UN Lighthouse award

Greening communities project wins UN award

Centre-led project aimed at empowering local communities in Maputo, Mozambique, wins UN award

The project is aimed at helping people in Mozambique 'green' their urban neighbourhood and make it more resilient to climate change. It is co-led by centre researcher Emily Boyd.

On 6 November the project, which is based in Maputo, Mozambique, was announced to be among 17 inspiring projects selected as 2013 Lighthouse Activities under the Momentum for Change initiative of the United Nations.

The scope
Climate change is increasingly effecting communities across the globe, and its effects in poor urban areas in Africa are often particularly extreme. Increasing risk of coastal flooding, heat waves and extreme rainfall could put the safety and livelihood of millions of people at risk.

The project's aim was to help the community have more of a say in government and business plans for urban development. Since being implemented, local people have started a new community recycling centre, cutting down on litter, helped clean and maintain drainage channels to prevent potential flooding problems, and now have a stronger voice in urban planning and development decisions.

"An exciting finding from this work is the evidence that local residents, including those with relatively low education backgrounds, want and are capable of handling information about the climate, when it relates to their own experiences of problems such as flooding," says Boyd.

"By getting active involvement of people, literally at street level, we have shown the importance of helping people to speak up about the problems they are facing from a changing climate. This helps to compel government institutions and businesses to take action. By empowering individuals and showing them the important role they play, we have seen an effective way to motivate people to help change their communities for the better," she concludes.

A joint initiative for action
The project was jointly undertaken with involvement from Stockholm Resilience Centre, the University of Reading, University College London, University of York, FUNAB and Aalto University.

Lighthouse Activities and the Momentum for Change initiative are led by the UN Climate Change secretariat, to bring attention to activities across the globe working towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient world.

"There are thousands of examples of people taking action to address climate change all over the world. The Lighthouse Activities highlight some of the most practical, scalable and replicable examples of what people, businesses, governments and industries are doing to tackle climate change, which I hope will inspire others to do the same," says Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary. 

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