Vulnerability mapping of the road network in Zambia

NDF visits the Climate Resilient Road Infrastructure project in Zambia
The Nordic Development Fund (NDF) supports a 4-year initiative to help catapult Zambia’s road infrastructure sector into a much more sustainable future. The project applies a systematic integration of climate change adaption and resilience considerations throughout the road and transport sector’s design and management processes, enabling the Zambian road transport sector to continue to develop in a sustainable way. Particular focus is placed on developing the relevant capacity and skills of the road transport sector stakeholders, including policy makers, decision makers and transport sector engineers and civil servants.

NDF’s Country Program Manager, Mr. Aage Jorgensen visited Lusaka as the first project year was coming to an end. During his visit, he assessed the progress made to date and the initial impact of the project on the Zambian Road Transport Sector. He met with both the Road Development Agency and the Project Team from NTU International. The team presented the project progress to date and work done in the first year of the assignment, which has focused on a climate vulnerability assessment of the transport sector, examining historical trends in climate-related natural disasters and projected climate change impacts. The team had also conducted an economic evaluation of past and anticipated future road infrastructure damage; and examined adaptation options, including optimising road and rail transport and developing more flexible multi-modal transport systems. 

The Road Development Agency leads the project, which attracts considerable interest and engagement of key sectoral stakeholders, many from outside the road transport sector. A consultative workshop was held at the beginning in May 2018, where the work on the climate vulnerability assessment and the economic evaluation of infrastructure damages was presented.

Road Development Analysis
NTU’s team presented its analysis of Road Development Agency data showing that in the period 1996 – 2017 the total direct cost of rainfall-related damage to road infrastructure is estimated at a total of ZMW 2,205 million. Further, the projected annual indirect cost of climate (temperature and rainfall)-related damage to the Zambian Road Network is conservatively estimated at ZMW 295 million (ZMW 210 million attributed to rainfall events and ZMW 85 million to temperature increases). Such amounts are expected to increase to ZMW 303 million by 2030.

Within the next 3 years, the project team, working in close collaboration with the Road Development Agency and all key stakeholders in the sector will develop climate change policy and institutional strengthening recommendations for consideration by government. The project will also draw on global, regional and local experience and innovations to deliver adaptation and mitigation recommendations for road design, construction and maintenance in the form of revised guidelines, codes and standards. Concurrently, the Project will use networking, consultation and training to mainstream project findings into road transport and inter-modal sector operations that will enhance national resilience and adaptation to climate change.

It is expected that the impact of this Project will be able to assess the climate risk of some 5,500 km of the road network (i.e. about 14% the Zambian Core Road Network) which is considered most vulnerable to climate variability and change. The Project will similarly assess the vulnerability of approximately half of Zambia’s population (as many as 8 million people) that the initial Climate Vulnerability assessment indicates may be at direct or indirect risk from climate impacts on the national road network.

This press release can also be found on NDF's website