Landscape restoration for increased resilience in urban and peri-urban areas of Bujumbura in Burundi

Project Overview

The proposed "Landscape restoration for increased resilience in urban and peri-urban areas of Bujumbura in Burundi" project will strengthen integrated watershed management and flood management of the Ntahangwa river connected to Bujumbura to ensure the resilience of both upstream highland communities and downstream lowland communities living in urban areas. The proposed GEF Least Developed Countries Fund-financed project will include a comprehensive planning and management approach making use of climate information available in the country together with specific investments in landscape restoration, flood management measures and resilient livelihoods support. Landscape restoration in areas connected to Bujumbura will help restore flood-related ecosystem protection for both highland upstream communities and lowland urban communities with adaptive solutions ranging from tree planting to watershed protection and reinforcement of riverbank structures. The project is currently in the PIF stage.

At least 120,000 people from the two Bujumbura Provinces, Bujumbura Mairie and Bujumbura Rural, or about 8% of the total estimated population in these two provinces will directly benefit from the project (half of project beneficiaries are women). The project will restore 3,000 ha of degraded areas through tree planting, an additional 1,000 km of anti-erosion ditches and terraces and 1.5 km of flood control infrastructures along the Ntahangwa river in Bujumbura itself. The watershed area is estimated between 12,829 hectares, the project aims to ensure that 10,200 ha, or 80% of the watershed's estimated area, are put under improved management. 

To complement the restoration efforts, livelihood activities are needed to reduce the vulnerability of populations by promoting green entrepreneurship and providing better access to markets (initial main sectors targeted are agriculture and agro-industry as well as the charcoal sector) connecting urban communities to peri-urban communities in the watershed. The charcoal sector’s reliance on trees makes it a prime sector to target through a climate-resilient value chain approach. The agro-business sector will benefit from increasing the value of agricultural products and creating new investment opportunities. The urban focus of this project opens new doors to tap into the nascent startup ecosystems of Bujumbura while providing support for youth entrepreneurship and employment opportunities. Resilient livelihood options and green entrepreneurship are important strategies to rebuild Burundi’s economy as part of its post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.

*The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations or UNDP concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Expected Outcomes

Component 1: Developing technical capacities for climate-induced flood and erosion risks mapping and their use to inform climate-resilient integrated watershed management and other planning processes;

Component 2: Implementing landscape restoration and flood management approaches to restore ecosystem services against flood and erosion in the Ntahangwa watershed in and around Bujumbura;

Component 3: Livelihoods options and green entrepreneurship to increase resilience of the urban, peri-urban and rural communities in the Ntahangwa watershed.

Project Details

Levels of Intervention

National

Source of Funds

Global Environment Facility - Least Developed Countries Fund

Key Implementers

Local Governments
National Governments
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Funding Amounts

US$8.2 million
US$16 million

Project Partners

Government of Burundi
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Project Dates

2021 to 2026

Introduction

The proposed "Landscape restoration for increased resilience in urban and peri-urban areas of Bujumbura in Burundi" project will strengthen integrated watershed management and flood management of the Ntahangwa river connected to Bujumbura to ensure the resilience of both upstream highland communities and downstream lowland communities living in urban areas. The proposed GEF Least Developed Countries Fund-financed project will include a comprehensive planning and management approach making use of climate information available in the country together with specific investments in landscape restoration, flood management measures and resilient livelihoods support. Landscape restoration in areas connected to Bujumbura will help restore flood-related ecosystem protection for both highland upstream communities and lowland urban communities with adaptive solutions ranging from tree planting to watershed protection and reinforcement of riverbank structures. The project is currently in the PIF stage.

At least 120,000 people from the two Bujumbura Provinces, Bujumbura Mairie and Bujumbura Rural, or about 8% of the total estimated population in these two provinces will directly benefit from the project (half of project beneficiaries are women). The project will restore 3,000 ha of degraded areas through tree planting, an additional 1,000 km of anti-erosion ditches and terraces and 1.5 km of flood control infrastructures along the Ntahangwa river in Bujumbura itself. The watershed area is estimated between 12,829 hectares, the project aims to ensure that 10,200 ha, or 80% of the watershed's estimated area, are put under improved management. 

