Oval 377 Created with Sketch Beta. Kampala, Uganda

Due to the positive responses that have been received from the existing UNA Rivers cities, as well as the interest shown at regional and international events where the project has been showcased, it has been the project team’s intention to seek out ways to roll out the UNA Rivers methodology to further cities and countries in Africa. Additional funding received in 2017 allowed ICLEI Africa to begin this process by engaging with additional cities: Entebbe and Kampala (Uganda).

UNA Programme cities 2019


  • With an annual population growth of 4.03% (2014), Kampala was named the 13th fastest growing city in the world.
  • 15% of Kampala’s total surface area is wetlands.
  • Between 1995 and 2005, wetlands in Kampala have decreased by almost 50%.

Oval 377 Created with Sketch Beta. 2017 Achievements

City visits to Kampala took place in 2017. The UNA Rivers methodology was used during these visits to discuss the city challenges and opportunities as well as the city-specific developments that relate to nature-based solutions and rivers. A plan for more focused and deep scaled engagement was co-developed with city stakeholders.

Mapping services for the Kampala City Authority took place in 2017 and continued into 2018.

Oval 377 Created with Sketch Beta. 2018 Achievements

Building on the mapping initiated in 2017, the project undertook a participatory mapping process in the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) to map the urban natural assets within these two administrative jurisdictions. Through participatory planning exercises and engagements with representatives from the Kampala Capital City Authority and the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area, Professor Shuaib Lwasa from the Department of Geography Geoinformatics and Climate Sciences at the University of Makerere, led a consortium of researchers to assess the following:

  • Review and analyse all existing urban natural asset and related maps to provide a baseline of existing data as well as identify gaps in existing maps for the KCCA.
  • Develop a guideline for future urban natural asset mapping methodologies and monitoring processes in the KCCA.
  • Assess the spatial extent to which the urban natural assets in the KCCA have been degraded in relation to land tenure and land use practices.
  • Identify the urban natural asset hotspots/ priority areas in the KCCA, i.e. where the urban natural assets in KCCA are, and prioritise them in terms of ecosystem service provision, vulnerability to land use change and climate change.
  • Extend the urban natural asset hotspots/ priority area map (as per above) to the four municipalities that comprise the Kampala Great Metropolitan Area (KGMA), i.e. Kira, Mukona, Nansana and Wakiso.

The resulting maps, in particular, the hotspots and degradation maps, aimed to provide a preliminary mapping of priority natural assets to proactively inform land use and urban planning to ensure that nature and critical urban natural assets are included in local plans and policies. The secondary outcome of the mapping process was the development of a guideline that highlights the methodology that was applied in the development of the maps to provide a local guide to support and inform mapping and identification of urban natural assets moving forward, to ensure that the process can be replicated and monitored.

During the timeframe that the urban natural asset mapping was taking place the Kampala Capital City Authority, with support from ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability-Africa and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction completed both the preliminary and detailed assessments for disaster resilience planning. The scorecard provides a set of assessments under 10 essentials that assists local governments in assessing their disaster resilience. It further assists in monitoring, reviewing progress and challenging the implementation of the Sendia Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: 2015-2030.

The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) utilised preliminary and detailed assessments to inform the development of a draft Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plan for the City of Kampala, which has been ground-truthed with key local and national stakeholders and will be presented for adoption by the city in March 2019. One of the 10 Essentials is Essential 5: To Safeguard Natural Buffers to enhance the protective functions offered by natural ecosystems which required sets to Identify, protect and monitor critical ecosystems services that confer a disaster resilience benefit. Given the synergies between Essential 5 and the key recommendations of the participatory mapping engagements with the KCCA it was deemed strategic to mainstream the urban natural asset mapping ouctomes from the UNA Rivers project into the draft Disaster Risk Reduction Action Plan developed by KCCA. The key recommendations for inclusion under Essential 5, through participatory stakeholder engagements were as follows:

  1.  Regularly update urban natural asset mapping in KCCA & GKMA by mainstreaming into strategic and spatial planning
  2. Improved coordination and integration between national and local government on roles and responsibilities related to Urban natural assets in KCCA
  3. Enforce restoration and protection of sensitive ecosystems in collaboration with NEMA and other national government departments
  4. Development of specific management plans for select urban natural assets
  5. Enhanced public awareness of the critical role ecosystems plays in the urban environment
  6. Update and maintain essential 5 related maps and materials on an online DRR platform

All cities participating in the UNA programme were invited to attend and participate in a city to city knowledge exchange event in Entebbe, Uganda. Participating cities were able to share key challenges affecting their city’s development as well as share and learn about common African solutions which could be replicated in each city. Included in the workshop was a) the sharing of lessons learnt; b) visiting inspiring projects; c) discussing the UNA Rivers methodology; d) presentation and dissemination of the Sustainable River-Based Urban Planning Guidelines and case study document and e) presentations by individual cities on the related work they are currently implementing. A key output was a co-produced programme of action on how each city can take the learnings forward. Delegates from the Lilongwe City Council as well as the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development attended the UNA city to City Learning Exchange in Entebbe.

Oval 377 Created with Sketch Beta. 2019 Achievements

Multilevel governance through coordinated action across all levels of government is critical to tackling sustainable development at both local and national levels, contributing to the achievement of local and national policies and plans and international agreements such as the Aichi Targets.

Through participatory engagements and dialogues (2018) with representatives of local government in the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the Entebbe Municipality and key national government departments, one of the core project activities implemented in 2019 was to support multilevel governance for nature in cities, with a particular focus on urban natural assets. Following the identification of the need to foster dialogues between national and local government, a series of meetings were held in 2019 (and to continue into 2020) to identify critical entry points that support mainstreaming of planning for urban natural assets into urban planning processes and policies across different levels of governance. A work plan to identify critical entry points, opportunities and challenges to be addressed through the multilevel dialogues was co-developed with local government representatives, the National Department of Wetlands and the National Environment Management Agency (NEMA).

Such dialogues intended to provide a platform for all levels of government and key stakeholders to openly discuss progress, identify challenges and opportunities to more effectively mainstream planning for nature into urban development processes. They also intended to strengthen commitment, engagement and inter sectoral collaboration and coordination to support implementation. The dialogues provided an opportunity for stakeholders to share their successes and profile active projects creating a space for sub-national and national government actors to interact and better align their projects to accelerate action and movements across all levels of government and where possible to seek opportunities to mobilise technical, financial and policy resources to deliver on and strengthen urban nature related projects and activities moving forward.

Oval 377 Created with Sketch Beta. 2020 Achievements

Capacity building and training, including training of how to develop investment cases, principles of urban tinkering as well as developing Local Biodiversity Strategy Action Plans.

Continued mainstreaming of natural assets into planning processes, using innovative virtual methods and entry points identified by each city (building on the dialogues, activities and processes initiated previously) whilst supporting wrap-up of project activities.

Oval 377 Created with Sketch Beta. Gallery

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