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Invitation to the online event “Stewardship for Circular Economies”

The circular economy framework brings a new approach to waste and materials management, considering the whole life cycle of resources, while paying attention to sustainable production, supply and management of resources. Transitioning to a circular economy requires a collaborative effort from all sectors and can only succeed through coordination along supply chains and product cycles.

Stewardship has proven successful in promoting circular economies.

The Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) supports multi-stakeholder partnerships in introducing circular economy practices. These partnerships bring together empowered communities, government stakeholders and a strong and engaging private sector to work on eye-level and jointly develop solutions to protect natural resources and promote sustainable economic growth.

During the event, representatives from public, private sector and civil society will share experiences, discuss best practices and reflect on lessons learned from promoting circular economies under a stewardship approach.

Join on the 6th of October to get hands-on insights! The event will take place online via MS Teams. Click here to join!

You will have the chance to listen to and discuss with the following panelists:

Public sector:

  • Patience Nsereko, Principal Environment Officer NEMA, Uganda
  • Kasenga Hara, Senior Inspector, National Water Supply and Sanitation Council, Zambia
  • Takele Desissa, Addis Ababa Cleansing Management Agency, Ethiopia

Private Sector:

  • Naa Adjeley Kome-Mensah, Kubik, Ethiopia
  • Andy Bownds, EcoBrix, Uganda


  • Ian Matimba, People’s Process on Housing and Poverty, Zambia

Agenda for the event:

Time (CET)Item
10:00 – 10:15Opening and welcome address
10:15 – 10:45Partner journeys and experiences
10:45 – 11:00Questions and discussion
11:00 – 11.30Local solutions to circular economy partnerships
11:30 – 11:45Questions and discussion
11:45 – 12:00Closing remarks

This event is part of the Urban October:

More infos will follow soon. Stay tuned! In the meantime, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter!

Towards City Resilience – Stewardship as a Gamechanger: Learning Event on 30th June 2022

The 21st century will be the century of cities. By 2050, urban areas will house an estimated 2/3 of the world’s population; current and predicted growth is deemed strongest across Asia and Africa. The power of this urban transformation means cities will lead national, regional, and global decisions related to environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

A key challenge in this regard is the impact of urbanization on (peri-)urban ecosystems, including the related consumption of natural resources. Uncontrolled urbanization is associated with inefficient land use and pollution through waste, industry, transport, and inadequate sanitation. The resulting degradation of ecosystems such as wetlands, soils, and waterways undermine the resilience of cities, including their ability to prepare for and cope with the challenges of increasingly volatile climate patterns and depleting natural resources. Furthermore, many communities lack the capacity and agency to participate effectively in developing integrated and evidence-based urban planning mechanisms. Insufficient coordination between private, public, and civil society actors is a significant obstacle to taking ambitious local action to reduce emissions and increase urban resilience.

Short introductory video into stewardship in an urban context. Copyright: GIZ/Lea Schwengbeck

In this context, the Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) has supported a stewardship approach to collectively address urban natural resource risks in five African countries. Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, and Zambia have successfully implemented multi-stakeholder stewardship partnerships that have improved the collective management of natural resources within those countries. By bringing together empowered communities, government stakeholders, and robust and engaging private sector actors, these partnerships can better develop solutions and increase resilience to the challenges cities face than the individual sectors could do on their own.

Stewardship in Cities Event
The online event took place on 30th June, 2022. Copyright: GIZ

During an inter-country learning exchange on the 30th of June 2022, more than 60 participants discussed the benefits of collective action in addressing risks to natural resources in urban contexts, the prevailing challenges this entails, and lessons learnt from partnership experiences.

