Kampala: Integrating biodiversity in climate change adaptation Plan

Urban climate and biodiversity challenges are deeply intertwined. Integrating biodiversity into an existing climate-related action plan opens avenues for the creation of synergies and upscaling, and offers opportunities to advance in leveraging the climate-biodiversity-society nexus, which is fundamental to the delivery of the post-2020 GBF.
Now that the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) has been adopted, the clock is ticking to ensure its prompt implementation at both international, national and sub-national levels.

As a country at the forefront of Africa’s mobilization in the run-up to the KMGBF’s adoption, Uganda is one of the priority countries identified by the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework-EU support project to showcase African best practices for the implementation of the new framework.

To that end, the project together with the Covenant of Mayors – Sub Saharan Africa Initiative (COMSSA) Project both implemented by Expertise France have joined forces to integrate biodiversity issues into the revision of the Kampala Climate Action Plan (KCCAP).

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to integrate biodiversity concerns into the Kampala Climate Action Plan. This will serve as an example of concrete steps to implement KMGBF Target 8 by minimizing negative and fostering positive impacts of Kampala’s climate action on biodiversity” says Hugo Rivera Mendoza, Team Leader Post2020 Biodiversity Framework-EU Support Project.

The need to integrate the biodiversity-climate nexus into urban policies in Uganda

Ugandan authorities have committed to promoting greening of cities and urban areas through the incorporation of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services into urban development.

However, uncontrolled and unplanned urban sprawl has not been halted and pressure on the ecosystem and the resources are still increasing. Meanwhile, climate change continues to impact the entire country, further threatening people’s access to resources and the integrity of the ecosystems.

As cities continue to grow fast, access to resources will become more difficult, especially for the most vulnerable urban poor. Sustainable urban transition has the means for improving quality of life and preserving the environment, if it is built on integrating considerations of the biodiversity and the climate crises in the development of local policies and voluntary commitments that set the framework for interventions and biodiversity-inclusive urban planning processes on the ground. This is consistent with the KMGBF and especially its Target 12 envisioning the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity as a mean to improve human health and well-being and to promote sustainable urbanization and also its Target 8 promoting nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches as effective measures for climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as disaster risk reduction.

Kampala, a pioneering city for climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa

As one of the pioneer cities in Africa, Kampala, through the Kampala Capital City Authorities (KCCA) – the central government body administering the City – became one of the first cities in sub-Saharan Africa to develop in 2015 a low-carbon and climate resilient policy through the development of a Climate Change Strategy for the 2015-2025 period.

The strategy was developed in a participatory manner to provide a pathway for all stakeholders involved to pursue a common goal (to reduce emissions by 22% from “business as usual”, thereby reducing future adaptation costs and the number of communities at risk) and to provide an overarching framework for mainstreaming climate action into all municipal services.

During its implementation, the strategy was then aligned with the first KCCA Strategic Plan 2015-2019, the National Development Plan, the National Climate Change Policy and Strategy, the second National Communication, and finally the Uganda INDC. Between 2015 and 2022, the City of Kampala was also supported by the COMSSA project to implement several actions of the strategy and share its experiences with other African cities.

In April 2023, the COMSSA project commissioned a team of consultants to evaluate the KCCA Action Plan to assess its relevance and effectiveness (including alignment with current strategic plans at the regional level), current status of implementation, and progress toward key objectives. The evaluation, currently ongoing, aims to review the KCCAP for the period 2016/17 to 2021/2022 and make recommendations for its update through 2025, aligned with the current KCCA Strategic Plan. It will ultimately provide considerations for the development of the upcoming 2025/2029 City Strategic Plan.

The Action Plan revision provides a unique opportunity to find ways to address the inextricable links between the biodiversity and climate crises. Increased attention to biodiversity issues will promote a more comprehensive and holistic approach of climate action and thereby strengthen the scope of the Action Plan. It will enable further alignment with international biodiversity and ecosystem conservation strategies and bring other stakeholders to the table in a whole-of-society approach as encouraged by KMGBF Target 22.

“Increased attention to urban biodiversity promotes a holistic approach of climate action through which Kampala is spearheading transformative action in Uganda and beyond” highlights Katharina Rochell, international expert hired by the Post2020 project.

In line with the KMGBF Target 12 highlighting the importance of integrating the sub-national level in the implementation of the global framework and its Target 14 focusing on the importance of biodiversity mainstreaming at both global and sub-national levels, the Post 2020 project has decided to develop a consultancy mission to support the integration of biodiversity into the Action Plan along with the overall revision of the plan implemented by the COMSSA project.

Watch our videos:

Read our relevant 4 pagers:

Expertise on #24 – Climate & Biodiversity
Expertise on #31 – Spatial Planning: The need for better biodiversity-inclusive approaches
Dialogue with #18 – Edinburgh Process

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