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BRISTOL LINK WITH BEIRA NEWSLETTER
SEPTEMBER 2021
We would like to provide an update on what is happening in the Bristol Link with Beira, Beira and Mozambique, and what you can do to support our work, which is detailed at the end of this newsletter.

CONTENTS
  1. Mozambique
  2. Beira
  3. People
  4. Covid
  5. COP26
  6. Sustainable Development Goals
  7. Bristol City Council's 'Beira Room' 
  8. BLB Fundraising - get involved!
  9. BLB Working Groups - get involved!
1. Mozambique

Mozambique is one of many African countries affected by conflict following insurgency by Islamic inspired militants. Although the conflict in Cabo Delgado in the north of the country has been going on since 2017, it only recently made international news following a multi-pronged, well-organised and deadly attack on Palma - just a few kilometres away from one of Mozambique's oil and gas interests, the multi-billion dollar Total Energy site in Afungi - leaving about 2,600 dead and 750,000 persons displaced. Rwanda and soldiers from SADC countries have been supporting the Mozambican security forces to resolve the situation.
 
However, the Sovereign Security Africa 2021 conference held in late August concluded that Military force alone won’t solve the insurgency. Rather, tackling the root causes behind Mozambique’s insurgency is the only way to provide a lasting solution. While religion does play a fundamental role in the conflict, many analysts believe the most important factors in the insurgency are widespread social, economic and political problems in Mozambique. Companies investing in the region have imported their own labour force including carpenters, electricians, plumbers and cooks rather than employing local people. A number of voices – including that of former president Joaquim Chissano - have called for dialogue with the insurgents as a way forward. However, President Filipe Nyusi has recently stressed that his government would not "talk to terrorists" with "foreign leaders" with unknown agendas.
 
The trial in Maputo of 19 people accused of involvement in Mozambique’s largest-ever financial scandal is currently being heard.  The trial centres on the setting up of three security-linked companies, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus, and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management) and how between 2013 and 2014 they borrowed over two billion US dollars of debt from Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia. The three companies had no track record, and they were only lent the funds because government officials, notably former Finance Minister Manuel Chang, signed loan guarantees pledging that, if the companies did not repay, the Mozambican state would be liable. As none of the companies ever made any money, the debt quickly fell on the state.
2. Beira

Beira continues its reconstruction following Cyclones Idai and Eloise. Work on the Industrial and Commercial Institute (IICB), which was seriously damaged, is now complete and offical handover of Samora Machel Secondary and Pre-University school is imminent. However, work on several other schools is still ongoing or has yet to start. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, BLB were able to make some interim repairs and improvements at Matacuane Primary School which had been severely damaged by the cyclone. Whilst working with Adel Sofala, our NGO partner in Beira, to identify funds to further this work to provide a safe learning environment, we were delighted to hear that the school will now be part of the UNDP school rehabilitation programme.
Some of you may remember Mayor Daviz Simango's visit to Bristol in 2017, when he gave a presentation on major infrastructure projects proposed to render Beira a more resilient city. Another of these is now complete, and in July, the largest urban park of green infrastructures in Southern Africa was handed over by the Mozambican Water and Sanitation Infrastructures Administration to Beira Municipal Council, and the first phase was opened to the public. A holistic approach to flood risk in Beira, combining engineering and nature has reduced the impact of previously annual flooding. The Chiveve Park creates environmental benefits by lowering temperatures, supporting biodiversity, and promoting cleaner air, while also retaining natural water channels and providing public spaces for social and cultural activities. It has created employment opportunities, and established an area conducive for business and recreation in the city centre. This is part of the city’s strategy of resilience, acknowledging that due to climate change, Beira is now in a ‘cyclone corridor’.
It is estimated that Beira International Airport needs $30m to both repair and renovate the terminal building which will require national and international investment. The building provided refuge for many of those affected by Cyclone Idai. Beira Municipal Council is planning to build a sea wall to protect the city’s coast against rising sea water. The work is part of a larger project budgeted at $80m. The council is currently carrying a feasibility study into the proposed work which is expected to report in October. In the interim smaller projects are taking place to avoid further degradation of the sea front. Mozambique has also invested $260m towards the rehabilitation of the Beira-Mutare and Beira-Harare railway lines and the procurement of more rolling stock to service the routes.
3. People
Following the tragic death of Mayor Daviz Simango who was a great supporter of BLB, Albano Carige Antonio, previously Councillor for Construction and Urbanisation, was appointed to complete the mayoral term. We have arranged a zoom meeting with him to explain the Bristol-Beira Friendship agreement with a view to endorsing the relationship.  
HE Albertina Macdonald is the newly appointed Mozambican High Commissioner to the UK and we look forward to an opportunity to welcome her to Bristol during her tenure.
To strengthen UK links with Mozambique, Boris Johnson appointed Katherine Fletcher MP, as special envoy to Mozambique, with plans to hold a ‘Mozambique Week’ in the UK. We have offered our support for the initiative.
4. Covid-19

