by 2090, increased rains in the wet season, and more severe cyclone activity.
Access to surface water in Comoros is a challenge. The main island of Ngazidja (Grande Comore) has no rivers, requiring coastal towns to exploit limited groundwater resources. Rural upland communities, representing 50 percent of the island’s population, rely solely on rainwater harvesting. On the two more remote and poorer islands of Ndzuani (Anjouan) and Mwali (Mohéli), there are no proven groundwater resources and the local population is fully reliant on seasonally variable streams.
"This project is perfectly in line with the Comoros Emergent 2030 vision and more particularly with the commitments of my Ministry to work for inclusive sustainable development. Our target is to ensure that 60% of our population has access to safe drinking water and that farmers can access water to ensure production throughout the year," said the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment, Mr. Moustadroine Abdou, in charge of the implementation of the project.
With a total budget of $50 million, including $42 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the project aims to implement immediate measures to improve water collection and storage capacity, thus ensuring sustainable management of water resources in the long term. A contribution of $2 million from UNDP adds up the Government's announced contribution of about €3.5 million, while China Geo-Engineering Corporation will contribute in kind of up to $1.9 million, as well as the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (FADES) with $290,000.
"This is the realization of a shared vision and a joint commitment by the Government and UNDP to work together and strengthen a national water supply resilient to climate change," said UNDP Resident Representative, Fenella Frost.