Experiences from the public sector

Mr. Allan Nkurunzinza from Kampala Capital City Authority in Uganda shared rewarding experiences Kampala has made with stewardship through the PET Task Force, which led to the formation of the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area PET Plastic Recycling Partnership. Mr. Nkurunzinza stressed how effective stewardship entails tapping into the strengths of all stakeholders. Leveraging funding, technical, human, and other necessary resources from all sectors is crucial to meeting the goal of efficient service delivery to all city residents while resisting natural disasters. The Greater Kampala Integrated Flood Resilience Partnership is another example of partners working towards increased city resilience through a collaborative approach. Mr. Nkurunzinza described the establishment of solid partnerships. While often a lengthy process, it is a “win-win” for all sectors, as partnerships offer the possibility to gather input from all different spheres, especially from the affected communities. Multi-stakeholder partnerships lead to developing solutions that are owned and supported by everybody. 

Kampala Capital City Authority
Mr. Allan Nkurunzinza, from the Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda, sharing experiences from stewardship partnerships in Kampala. Copyright: GIZ

Similarly, Mrs. Bwalya Funga Ndolesha  from Lusaka City Council (LCC) shared insights from Lusaka, Zambia, where flooding and the emergence of diseases, particularly in informal settlements, represent a significant risk. Mrs. Ndolesha underlined that it is worth investing time and effort into establishing platforms for engagement and leveraging resources (both human and financial). The Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI), a multi-stakeholder collaboration system of which LCC and over 32 other entities are members, is for example making progress toward protecting groundwater in recharge areas. Communities play a key role in planning and capacity needs to be built at community level. Communities  should develop Local Area Plans (LAPs) that feed into the integrated development plans  to foster development at city level. The local area planning process should  also take into account all issues affecting Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), further creating community water stewardship awareness. LuWSI’s common platform has helped to map out stakeholders, available resources, and potential activities that will benefit from collective attention.

As part of a collaborative effort, LuWSI is contributing to a city-wide Integrated Development Plan to protect water resources based on issues  identified in the LAPs. Other enabling factors for successful partnerships are political support and partner will. For example, the Mayor of Lusaka and city councilors  participated in a water security training sponsored by LuWSI. Subsequently, LCC passed a resolution requiring that city planning decisions consider community water security. LCC’s appreciation for water security led to regulations regarding shallow wells and pit latrines to respect groundwater protection standards, among other things.

The Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI) unites currently 33 partners from private, public sector and civil society. Copyright: LuWSI

Experiences from the private sector

From the private sector, Mr. Phil Daka, CEO of the Zambian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) stressed the importance of mainstreaming the agenda of water and natural resources stewardship into boardroom discussions. His emphasis on water stewardship dovetails with the sustainable development agenda, mentioning that if we are to achieve laudable environmental surveillance outcomes, we must integrate sustainability into the planning and measurement systems of business enterprises.

The concept of water stewardship must be articulated in terms that are familiar to business leaders. For the enterprise, water stewardship means adopting business strategies and activities that meet the needs of the enterprise and its stakeholders today while protecting, sustaining and enhancing the human and natural resources that will be needed in the future. Some businesses are already practicing resource use efficiency to reduce costs and increase their competitiveness and investment attractivity. Partnerships can be a way to hold companies accountable for the way they are operating and producing. Stewardship partnerships like LuWSI create awareness about problems businesses can face and ways to resolve them. Mr. Daka gave the example of Lusaka, where even small amounts of rainfall can lead to flooding. While people mainly attribute this to poor urban planning, there are other causes and exacerbating factors – one is the blockage of drainage channels through waste dumped by individuals and enterprises. Reflecting on this issue within a partnership creates learning opportunities; behavior change is therefore possible. LuWSI supports mainstreaming of collaboratively developed solutions to shared challenges into city-wide frameworks.

Mr. Peter Okwoko from TakaTaka Plastics, a local plastic recycling company in Gulu, Northern Uganda, also shared insights from participating in a stewardship partnership in an urban context. Poor waste management represents one of the biggest challenges for Gulu as a rapidly growing city. Under the Gulu Integrated Catchment Management Partnership, partners have set up 40 plastic “banks” where residents can deliver their plastic waste instead of littering the environment. Company members pick it up and recycle or up-cycle it into new products like roofing tiles. The partnership prevents two tons of plastic from ending up in landfills every month, saving time and transport costs for the City Council and is on a trajectory to recycle nine tons per month by the end of the year. One of the most challenging aspects remains to change communities’ mindset about waste management, as many people don’t see it as their responsibility but as the City Council’s task. Through establishing regular dialogue, partnerships can contribute to changing this mindset. Another challenge is the lack of city-level regulations and by-laws regarding waste management. However, through partnerships, companies like TakaTaka get better access to city authorities and can voice their concerns and suggestions in a more targeted way. Finally, Mr. Okwoko recommended bringing more members of academia into stewardship partnerships.

