In rural areas, Mozambique continues to experience food insecurity, regularly aggravated by extreme climatic events. Specifically, and according to SETSAN (Mozambique’s Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition) reports, Gaza province socio-economic indicators highlighted extreme pools of poverty, where climate conditions – i.e. extreme dry and rainy seasons- have contributed to increase the vulnerabilities of communities and households to food insecurity and malnutrition. This in turn has increased provincial and district government challenges to reinforce community resilience to climate change and food insecurity.
Within this context, UNCDF, within the Belgian Fund for Food Security partnership framework, will begin implementing the LoCAL programme from August, 2014. Building on the existing programmatic experiences in Gaza province in relation to the Food and Nutritional Security Project (FNSP), the LoCAL facility will take into account the government decentralization policy and strategy that identifies the districts as foundation for the promotion of local development. It stresses the importance of the local consultative councils within the local governance system as forums for communities to raise their voices to express their needs and concerns about local realities, which include climate change and food insecurity challenges.
In order to maximize the programmes' synergies and efforts, a workshop was organised in Xai Xai -Mozambique- as a part of the LoCAL scoping mission. The objective of the workshop was to share information with the senior district government colleagues from the Gaza Province. The discussion and debate of key aspects of LoCAL's Performance Based Grant System (PBGS) both deepened the District Government's understanding of LoCAL's methodology and further clarified on how best to adapt LoCAL's design to the Gaza province in order to most effectively support the province's Food and Nutritional Security strategic framework. The workshop focused specifically on the Minimum Conditions, Performance Measures (PMs) and the Investment Menu for both the Food and Nutritional Security Project (FNSP) and LoCAL.
The event was organised by UNCDF in close collaboration with the Provincial Directorate of Planning and Finances (DPPF) in Gaza. The Permanent Secretaries from the six implementing districts participated in the event, as they are responsible for technical and financial management at the district level as well as for managing all aspects of planning, budgeting, M&E, reporting and internal audits.
After an opening address by the Assistant Director of the DPPF the participants were given a brief background introduction to the Food and Nutritional Security Project and LoCAL; both programmatic approaches particularly focus on the establishment of a Local Development Fund (LDF) and its associated Performance Based Grant System.
Throughout the workshop, the Minimum Conditions were presented and then discussed in a plenary session. The participants were informed that the FNSP and LoCAL required the same MCs which were pre-selected from a more extensive list (of MCs) based on their appropriateness for Mozambique. The organizers were pleased to note that all the Permanent Secretaries felt that that the pre-selected MCs were indeed appropriate and achievable in their districts. The proposed MCs were therefore approved with minor modifications by all present.
In addition, the PMs for LoCAL and the FSNP were presented to the participants. Around 70% of the PMs were set for Public Financial Management (PFM)/governance, with these measures being the same for LoCAL and the FNSP, while the balance of around 30% of the PMs related to each of the associated development dimensions of food security (FSNP) and climate change (LoCAL). Discussion of the PMs took place in two working groups after which presentations were made in a plenary session. Regarding the PMs linked to PFM/governance, it was stated by the participants that the districts authorities should receive further support in the operationalization of the national public financial management system (E-SISTAFE) and for the achievement of the associated Performance Measures related to the PBGS.
Rounding up the workshop, the UNCDF Programme Specialist explained the next steps to follow in the articulation of the FSNP and LOCAL programmatic approaches, and how the current formulation process will result in an elaborated project outline by the month of August.