Biodiversity conservation and utilisation of ecosystem services in wetlands of transboundary significance in the Nile Basin
As of: February 2020
Objective and activities
The Nile and its most important tributaries cross several large wetland areas, the most prominent being the Sudd Marshes. Not only are these wetlands extremely relevant for biodiversity conservation (some national parks, protected areas under the Ramsar Convention), but they also provide significant regional (high and low water regulation; ensuring downstream water quality) and local ecosystem services (livelihoods). In the NBI, the Nile riparian states have created a joint framework for coordinated management of the disputed water resources of the Nile. The project objective is to develop the capacities of the NBI and its member states for sustainable transboundary management of relevant wetlands based on an ecosystem management approach. The project implements measures to address knowledge gaps and to integrate “green infrastructure” into the basin development plans for the Nile basin. These measures are complemented by pilot measures in transboundary river basins shared each between two countries. The project contributes to biodiversity conservation (Aichi Targets for ecosystem service utilisation; taking biodiversity into account in political and sectorial planning processes) and to ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change.
State of implementation/results
- A panel of experts from all ten NBI member states was launched with its first TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) Expert Panel Workshop in September 2018 in Nairobi. Its aim is to evaluate studies regarding the economy of the protection of wetlands and the development of a TEEB report on the economy of sustainable utilization of the wetlands in the Nile region.
- In the context of the Regional Expert Working Group the NBI is for the first time carrying out an analysis of the necessary ecological minimum outflow along the main waters of the Nile. This is particularly pertinent for the basin planning process and a remarkable step in light of the political reservations many Nile riparian countries have because of the alleged impact on the negotiation of water rights.
- The NBI conducts a study on the greenhouse gas storage potential of wetlands in the Nile Basin - based on sampling of the peat bodies of different landscapes.
- The Regional Wetlands Working Group prepares an inventory of the regionally significant wetlands and their status. Specific measures in wetlands:
- The field studies on the minimum ecological discharges in the Tanzanian sub-basin of the Mara River have begun.
- Consultations on the Management Plan and Conservation Investment Plans have been successfully started in the cross-border wetlands Sio-Siteko, Sango Bay and Semliki Delta. with field field visits by district and county governors and water ministry directors on each side of each border.
- A management plan (Sudd Wetland Management Strategy and Action Plan) is currently being prepared for Sudd, starting with consultations with the relevant authorities and agreeing a roadmap. Hydrological models for the Sudd have been prepared and an improved modeling approach for the interaction of the Sudd with the river system has been developed for the Nile Basin Decision Support System.