The Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) regularly experiences devastating flash floods. These are partly caused by an increase in impermeable surfaces due to rapid and unplanned urban development. Furthermore, improper solid waste disposal leading to clogged drainage channels, as well as a lack of community awareness and participation in the operation and maintenance of drainage networks, have worsened the situation. Floods pose serious socio-economic challenges to both businesses and residents in the area, as workplaces cannot be reached, products not be delivered and clients cannot access businesses. This is threatening both jobs and investment.
To mitigate and adapt to the current flooding challenges, government, private actors, and civil society organizations are now collaborating under the Greater Kampala Integrated Flood Resilience Partnership. They work together to pilot blue-green infrastructure solutions, which include promoting rainwater harvesting, regreening of open spaces to increase infiltration capacity and reduce runoff, and solid waste management through solid waste re-use and recycling schemes. This is intended to promote inclusive engagement in flood control in up to two sub/micro-catchments in Greater Kampala for improved urban resilience to flooding and consequently enhanced socio-economic development.
During their first partnership meeting, partners agreed to rally around the partnership concept and followed this up by submitting Letters of Intent (LOI) to confirm their commitment and nominate partnership focal persons. These partners include: the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MoLHUD), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), Britannia Allied Industries Ltd (specialised in manufacturing biscuits, confectionery, juices and sauces) and the civil society organisation ACTogether Uganda (a local Non-Governmental Organization affiliated with Slum Dwellers International).
Thereafter, a preliminary scoping study was initiated to better understand the current flash flooding situation in Greater Kampala and inform partnership interventions. During the inception meeting, it was agreed that the study would be conducted across the five proposed sub-catchments Nakivubo, Kinawataka, Lubigi, Namanve, and Nalukolongo, with the goal of narrowing it down to two critical sub-catchments for piloting blue green interventions (rainwater harvesting, regreening, solid waste management).
The study focused on:
A local environmental consultancy ‚Aidenvironment‘ was contracted to conduct the study on behalf of the partnership, alongside partners. The assignment started in November 2021 and was completed in February 2022.
The speed of flood water experienced in the study area is generally less than 0.5m/s, which is considered moderate. Even though in some areas a speed of flood water of more than 1.0m/s has been measured, these are not considered dangerous for humans, unless combined with deep water. However, stakeholder consultations in the area revealed that dangerously deep and fast-flowing flood water can occur in local hotspots, if erosion or blockages come together, representing a serious risk for inhabitants, particularly children, elderly and people with health issues.
According to the findings, there are 148 flood hotspots across the five catchments. The total flood area is 208.7 KM2, as can be seen in the area marked red in the map below.
During the initial scoping phase, key stakeholders relevant to finding solutions for flood management were identified. They were mapped according to their power and influence over flood resilience interventions and then categorized based on their mandate and shaping power in relation to flood management and implementation of blue-green infrastructure solutions in Greater Kampala.
The scoping findings informed partners to implement jointly agreed measures in the Nalukolongo and Kinawataka sub catchments, as these promise the highest chances of success for blue-green infrastructure implementation, taking into consideration the relevance in these areas to safeguard jobs and investments threatened due to flooding. Furthermore, ACTogether’s relationship with Kinawataka and UMA’s ongoing engagement with its members in Nalukolongo regarding flood management aided in the selection of these two sub-catchments.
Following this decision, four blue-green infrastructure concepts were developed for implementation in the Nalukolongo and Kinawataka sub-catchments. The concepts developed include rainwater harvesting, regreening, solid waste management, and a detention pond. Blue-green solutions are innovative in that they offer a long-term natural solution to urban flooding by reintroducing a more natural water cycle into urban environments, while providing environmental, social and economic benefits. Communities are healthier if they are not threatened by dangerous floods or diseases developing in stagnant waters. Businesses benefit from reduced flooding risk to maintain their operations.
On February 23rd and March 4th, 2022, the partners held two working group meetings to refine the Partnership Action Plan (PAP). These meetings took place at the Ministry of Water and Environment. Furthermore, partners agreed that after the preliminary scoping is completed, an implementation concept for BGI will be developed. Joint commitment and a commonly agreed way forward are important steps in the partnership development to prevent flooding in Greater Kampala in the long term. This is especially the case as lack of coordination and collaboration often represents a significant hurdle to developing lasting solutions.
Following the completion of the scoping study, a draft implementation concept was developed to guide the construction of Phase 1 blue-green infrastructure. The concept presents clear flood hotspots, as well as proposed interventions and implementation methods. It is guided by specific goals that aim to reduce flood volumes by encouraging rainwater capture, increasing infiltration capacity by regreening open spaces and drainage channels, and reducing solid waste blockage in drainage channels.
