Sustainable Urban Wetlands Development within Kigali City- Nyandungu Wetland Eco-park

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.

Credit: REMA

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. Today in Rwanda the Nyandungu Wetland Eco-Park is completed and open for visitors , the construction of the Wetland Eco-park will improve the ecological functioning, aesthetics and recreational potential of the wetland areas of Nyandungu in Kigali City. This new Eco-Park project responds to the Green Economy in the EDPRS II and one of the aspirations of the Vision 2050 of developing green cities. Ecosystem rehabilitation through Urban Wetland rehabilitation  also contributes toward global mitigation of climate change and promote carbon sequestration.

As a trusted advisor, GGGI develops strong partnerships with Member countries encouraging long-term vision supported by practical implementation to foster green growth in the present. GGGI supports stakeholders through two complementary and integrated work streams – Green Growth Planning & Implementation and Investment Policy Solutions – designed to assist in developing, financing and mainstreaming green growth in national economic development plans. GGGI’s interventions emphasize change in four priority areas considered to be essential to transforming countries’ economies including energy, water, land-use and green cities.


Credit : GGGI

In 2017, GGGI signed a contribution agreement with the Italian Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) to implement the MoU between MoE and IMELS. GGGI with a strong partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) was the technical implementing partner to catalyze the implementation of the cooperation agreement in Rwanda. GGGI’s interventions emphasize in five priority areas taking into account the IMELS/ MoE Workplan: climate change coordination, energy, agriculture, water, and waste sectors. Partnering with the Ministry of Environment, Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) among others to design and elaborate projects, strengthening capacity building, supporting NDC implementation, and identifying projects for blending bilateral and multilateral funds. Providing our government partners with the tools to help build institutional and technical capacity and strengthen knowledge sharing. The first technical support was directed towards the mobilization of additional resources to build urban resilience through rehabilitation of wetlands in the city. GGGI has provided technical support to the Ministry of Environment through its institution Rwanda Environment and Management Authority (REMA) to design and develop a project proposal to strengthen climate resilience of the City of Kigali. The project was approved and funded (EURO 1Million) by IMELS in May 2018. Works started in 2018 September. GGGI has been engaged throughout the project development process starting with the Nyandungu masterplan development, design and Bill of Quantities review and validation technical workshops organized by REMA.

The restoration and recreation of wetlands can also reduce or even reverse wetland loss as a result of coastal development. This is important in terms of maintaining the global area of wetlands and in sustaining wetlands in the face of climate change. Wetland creation may also fulfil legal obligations for the compensation of habitats lost through development.
Benefits accruing from the wetlands rehabilitated include:
Improved livelihoods,
• Protection of agricultural resources,
• Enhanced biodiversity,
• Cleaner water,
• Reduced impacts from flooding and Sustained base-flows in rivers

Nyandungu Wetland Eco-Tourism Park is composed of ornamental ponds, gallery forests, medicinal plant gardens, paved walk ways and cycle lanes, restaurants, information center, recreational and other biodiversity services. It is meant to attract both foreign and local visitors in the City of Kigali. Nyandungu Wetland Eco Tourism Park is part of Rwanda’s efforts to restore and conserve ecosystems while promoting the social economic development. Nyandungu Wetland Eco-Park was constructed and designed with green infrastructure and services strategies for green energy, saving and recycling water, use of local and natural materials as well as architectural designs that maximize natural lighting and ventilation have been deployed.

Credit: REMA