Uganda has seen a continuous high rate of annual economic growth over the last 20 years. While this has led to a reduction in headcount poverty, the creation of around half a million jobs per year and improved access to basic services, further growth plans and the high rate of population growth and urbanisation are prompting severe environmental risks for population and economy. Issues like wetland encroachment, unregulated wastewater discharge and poor solid waste management have had detrimental effects to Ugandas’ natural ecosystems. To reach its economic growth targets for 2040, the country needs to balance economic growth and its environmental assets, especially water. Green growth is needed to enable Uganda to continue developing, while avoiding or reducing negative environmental impacts. Collaboration and proper management of its natural resources are key to enhancing green growth in Uganda.
In order to support Uganda’s path towards a green economy, NatuReS Uganda is implementing the project EUNOMIA – Creating green and prosperous urban economies across Uganda. EUNOMIA aims at strengthening the green economy in Uganda, focusing on the two urban centers Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area & Gulu City and targeting specific urban sectors such as flooding, wastewater, solid waste and urban wetlands. It is co-financed by the European Union and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and is implemented by GIZ from 2020 to 2023. The main objectives of EUNOMIA are:
Location: Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area
Background: Rapid economic growth and urbanisation of the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area has led to an increase in the area‘s waste generation. The amount of solid waste generated overwhelms the capacity of the urban authorities to collect and dispose of it. About 40 percent of the waste created in Kampala is collected and delivered to designated landfills every month. The remaining uncollected waste is dumped in unauthorised sites, burnt on roadsides or washed into storm water channels that flow into the wetlands and Lake Victoria.
Aim: Improving the sustainable management of PET plastic waste in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area by developing an inclusive green recycling sector
NatuReS working areas: Circular Economies
Partners: Ministry of Water and Environment, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Coca-Cola, Mukwano Ltd., Uganda Water & Juice Manufacturers Association, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)
Location: Gulu City
Background: Gulu in Northern Uganda is one of the country’s fastest growing cities, with a population growth rate of approx. 2.8% per year. As the city continues to grow, so does the amount of solid waste. Gulu’s young waste management system, however, is unable to deal with these amounts, which are causing a major threat to the city’s natural resources. Particularly the water resources are increasingly polluted by plastic and organic waste.
Gulu lies within Albert Nile and Aswa Catchments of the Upper Nile Water Management Zone. Both catchments are characterized by high vulnerability to dry spells. Climate conditions of the past years have led to the drying up of the Oyitino valley dam and the associated streams, which serve as main water source for the city. The accellerating rate of wetland degradation poses an additional threat.
Aim: To tackle these challenges, NatuReS has facilitated the formation of the Gulu Integrated Catchment Management partnership, working with key stakeholders from the public, private sector and civil society organisations to reduce the amount of solid waste entering the environment and securing the quality and quantity of the city’s main water source.
Partners: Ministry of Water and Environment, Gulu City Council, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Takataka Plastics and Community Empowerment Education Development (CEED) Uganda
Flash floods are a recurring water security threat in Kampala Capital City and its neighbouring municipalities. The rapid urbanisation of the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) has led to increased impervious surfaces in ecologically sensitive areas such as steep slopes, wetlands and flood plains, which are relevant for flood control. In addition, Kampala’s existing drainage systems have outlived their capacity and are often blocked by solid waste and silt emerging from adjacent communities. This is further worsened by limited collective action of public, private and civil society actors in operation and maintenance of the drainage systems. Awareness measures regarding storm water management in the metropolitan area are lacking. This results in recurring destructive floods.
These flash floods are associated with large socio-economic challenges to both businesses and residents of GKMA. Examples include economic losses due to the damage of assets, disruption of business operations, reduced workforce attendance, difficulties for customers to access businesses and overall challenges for the smooth functioning of supply chains. About 10% of Kampala’s jobs are at risk due to their location in flood risk zones.
Solutions for effective flood mitigation
To mitigate and adapt to the current flooding challenges, GKMA requires integrated flood risk management solutions through the combination of catchment management and engineering solutions, particularly investments in blue-green infrastructure. Blue-green infrastructure is an approach to urban flood resilience that utilises the benefits of urban greenspaces and naturalised water-flows. Examples include green roofs, retention ponds, bioswales, rain gardens, rainwater harvesting systems etc. Government, private actors and communities need to work collaboratively to develop blue-green solutions which are scalable and fit the respective context.
Location: Up to two sub/micro-catchments within GKMA. Prioritized are areas where business entities are affected by flooding, thereby safeguarding jobs and investments.
Aim: To promote investment in blue-green and innovative grey infrastructure and inclusive solutions for improved urban flood resilience and enhanced socio-economic development.
Partners: Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) in collaboration with private sector actors and civil society organisations.