East Africa

East Africa is home to several of the world’s greatest freshwater bodies, but the region’s water resources are too often not optimally distributed or managed, resulting in floods, droughts, and food insecurity. This year, CIWA recommitted itself to sustained engagement in the Nile River Basin through a new project focused on building climate resilience while expanding to provide much needed assistance for flood-risk management in Sudan and leveraging strengthened partnerships in the Great Lakes to address regional water quality issues in Lake Victoria. 

Sustained Support

NILE BASIN

Nile Cooperation for Results (NCORE)

Context

The waters of the Nile River are a vital economic lifeline in East Africa, with more than 200 million people living in the Basin of the world’s longest river. CIWA’s long-term engagement in the region includes multiple initiatives to support cooperative engagements between countries and create space for dialogue and stakeholder involvement. CIWA support to 11 Nile riparian states is helping not only to spur development, but also to reduce tensions and prevent conflict, demonstrating the powerful nature of transboundary cooperation over water resources. As this project ended, CIWA recommitted itself to sustained engagement in the Basin through a new project focused on building climate resilience. 

  • Year started: 2012
  • Key Partner/s: Nile Basin Initiative (NBI)

Objective and Elements

Through the Nile Cooperation for Results (NCORE) project, CIWA helped establish the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) as a regional institution that provides advisory, analytical, and technical services to its member countries to advance cooperative water resources management and development. NCORE helped the NBI build trust and cooperation, empower member states for transboundary water management and development, and refine approaches to cross-cutting issues such as gender equality. Through NCORE, CIWA influenced seven investments that have been mobilized. These investments, estimated at US$648 million, aim to benefit more than 2.1 million people. CIWA also directly supported the NBI to prepare or conduct major studies that positioned an additional 14 potential investments for future implementation.

Institutional strengthening occurred both for the NBI and its stakeholders, including national and regional dam safety institutionalization and training, capacity-building for flood early-warning systems, and major support to South Sudan’s Water Ministry upon that country’s independence. Nile Basin tools and hydrometeorological data were shared with the public and water-related civil society organizations were included in community decision-making around water resources.

Nile Cooperation for Climate Resilience (NCCR)

Context

The new Nile Cooperation for Climate Resilience (NCCR) project, launched in 2021, aims to build resilience against water insecurity and transform water management infrastructure in the face of increasingly intense impacts from climate change in the Nile River Basin.

  • Year started: 2021
  • Key Partner/s: Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), Nile Basin Discourse (NBD)

Objective and Elements

The Nile Cooperation for Resilience (NCCR)’s project design incorporates many lessons learned from NCORE, including deepening strategic partnerships, filling gaps in water quality information and strategy, prioritizing investments regionally, reconsidering strategies for gender equality and social inclusion, and strengthening capacity to mitigate climate shocks regionally, as climate change is a core driver of development challenges stemming from floods, droughts, pollution, land and water degradation, and overall water insecurity.

Engaging Civil Society for Social and Climate Resilience

Context

Connecting national governments and regional actors with local communities is crucial to ensuring inclusion and equity in cooperative water resources management and development. The Nile Basin’s vast geography and diversity of cultures, languages, and interests require that outreach and support to civil society be thoughtfully designed and carried out.

  • Year started: 2014
  • Key Partner/s: Nile Basin Discourse (NBD)

Objective and Elements

CIWA has supported the Nile Basin Discourse (NBD) for the last eight years. The network of more than 600 civil society organizations (CSOs) from Nile Basin states provide a way for citizens to discuss and organize their interests, participate in advocacy and service delivery, and increase skills and engagement in transboundary cooperation. The project empowered communities to engage in transboundary activities and made significant progress in NBD’s communications and outreach to its members. NBD has involved many stakeholders in project plans over the years, contributing to strong citizen involvement in transboundary water resources management.

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GREAT LAKES WATER QUALITY

Context

In East Africa, the Lake Victoria Basin suffers from rampant poverty, heavy reliance on natural resources for livelihoods, and high population density that increases pressures on land, forests, catchments, and the lake itself. Eleven countries, eight of which are landlocked, rely on the Great Lakes for food security, livelihoods, and stability. Water quality and lake management are therefore critical for supporting the socio-economic activities of the region. 

  • Year started: 2020
  • Key Partner/s: Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC)

Objective and Elements

The Great Lakes Water Quality technical cooperation, which ended in 2021, reduced environmental degradation in the Lake Victoria Basin by building on more than two decades of World Bank support through the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) series of activities. This technical cooperation defined the key priority areas for future Bank engagement and helped conserve wetlands, reduce human and industrial waste and toxin flow into the Lakes, and promote sustainable agriculture by moving toward organic farming to improve the biodiversity in fields, flora, and fauna.

SUDAN FLOOD RESILIENCE AND WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

Context

Despite its arid and semi-arid climate, Sudan is prone to flood disasters from the Nile River, affecting an average of 200,000 people every year, damaging crops and arable land, intensifying risks of long-term food insecurity, increasing disease, and disrupting transportation, markets, and delivery of basic services. 

  • Year started: 2021
  • Key Partner/s: Nile Basin Initiative (NBI)

Objective and Elements

Although currently on hold due to the political situation in Sudan, the forthcoming Sudan Flood Resilience and Water Resources Management (FLOWS) project is incorporated into the World Bank’s larger IDA investment, the Sudan Integrated Water Management (SIWM) project. This project will build on regional progress in flood forecasting and dam safety made under the NCORE project and will support activities to enhance forecasting and early warning, improve the safety of dams and other flood management structures, and increase institutional capacity.

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