Having risen to a peak in the middle of 2021, by the end of August there were about 11,800 active cases of Covid-19 in the country, a 63% decrease from a month earlier with most cases now occurring in the northern provinces of Zambezia, Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado. The lowest positivity rates were Maputo (3%) and Sofala which includes Beira (2.6%). At this time fewer than 4% of the Mozambique’s population had been vaccinated against despite a sharp increase in deliveries of vaccine and the launch of a comprehensive vaccination programme. The Government is unlikely to achieve its declared goal of vaccinating 17 million people against Covid-19 by the end of 2021.
We launched an appeal to raise funds to make face masks and supply soap for disadvantaged families in the informal settlements in Beira, as suggested by ADEL. We have sent over the money raised so far, for the purchase sewing machines and materials helping to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus and help create a longer-term employment and community resource. 
The appeal remains open https://www.gofundme.com/f/bristol-beira-covid19-appeal  
5. COP26

The UK hosts the UN Climate Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November, to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP26 has been billed as a test of global solidarity between the world’s rich and poor and the most important climate talks since Paris in 2015. The aim is to mobilise increased climate action to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5⁰C. This means curbing emissions deeper and faster, adapting to a new era of climate impacts and scaling up the financial support to the global South for low-carbon and resilient economies.
 
Southern African countries have called for quantifiable improvements in resilience – in particular, of vulnerable communities - to climate impacts, to give the adaptation agenda the same weight as emissions cuts and by increasing vulnerable communities’ ability to adapt to extreme weather events, flooding, droughts and sea level rise, and increasing health benefits, food and water security and adapting infrastructure to anticipated climate impacts.   

The World Health Organisation (WHO) noted that Mozambique is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate variability and long-term climate change due to its geographical location; widespread poverty; climate sensitivity of the main socio-economic activities; and overstretched public services and infrastructure.
 
COP26’s regional ambassador, held meetings to discuss Mozambique’s climate vulnerability and its aspirations for the summit which include strengthening Mozambique’s resilience to climate change and emerging opportunities within the green sector particularly in the context of a green recovery to Covid-19. Discussions took place with private sector organisations, civil society and young climate action change makers who emphasised the need for Mozambican-led solutions. 
 
Our partners Beira Municipal Council and ADEL Sofala, are both confronting these issues daily, as evidenced on their facebook pages https://www.facebook.com/ConselhoMunicipalDaBeira/ and https://www.facebook.com/ADEL-Sofala-1619278224810862/
 
Climate activists have highlighted the role of UK Export Finance which has provided up to $300m in direct loans and $850m in guarantees to a gas project in northern Mozambique developed by the French company Total. They point out this development of polluting energy is in contradiction of the British government’s mission as host of COP26. Cuts in the UK aid budget have also detrimentally affected a number of projects aimed at sustainable development throughout Africa, including early termination of the BioFactory project which was being facilitated by BLB and ADEL.
6. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. https://sdgs.un.org/goals. BLB is targeting SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities and SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals in its work.  
 