man transporting plastic bottles
Young people collect PET waste from households and deliver it to TakaTaka Plastics in exchange for money under the Gulu Integrated Catchment Management Partnership. The partnership also makes drop-off “banks” available where people can dispose of used plastic.
Copyright: TakaTaka Plastics/Peter Okwoko

Experiences from civil society

Mr. Benard Loum from Community, Empowerment, Education, Development (CEED) Uganda talked about the involvement of community members in partnerships. One of CEED’s priorities is involving young people and ensuring they become responsible for their environmental impacts. In the Gulu Integrated Catchment Management Partnership`s Partnership Action Plan, CEED advocated for making behavioral change one of the key priorities. For example, Gulu City Council has released a new plan for the city’s development. Under the partnership, CEED is now responsible for involving the community in its uptake and further action to ensure its implementation aligns with community interests. Community empowerment is vital according to Mr. Loum: “We need to make community members become consultants in their own rights.” Through activities such as community dialogues, radio programs, and environmental clubs in schools, communities are encouraged that their contribution can have a significant impact. Rather than needing more regulations, Mr. Loum urges the enforcement of existing regulations. Partnerships, creating platforms for transparency and accountability, are essential in this regard.

Finally, Fatima Nkhuwa from the Kamulanga Ward Development Committee in Lusaka reiterated that communities are too often not included in city planning decisions, such as deciding the location of boreholes. Moreover, communities are often unaware of their shared responsibility for common resources, be it by calling attention to a leaking community water pump or by preventing the vandalizing of community infrastructure. External and internal perceptions that the community is irrelevant regarding decision-making or action reinforce community disempowerment. Lusaka City Council and the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) participated in LuWSI-sponsored training focused on community-level city planning, including involving communities in urban decision-making. LuWSI also helped community members better understand their importance as drivers for change by exposing them to private and public sector stakeholders as equal partners, increasing their level of both awareness and empowerment. “We really have seen a transformation regarding the communities under LuWSI,” concluded Mrs. Nkhuwa.

Twenty women-led community enterprises from low-income communities of Lusaka were trained and certified in the fabrication of handwash stations under LuWSI. These are necessary in schools and neighborhoods to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other communicable diseases.
Copyright: GIZ

Panel discussion between all sectors

During a subsequent panel discussion, participants shared other experiences from stewardship partnerships. Participants agreed that establishing partnerships ensures the long-term continuity of activities. Collaborative platforms offer an opportunity to continuously discuss joint issues and solutions instead of only implementing emergency actions in reaction to problems. Long-term solutions developed under a collective action approach are essential to prevent the scarcity or endangerment of natural resources. Stewardship is a powerful approach to mindset change.

Awareness creation and empowerment of communities under stewardship partnerships are significant levers to initiate lasting change. According to Eddy Chikuta, LuWSI Coordinator, if community members become stewards of the environment, they will themselves get active in improving waste management instead of waiting for authorities. For the private sector, partnerships also offer an opportunity to implement their sustainability targets collaboratively, get better access to mandated duty bearers, and prevent conflicts with adjacent communities in the first place.

As a final point, learning event participants agreed that public authorities cannot solve natural resource challenges independently, although citizens often demand this. Collaborative partnerships can develop joint solutions and leverage financial and in-kind resources to support project implementation. Participants agreed that it is high time to realize that one sector cannot achieve sustainable development alone. Instead, all actors must fully and independently subscribe to it. Stewardship partnerships are a successful way to go, especially in increasing cities’ resilience.