The partners on 15th and 25th February conducted field visits to the Kinawataka and Nalukolongo sub-catchments respectively to reconfirm flood hotspots and identify areas with the best chances of success for blue-green infrastructure implementation. Interventions, namely rainwater harvesting, regreening of secondary drainage channels and selected patches of public institutions, and reducing solid waste entering drainage channels, will take place in the Kinawataka sub-catchment in the parishes of Ntinda, Kyambogo, Mbuya I and II, and Banda, and in the Nalukolongo sub-catchment in the parish of Mutundwe. It is worth noting that these field trips contributed to the development of the implementation concept by allowing the partners to better understand the causes of flooding in flood hotspots and determine which blue-green solution is appropriate where.
Moving forward, partners will agree on concrete blue-green solutions to be implemented, before validating and approving the Partnership Action Plan (PAP), which will represent the partners’ guiding thread throughout the course of the partnership. Meanwhile, Deltares, a research institute on water and subsurface, was hired to provide the partnership with technical support. It will begin the inception (gathering necessary information for flood modelling) and situation analysis stages. Subsequently, partners agreed to convene for a fourth partnership meeting to validate the PAP and the implementation concept; tender for a firm to undertake design and supervision of construction work; and finally sign and launch the PAP.
Increasing Greater Kampala’s resilience towards flooding is a complex task. No single actor can tackle this challenge alone, yet everyone is impacted by the risks stemming from devastating floods. And the risk for flooding is even foreseen to increase in the future due to a changing climate and yet to be unfolding new rainfall patterns.
However, with partners from the public sector, private companies, as well as communities and civil society organisations joining forces, a roadmap is now in place to develop joint long-term solutions to minimize the risk of dangerous floods across the city. The systemic approach of the Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework (NRAF) provided specific tools and framework conditions to enable the formation and implementation of the partnership during the past months. Partners along this process jointly decided to implement integrated flood risk management solutions, including a mix of catchment management and engineering solutions, particularly investing in nature-based blue-green infrastructure.
By applying a stewardship approach, empowering all users of natural resources to take responsibility for the available resources and develop collaborative solutions for their sustainable use, partners have set the scene for making Greater Kampala more resilient to flooding in the long-term.
Uganda’s economy is highly dependent on its natural resources. Therefore, it is critical that the country pursues a green growth path in its economic development. The route to inclusive, low-emission economic growth for Uganda is led by the Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy (UGGDS). The Strategy strengthens fundamentals to harness existing green growth opportunities to realize Uganda’s 2040 Vision. However, since the inception of this strategy, there has been no monitoring report to track it. Uganda’s National Planning Authority (NPA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) with the support of NatuReS, developed the country’s first Green Growth Report under the theme “Stimulating resource use efficiency in manufacturing and waste management for sustainable development”.
The report highlights key observations in Uganda’s green growth progress between 2017-2020, emerging issues, as well as challenges. It also strengthens the opportunities for scaling up green manufacturing and waste-to-wealth activities and mentions policy concerns. It moreover identifies, documents and reports lessons learned as ways to strengthen the activities required to achieve sustainable manufacturing and waste management in Uganda.
As part of the Uganda Water and Environment week (UWEWK) 2022, on Wednesday, 23rd of March, the National Planning Authority (NPA), officially launched the 2020 Uganda Green Growth Report, an event that took place delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions in 2021. The launch was carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment and with the support of GIZ NatuReS. UWEWK provided a great platform for an interface between sector actors and other stakeholders for knowledge exchange, dialogue and joint learning for the improvement of Uganda’s water and environmental resources.
The launch attracted high-level political and technical participation, including the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment, Mr. Alfred Okot Okiidi, the Deputy Chairperson at NPA, Prof. Sam Obwoya, EU Team Leader for Inclusive Green Growth, Mr. Lennart Deridder, and GIZ Portfolio Manager Dr. Michael Klingler. Moreover, representatives of the EU Delegation in Uganda, city clerks, public and private sector executive directors, and other key stakeholders joined the launch event.
Mr. Alfred Okot Okidi, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment, gave the opening remarks. He highlighted that urban development has significantly increased in the country, with waste management representing a significant accompanying challenge, among the many concerns being part of the county’s urbanization trend. Demographic pressures on water and environmental resources furthermore pose a threat to the long-term viability of natural resource-based environmental services that are essential for livelihoods and businesses. He emphasized that it is now more important than ever for the various actors across the country to work together towards inclusive and resilient economic growth. Mr. Okidi urged everybody in their different capacities to reflect on the report, heed its recommendations, keep up and strengthening already ongoing progress, and improve on the areas where progress is still lagging.
Prof. Sam Obwoya Kinyera, Vice-Chairperson from the National Planning Authority (NPA), highlighted that the Green Growth Monitoring Report was informed by three national flagship documents, namely the Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy (UGGDS), the National Development Plan III (NDP III) and the Uganda Vision 2040. He also noted that Uganda has 22 designated industrial parks across the country, which represent business opportunities but also come along with environmental challenges. He therefore proceeded to underscore the need to monitor the state and adoption of green growth technologies and sustainable waste management practices. He also highlighted that there is a need to harness the investment opportunities described in the report and support the identification of best practices that support the sustainable management of waste, occupation safety, and green manufacturing that can be replicated elsewhere. He stated that the National Planning Authority will rally investors and other development partners to drive the green growth agenda in Uganda.