Parallel to the Bristol 17 campaign www.globalgoalscentre.org/bristol-17/ by Bristol’s Global Goals Centre, BLB are running a Beira 17 campaign on social media, in the 17-week countdown to COP 26. Our Beira 17 campaign highlights actions being taken in Beira to address the SDGs, to inspire us about what is happening to bring a fairer, greener future. Initially we compared the issues in Beira to those in Bristol and each subsequent week we highlight one goal. We aim to engage a wider audience with climate and inequality issues and their relevance to our cities and our lives, with motivation to make a difference.
The posts are on our website https://bristolbeiralink.org/sdgs/ Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn (links at bottom of newsletter).
6. Bristol City Council's Beira Room

Bristol City Council has recently renamed 7 of its meeting rooms in City Hall after its twin cities including Beira. The signage and posters were funded by the Guild of Guardians and Bristol International Twinning Association (BITA), and designed by Bristol Link with Nicaragua (BLINC) volunteer Jack Anderson. Thanks also goes to Alix Hughes, International Twinning Officer at Bristol City Council for his work on this. 

The rooms were unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Bristol, Steve Smith, with Venessa Moon of the Guild of Guardians in June, at a reception sponsored by the International Team at BCC. The President of the Municipal Council of Beira sent through a message of support for the naming ceremony:

“The Municipal Council of Beira has learned that you have paid homage to our beautiful city of Beira, giving its name to a room in your municipal building. We feel very honoured by this great recognition by a municipality with which we have very strong friendship ties over many years. Finally, on behalf of the Municipal Council and Mayor Albano Carige Antonio in particular, we would like to thank you for this huge gesture”.

8. BLB Fundraising - get involved!

As with all organisations we need funds to be able to carry out work that benefits communities in Beira. One key supply of income had been the annual Route de Vins project in conjunction with Bristol Bordeaux Partnership (BBP), with students from Bordeaux sourcing wine locally, transporting it to Bristol, and auctioning at the Clifton Club. The proceeds went to BLB and a Bordeaux charity. Last year the auction was cancelled due to Covid-19, and complications following Brexit mean the project is no longer viable. We are grateful for the students and staff from Bordeaux for their support and will miss their trips to Bristol.
 
As well as replacing this regular income from Route de Vins, we are looking to reserve a contingency fund that can respond quickly in a future emergency, following the experience of the Cyclones and Covid-19. We are currently developing our fundraising strategy which depends on contributions from our supporters, which could include for you:
  • joining our fundraising group
  • making a regular donation via standing order
  • holding a fundraising event – coffee morning, lunch, bike ride, walk
  • turning a current or planned activity into a sponsored one.
For example, we would love to get a BLB team together for local sporting events, such as the Great Bristol Run. We can provide more information on BLB to include in your activities, and would appreciate any offers of help. Local fundraising in Bristol allows us to have direct interaction between communities in Bristol and Beira.

We are also applying for grants in the UK for specific small projects proposed by Community organisations in Beira, and have fingers crossed for some success. We are currently working on grant applications for school links, educational resources, GBV awareness, HIV awareness, and a photographic competition amongst others. If you know of any projects or grants that might be applicable for BLB to support the development of communities in Beira, please let us know. 

For those of you interested in the work of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), they have a number of runners taking part in this year’s London Marathon on Sunday 3rd October including Elton Muzondo from Mozambique. If you’d like to sponsor Elton or any of the ACSTA team please go to https://actsa.enthuse.com/pf/elton-muzondo-weku-shurugwi
9. BLB Working Groups - get involved!

We now have two working groups, one for Programmes and one for Operations, and would welcome any further support from volunteers. We have recently carried out a capacity audit amongst BLB Trustees, Working Groups, and Volunteers to compare their interests, skills and experience against our needs. We have identified gaps to fill as we look to recruit new members. These gaps are
  • Work Role: health, schools and climate change
  • Work Sector: private sector
  • Operational: financial management, marketing, IT and fundraising
  • Charity: leadership, governance, law, and finance
If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in getting involved in any way, and especially filling these gaps, please let us know.
Finally, please click on the icons below to follow us on social media to keep up to date, contact us by email and/or have a look at the website. 
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Bristol Link with Beira is a project of
Southern Africa Resources Centre
Charity Number 1000003
We can also receive cheques made out to
“Beira Fund” sent to the address below.

 
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