Urban Natural Assets for Africa: Rivers for Life

Oval 377 Created with Sketch Beta. UNA: Rivers for Life

ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center, together with project partners SwedBio and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, have designed a cutting edge program to support the local implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets to conserve and protect nature in cities in sub-Saharan Africa as a project under the Urban Biosphere Initiative (URBIS). Through generous funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) through SwedBio at Stockholm Resilience Centre, this project will mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services into land use planning and local government decision-making processes around urban river systems, through better coordination and community-based activation, contributing to strengthening sustainability and resilience at the local level, enhancing human well-being and poverty alleviation. Download the brochure here.  

UNA Rivers low res logo

Oval 377 Created with Sketch Beta. Countries

Addis img
Dar img
Lilongwe img

Oval 377 Created with Sketch Beta. Activities

Sustainable River Based Urban Planning Guideline

A document to guide planners and those working in the urban planning and environmental sectors in sub- Saharan African cities is currently being drafted. The guideline will present principles, strategies and tools on how to better design for rivers and riversides from an urban planning point of view. Planning both “for” and “with” rivers is key, and the guideline provides practical guidance on how this can be achieved.

Case Study Document

A case study document to promote city-to-city learning exchange is underway. Detailed examples of successful and unsuccessful river rehabilitation projects will be profiled, as well as the methodologies undertaken and lessons learnt from the various initiatives.

Alternative Livelihoods

A guide to generate income by sustainably using the natural asset base is being developed. A step-by-step guide on how to undertake the activities is included.


THRIVE, is a mobile application that provides a step-by-step guide on how to implement 60 nature based solutions for the protection and sustainable use of natural assets in sub- Saharan African cities. The solutions can be used by either an individual or community. The guidelines are divided into 6 themes:

  • Restoring soil
  • Saving water
  • Rehabilitating green spaces
  • Producing food gardens
  • Sustainable cooking and energy
  • Preventing disease and disaster

Oval 377 Created with Sketch Beta. Project details

Objectives of UNA Rivers for Life are:

  1. Increased understanding of the socio-economic importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services and its role in strategic climate change adaptation plans, with a specific focus on enhanced human well-being.
  2. Mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecosystem services into local land use & development policy and planning systems.
  3. Enhanced coordination and engagement within the project cities (between departments and key stakeholders: CBOs, NGOs, researchers, communities inter alia) as well as between cities (through city-to-city exchanges) for increased awareness, integrated biodiversity and ecosystem service management and enhanced networking at both regional and national levels.
  4. Locally appropriate, scalable project implementation, with a specific focus on community-based art and culture activation, connecting people /urban communities with biodiversity and ecosystems within an urban river context in a holistic way, enhancing overall human well-being.

Target Cities:

  • Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Copyright © cbc.iclei.org 2017 | All rights reserved