Following these remarks, Mr. Lennart Deridder, the Team Leader for Inclusive Green Economy at the EU Delegation in Uganda, highlighted the significance of the report to Uganda. He stated that the private sector is very crucial in its implementation, which is why the European Union is supporting the “Sustainable Business for Uganda” platform, which brings Ugandan and European entrepreneurs together with the public sector to promote sustainable investment and responsible growth. He noted that four working groups have been launched to discuss areas that are critical for improving the sustainable investment in climate protection, including access to finance, skills and attitude, governance and trade.
The launch of the report was followed by a panel discussion focusing on the Green Growth Report and its operationalization.
Regarding green growth opportunities within the Water and Environment sector, Mr. Collins Oloya, Director at the Directorate of Environmental Affairs (MWE), noted that the Ministry has initiated the promotion of industrial symbiosis where waste from one industry becomes the resources (raw materials) of other industries.
Mr. Francis Kisirinya, the Deputy Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) noted that small factories which are currently using diesel fuel for production should switch to more reliable and renewable biomass energy, just like the big companies. Also, industries should ensure that they save resources where possible.
Also, Mr. Jospeh Kyalimpa from the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) expressed the need for bottling companies to follow-up and recycle the bottles they produce as mechanisms for the adoption of the recommendations of the green growth report. He noted that UMA is strategizing to accelerate the green growth agenda, bearing in mind the existing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) provisions in the latest National Environment Act. This is done e.g. by piloting an EPR scheme in Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area before scaling it up across the country.
Following him, Mr. Godwin Kamugisha from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) noted that companies are supported through the provision of an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Certificate to create an enabling environment for carbon trading as one of NEMA’s approaches to support Green House Gas (GHG) emission trade etc.
Dr. Florence Grace Adongo, Director of Directorate of Water Resources Management at the Ministry of Water and Environment, noted that research is an important factor in promoting innovative green growth practices. She stated that there is often insufficient financing to move good interventions to implementation and that there is a need to strengthen institutions to foster compliance. She lamented a lack of monitoring mechanisms, notwithstanding the fact that data availability is critical for evident-based reporting. Dr. Florence also emphasized the importance of aligning monitoring and reporting mechanisms, including digital reporting, to be able to implement the green growth strategy by 2030.
The report’s operationalization road map was presented by Mr. Ronal Kaggwa, the National Planning Authority’s Manager of Production, Trade, and Tourism Planning. It includes activities aimed at incorporating the recommendations from the green growth report into city development plans as well as facilitating adoption by public and private sectors. Among these activities are:
Wetlands in Uganda form a unique ecosystem which not only supports diverse animal and plant life, but also has the power to store and purify large quantities of water for domestic and commercial use. One water-intensive sector in the country is the floriculture sector – 13 out of 15 commercial flower farms in the country are located in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) around the Lake Victoria basin.
GIZ NatuReS has enabled the formation of a partnership comprised of the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the civil society organisation Nature Uganda and the Uganda Flower Exporters Association (UFEA), coordinating the commercial flower Farms in Uganda. Together, the partners work towards strengthening collaboration and coordination between the commercial flower farms, the government institutions and non-state actors for a sustainable use and management of water and wetland resources in Greater Kampala.
On Monday, 21st of March, the Commercial Flower Farm Integrated Catchment Management Partnership was officially launched during Uganda Water and Environment Week. During the launch, the partners signed the Partnership Action Plan (PAP), one of the Natural Resources Risk and Action framework (NRAF) tools, as a commitment to support the implementation of jointly agreed activities.
Planned activities include i.a.:
In his opening remarks, the partnership technical chair Mr. Bernard Arinaitwe (Principal Wetlands Officer at the Ministry of Water and Environment) acknowledged that the flower sector had been neglected for some time by authorities in water and environmental management, with most emphasis being put on industries. However, according to Mr. Arinaitwe the partnership is an eye-opener to trigger collaboration between the Ministry of Water and Environment and its line agencies with the commercial flower farms. He pledged the ministry’s support to the flower sector in its improved management of natural resources.
Ms. Esther Nekambi (Executive Director of UFEA, also hosting the partnership secretariate) noted positively that the government has finally recognized the flower sector and its important role in the management of Uganda’s natural resources. She highlighted that the partnership would help build stronger collaborations with government departments and agencies to achieve their common goal of protecting wetlands, water, and soil as a basis for livelihoods and continued economic development. Some commercial flower farms have already started realizing the positive impacts of the partnership.
Mr. Achilles Byaruhanga (Executive Director of Nature Uganda, the civil society actor in the partnership) alluded to the importance of partnerships in breaking silos in the sustainable use and management of natural resources.
With the partnership officially launched and the Partnership Action Plan signed by all partners, the partnership now moves into phase IV, called ACT phase, of the Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework. This phase focuses on implementation and monitoring of activities.