NatuReS’ contribution at the 5th Biennial Industrial Efficiency Conference in South Africa

Industrial Efficiency Conference 2022
The 5th Biennial Industrial Efficiency Conference 2022 in South Africa took place on 25th and 26th of May.

On the 25th and 26th of May 2022, the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa hosted the 5th Biennial Industrial Efficiency Conference 2022. NatuReS participated in the conference with a specific contribution under the topic of Eco-Industrial Parks. Amanda Nyingwa presented on behalf of NatuReS on the role of water stewardship as a conduit for facilitating sustainable water management in industrial parks. Critically, the presentation mentioned the multi-level benefits of water stewardship for industrial parks, addressed the role of water stewardship in responding to water-related risks faced by industrial parks and emphasized the significance of guiding mechanisms for supporting the uptake of water stewardship in industrial parks with a spotlight on the Water Stewardship for Sustainable Water Management: Standard Operating Procedures for Industrial Parks (Water Stewardship SOPs). The Water Stewardship SOPs were developed in cooperation between NatuReS and the South African Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

Through a four-phased approach, the Water Stewardship SOPs support industrial parks, including park tenants, to holistically view their interaction with water and establish actions for efficient and sustainable water use within the facility, at park level and beyond park boundaries into the catchment. The value of this integrated approach is that it provides a basis for engagement in collective action for the shared management of a common resource and offers first level guidance for stewardship-embedded responses to support industrial parks on their journey towards water security. Moreover, it represents an opportunity for industrial parks to curate measures elevating their business competitiveness while enhancing their water security, both for their sites as well as the catchment, where their supply chain network and employees are located.

Download the Water Stewardship SOPs here.

The Industrial Efficiency Conference is a key calendar event in South Africa. The topics covered underscored that industrial areas have immense potential for substantial improvements in supporting  South Africa’s transition to a just green and resource-efficient economy. At the same time, the conference highlighted the significance of availing supportive structures, mechanisms and resources to ensure that that industrial areas are able to respond effectively to natural resources risks, enhance their competitiveness and support socio-economic growth.

To access the conference, sessions, presentations and pictures: Industrial Efficiency Conference 2022 archive – Industrial Efficiency

Invitation to the event “Towards Cities Resilience – Stewardship as a Gamechanger”

Cities face severe threats through resource shortages, natural disasters aggravated by climate change and increasing service delivery demands. Particularly in emerging and developing economies, many cities lack strategies to mitigate these risks.

Yet, cities as economic powerhouses also offer huge opportunities to bring about change.

In this context the Stewardship approach has been successfully implemented by the Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) through multi-stakeholder partnerships to improve environmental, social and economic resilience in cities.

These partnerships bring together empowered communities, government stakeholders and a strong and engaging private sector to work on eye-level and jointly develop solutions citie sface on their way to increased resilience.

You have the opportunity to learn more about how the Stewardship approach can be a gamechanger in cities resilience and jointly discuss this question with NatuReS and its partners on the 30th of June 2022!

You will get to know first-hand experiences and best-practices of representatives from the public, private, and civil society sector and have the opportunity to participate in the discussion.

The event will take place online via MS Teams. You can access the event with this link.


  • Public Sector
    • Allan Nkurunzinza, Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda
    • Bwalya Funga, Lusaka City Council, Zambia
  • Private Sector
    • Peter Okwoko, Takataka Plastics, Uganda
    • Phil Daka, ZACCI Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Zambia
  • Civil Society/ Communities
    • Fatima Nkhuwa, Kamulanga Ward Development Committee, Zambia
    • Benard Loum, CEED Uganda, Uganda


Time (EAT)Item
14:00 – 14:05Welcome to the event
14:05 – 14:10Interactive Break
14:10 – 14:15Presenting the Stewardship Approach in Cities  
14:15 – 14:35Introduction to NatuReS and the Cities Resilience Working Group 
14:35 – 14:50Introduction of the panelists
14:50 – 15.30Panel discussion
15:30 – 15.50Plenary discussion with audience
15:50 – 16:00Interactive Break, reflections and closing remarks