Climate Change Adaptation takes Central Focus

Posted: 2013-04-09

The 2nd High-Level Regional Policy Workshop focusing on “Adapting to Climate Change Induced Water Stress in Nile River Basin,” kicked off in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, Thursday, 4th April 2013.

resilient practices as a means towards reducing water stresses in the Rive Nile Basin.

Participants from the 9 Nile Basin Countries, 8 Country Water Partnerships, Government Institutions, GWP Eastern Africa Partners: Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), research, academic and media institutions emphasized the need to increase awareness at both national and local levels.

Nile Basin Countries and Climate Change

Though the nine countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo), have specific variations in cultures, policies and practices and institutional frameworks, climate change was noted as a across-cutting factor impacting their socio-economic livelihoods mainly agriculture, food security, hydro-energy production, water quantity and quality as well as mining safety and costs.  

One common characteristic of these countries is unpredictable seasons; persistent droughts, torrential rains followed by destructive floods and population exodus for water.

On the other the hand, the emphasize was placed  on  drawing actionable interface between science and policy, generation and sharing of knowledge, conducting a comprehensive climate change capacity needs assessments and carrying out hotspots analysis at country levels.  

GWP Eastern Africa implements the Adapting to Climate Change Induced Water Stress in Nile River Basin Project with a consortium of other implementing partners: the Nile Basin Initiative, Danish Hydraulic Institute, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). 

Officiating the workshop, the representative from Rwanda Natural Resources Ministry, Ms Lyliose Umupfasoni, Director for Environment, Water Resources and Forests, hailed the “existing regional cooperation in addressing shared challenges by managing transboundary water resources and adapting to the impacts of climate change.”

GWP Eastern Africa Regional Coordinator, Mr. Safari Patrick, pointed out the project objectives, expected outcomes, roles of different implementing partners and rationale of the Kigali’ 2nd High Level Policy Workshop to the participants.

“The workshop provides opportunity of discussing the outputs of the project achieved by various implementing partners since the project begun and consult on what actions to be followed at regional, national and local levels,” GWP Eastern Africa Regional Coordinator indicated.

Realized milestones

In line with GWP Eastern role in the implementation of the project, a series of high-level workshops, policy-influencing meetings  have been conducted and carried out country status reports on climate resilience in each River Nile Basin Countries whereas other activities (outputs) are ongoing. 

The project funded by SIDA and Coordinated by UNEP, seeks to increase the technical capacity of regional and national centers of excellence and research centers to support the adaptation actions of countries and communities.

There have been various presentations relating to the project’s outputs including the Hydrological Modeling and regional Hot Spot Analysis under Climate Change Scenarios: Implications for the Nile Basin Region, Stock-Taking of Climate Change Adaptation: Experience of Pilot Study from Ethiopia and Uganda.

Hotspots area and fixing problems

Nile Delta Region (Egypt), Ethiopia highlands, Mount Elgon (Kenya) and Toska Depression were some of the identified hotspot areas of climate change areas needing focused attention. 

“Floods and droughts can trigger or exacerbate the process of land degradation such as desertification, soil erosion and landslides thus affecting a big amount of land and water available for agriculture,” noted one presenter.

Thus, participants urged for change of farming and other human driven practices that fuel negative nexuses between climate change and water stresses.

Interdisciplinary Expertise

Representing the Chair of GWP Eastern Africa, Prof Munguti Katua Kitua, from Kenya Water Partnership said that with diverse backgrounds of participants, their knowledge and expertise can lead to incisive and enriched contribution towards the discourse on Adapting to Climate Change and Water Stress in the Nile River Basin Region.

Project Goal and Work packages

The Project goal is to build resilience of ecosystem and economies that are most vulnerable to climate change induced water stress in the Nile Basin Countries.

Among other implementing partners, GWP Eastern Africa’s role in the implementation of the project   is to provide   institutional and policy support to countries in the Nile Basin Region. In terms of outputs, GWP Eastern Africa is responsible for:

  • providing technical input to Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) options to basin-wide climate change adaptation planning and ensure linkages with   national planning;
  •  conducting high-level regional policy roundtable to prioritize technical, financial and policy options for adaptation at basin levels;
  •  carrying out  assessment of different IWRM options for resilience and their policy implications for the major sectors in Nile basin countries;
  • conducting trainings, information management and dissemination through climate change adaptation portal and awareness materials.

Way forward

Since its inception in 2010, Adapting to Climate Change Induced Water Stress in Nile River Basin Project has had stimulated significant milestones in terms of achievements and several lessons were learned. The workshop recommended that the next phase of the Project should be informed by  and base on the achieved milestones and lessons learnt.

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