Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) has kicked-off a basin-wide study on economic valuation of Nile Basin Wetlands. The Nile Basin region and associated sub-basins are endowed with a complex network of wetlands critical for the region’s biodiversity, culture and multiple ecosystem services and goods contributing heavily to communities’ livelihoods and regional economies of the Nile Basin Countries. However, they are threatened by land-use changes, invasive species, urban and industrial pollution, agricultural run-off, landscape soil erosion and multiple infrastructure development. This necessitates the need to undertake economic valuation study of wetlands to motivate investment towards their basin-wide conservation.
The basin-wide wetlands economic valuation study will entail appraisal of available information and issues, strategic wetland valuation field studies and formulation of recommendations for integrating wetland ecosystem values into strategic water resources analysis and overall river basin planning. The ultimate aim is to bring wetland ecosystem values into the NBI’s river basin planning agenda and, therefore, to inform the development of options for the envisaged Nile Basin Wetlands Management Framework Plan and associated investments.
The wetlands economic valuation study approach was presented to NBI regional wetlands experts working group members for validation and inputs during their second meeting held on July 4-6, 2018 in Entebbe, Uganda. The working group is constituted by three members from each of the Nile Basin Countries state parties and drawn from the ministries of water, environment and natural resources. The regional wetlands working group members agreed with the approach of the study and its imperative towards enabling mainstreaming of wetlands in sectoral planning and meeting their national and international obligations under Ramsar Convention and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The regional wetlands expert working group representative from Rwanda Mr. Theogene Ngaboyamahina, who is the Environmental Mainstreaming Officer with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and National Ramsar Focal Point in Rwanda, advised on the need to promote “rapid wetlands ecosystem services valuation approach, tools and methods” in the region to augment the elaborate approaches and enable wide application of wetlands economic valuation in generating rigorous results cost-effectively to inform decision-making. He added that rapid wetlands ecosystem services valuation approach are being recognised globally and it will be a resolution during the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP13) which will be held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates in October 2019.
Conserving biodiversity in the Nile Basin transboundary wetlands is funded with support from GIZ, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) under the International Climate Initiative (ICI).
Leonard O. Akwany
Regional Wetlands Expert