Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Swaziland.


Climate change in Swaziland is expected to lead to overall warming and drying, with a greater frequency and intensity of droughts as well as floods. Negative impacts will be felt on the agricultural and water sector and are expected to be considerable. Yields of staple food crops such as maize, sorghum and beans are likely to decrease, thereby threatening national food security. Surface flows in rivers and streams are likely to have greater variation, with lower base-flows in the dry season, potentially resulting in water shortages for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. Additionally, groundwater reserves, which are an important source of water for many rural communities, may be reduced as a result of increased rainfall intensity and concomitant increases in surface runoff. These negative impacts of climate change will be exacerbated by baseline conditions of widespread poverty (63% of the population), high unemployment (40%), a high prevalence of HIV (26% of adults), and widespread land degradation as a result of deforestation, alien plant invasions and overstocking of livestock

Key Adaptation Policies & Reports

Adaptation Options for Key Sectors

  • Strengthen Swaziland’s existing National Advisory Commission for Agricultural Emergencies which supports the implementation of agrometeorological and early warning system to improve response to agricultural emergencies such as extreme temperature, precipitation events, or other natural stressors.
  • Develop frameworks for sustainable intensification and commercialization of agriculture at different scales across agro-ecological regions.
  • Strengthen capacity to generate new forms of empirical knowledge, technologies and agricultural support services that meet emerging development challenges arising from increased climate change and variability.
  • Promote and strengthen biodiversity conservation management and the integrity of natural ecosystems by using an ecosystem-based approach to adapt to climate change.
  • Invest in ecosystem services to protect water basins that support areas with hydroelectric energy potential.
  • Work to reduce risk of natural disasters and impact on natural, social, and built infrastructure.
  • Increased efficiency, reducing transmission losses, and societal energy awareness.
  • Reduce social vulnerability in underserved populations living in both urban and rural areas to support development and increase resiliency .
  • Create a unit to coordinate the execution of climate change that would connect the Ministry of Health with other actions.
  • Strengthen institutional and human capital, surveillance, promotion of citizen health, response to emergency situations, decrease vulnerability, and increase health care, are priority areas under the 2016 Climate Change Health Adaptation Plan.
  • Promote appropriate climate smart land-use options for the drier natural regions, especially where cattle production and wildlife ranching are the most suitable land-use options.
  • Promote and support water harvesting as a climate change adaptation strategy.
  • Developing, rehabilitate and maintain surface and groundwater resources.
  • Strengthen and intensify monitoring systems for hydro-meteorological parameters.
  • While differences in water availability present challenges, the existence of diversity in water resource levels could present an opportunity if current resources are managed sustainably, and future resources are effectively distributed within the country.

Gaps and Needs

  • Improve science-based understanding of the nature and magnitude of physical and biophysical climate change impacts under differing scenarios.
  • Gain a better understanding of the timing and magnitude of incidence of several important indicators of climate change in the future, as well as the key vulnerabilities, development impact, and possible adaptation responses.
  • Widening the participation of the public, scientific institutions, women and local communities in planning and management, considering approaches and methods of gender equity.
  • Lack of understanding of models and use of estimate values for national conditions (e.g. Land Use and Land Use Change, Forestry sectors).
  • Improve observational data through additional weather stations and hydro-meteorological instrumentation and technical capacity to analyze data and forecast impacts across sectors.
  • Establish institutional capacity for providing timely early warning systems.
  • Development of early warning systems about dangerous hydrometeorological phenomena and climate risk management.
  • Build-up knowledge, skills and technologies for improving water use efficiency in agriculture.
  • Increase awareness of long-term groundwater risks.
  • The National Meteorology Department should produce simplified ver­sions of seasonal weather forecast reports for farmers.
  • Agricultural extension officers advising farmers on crop and livestock pro­duction should be sensitized to and trained in climate change issues, as well as in interpreting seasonal weather reports.
  • Climate change should be addressed and streamlined in national agendas. Government agencies should facilitate dissemination of climate change information to stakeholders.
  • Upscale the construction of small dams, espe­cially in the lowveld area, which is more vulnerable to climate change.
  • Identify key actions across water resources, energy, agriculture, forestry, transport, and health sectors to provide compelling economic arguments and a broad-brush “road map” and the next steps for climate-smart actions.
  • Implement regional-scale cooperation among countries in Southern Africa and to emphasize the benefits of collaboration and institution building in the region.
  • Establish a National Steering Committee on Climate Change to ensure the integration of low-carbon, climate-resilient considerations into development planning.
  • Establish or use an existing mechanism for a Regional Southern African Steering Committee on Climate Change to provide overall guidance, political support, and leadership and serve as a platform for continuous coordination of regional efforts to address and adapt to climate change.