Sustainable Urban Wetlands Development within Kigali City
Today, wetlands are valued for their enormously important environmental and economic functions such as storing and releasing water, flood control, improving water quality, ground water recharge and the provision of wildlife habitat. Rapid urbanization is producing enormous ecological change. However, worldwide, urbanization is identified as a primary cause of wetland alteration and drainage. Expanding human population and urban development pressures makes restoration or creation of urban wetlands a high priority.
Urbanization is one of the key defining mega-trends of our time. It is completely transforming where and how people will live in the future. A rapid growing urban population comes with enormous challenges for city planners and managers. They have to ensure that cities today can deliver not only basic services but that these cities are safe, resilient and environmentally friendly. One of the underlying causes of wetland degradation is lack of knowledge and skills on how wetlands can be used to manage pollution and flood risks and lack of their value to biodiversity conservation, especially in urban areas. This project seek to increase technical capacity of Decision makers, planners and managers in terms of planning for urban and peri-urban development that may impact on wetlands and strenghtening the capacity of Environmental Practitioners from Private Sector to improve the way environmental studies are conducted.
Wetlands in Kigali have been threatened by human activities mainly conversion to agriculture, human settlements, commercial and industrial activities decreasing the flood and pollution abatement capacity of wetlands but the implementation of urban plans promised to help them recover. During storms, urban wetlands absorb excess rainfall, which reduces flooding in cities and prevents disasters and their subsequent costs. The abundant vegetation in urban wetlands, acts as a filter for domestic and industrial waste and this contributes to improving water quality. Urban wetlands supply cities with water and are green spaces for recreation which helps to promote human wellbeing. To address this issue, the project seeks to improve the ecological functioning, aesthetics and recreational potential of the wetland areas of Nyandungu and Kimicanga in Kigali City.
Recognizing the importance of native tree species in terms of enhancing biodiversity and species richness, and the lack of of knowledge on how to propagate those indigenous species, the project will be provide an opportunity to rehabilitate the abovementioned wetlands with indigenous species.
The project will not only provide social and economic benefits to the communities but also support innovative approaches to restore and conserve wetland ecosystems on about 134 Ha, promote the sustainable management of natural resources and support livelihood diversification to enhance incomes for local communities. This responds to the Green Economy in the EDPRS II and one of the aspirations of the Vision 2050 of developing green cities.
Aims of the Project:
The goal of the project is to build a resilient city of Kigali through rehabilitation of degraded urban wetlands in Kigali City. The project will include the following components: (i) Building the technical and institutional capacity in urban wetland planning and management and in urban waste management in the City of Kigali, and conducting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIAs); (ii) Ecosystem rehabilitation through Urban Wetland rehabilitation that will contribute toward global mitigation of climate change and promote carbon sequestration