To complement the restoration efforts, livelihood activities are needed to reduce the vulnerability of populations by promoting green entrepreneurship and providing better access to markets (initial main sectors targeted are agriculture and agro-industry as well as the charcoal sector) connecting urban communities to peri-urban communities in the watershed. The charcoal sector’s reliance on trees makes it a prime sector to target through a climate-resilient value chain approach. The agro-business sector will benefit from increasing the value of agricultural products and creating new investment opportunities. The urban focus of this project opens new doors to tap into the nascent startup ecosystems of Bujumbura while providing support for youth entrepreneurship and employment opportunities. Resilient livelihood options and green entrepreneurship are important strategies to rebuild Burundi’s economy as part of its post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Project Details

October 2020
PIF Approval

Impacts of climate change

Burundi is a small landlocked country of 11 million people. Agriculture is its primary economic sector, employing nearly 80% of its inhabitants who live from subsistence farming. The country is densely populated with high population growth. Bujumbura is Burundi’s biggest city and until February 2019, the capital city before it moved to Gitega. Bujumbura remains the main economic centre of the country and concentrate services and all of the business opportunities. Burundi’s landscape presents large swath of mountainous areas with elevations ranging from 770 m up to 2,670 m, on the eastern part of the country, the terrain drops to a flat plateau.

Burundi is subject to cyclical geophysical phenomenon like El Niño that are causing extreme climatic situations, strengthening the country’s vulnerability in different sectors, including infrastrutures development, transport, housing schemes and urban planning. This increased exposure to the impacts of climate change, together with the high poverty rate – 67% of the population living under the poverty threshold - puts the economy of Burundi as a whole in a very vulnerable and fragile situation. Burundi ranks as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate disruptions, ranking 171 out of 181 in the ND-GAIN index for climate vulnerability. The country is the 14th most vulnerable country and the 16th least ready country to combat the expected impact of climate change.

Current trends have shown an overall decrease in precipitation creating shorter wet seasons and a prolonged dry season. An increase in mean temperature of 0.7-0.9°C has been observed since 1930. Climate-induced natural hazards have become more frequent in the past decades with an increase in flood and drought as well as storm surges and landslides. Severe droughts frequently affect Burundi and account for a third of all natural hazards occurring in the country and torrential rains have caused major flooding issues around Lake Tanganyika, including Bujumbura. Between 1999 and 2007, the combined losses from severe flood (2006, 2007) and drought (1999, 2000, 2005) episodes were estimated by the government at 5% of the country’s GDP. Severe flooding and landslide have become a common yearly occurrence due to heavier rains than usual during the wet seasons. The country has reported important damages to crops, soil and infrastructure together with the increased presence of pests and disease that affect food crops and livestock.

Between 2013 and August 2020, the International Organization for Migration recorded 131,336 internally displaced people (IDPs), 83% of them as a result of natural disasters. The major part of these displacements occurred in the provinces of Bujumbura Mairie and Bujumbura Rural where 60,207 IDPs are on records. In January 2014, torrential rains caused rivers throughout the city of Bujumbura to come out of their bed. The flooding affected 220,000 people, 40% of Bujumbura’s population. 70 people were reported dead, 4 missing and 182 injured. Physical damage included 2,000 damaged or destroyed houses, the destruction of teaching materials at 7 flooded schools, lost merchandise at 500 stalls in 1 market, several bridges destroyed, 2 main roads cut, and 5000 ha of agricultural land degraded. A month later, in February 2014, floods and landslides in Bujumbura caused 64 deaths, destroyed 940 homes and rendered nearly 12,500 people homeless. Similar events causing deaths and massive destruction have been reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in 2019-2020. In April 2020, floods in Bujumbura Rural displaced 27,972 people and destroyed or damaged 6,010 houses. UN OCHA reported thousands of hectares of crops ready for harvest destroyed as well as an increased trend in prices for basic food commodities. Further increase are expected as traders try to preserve their stocks in anticipation of poor harvests.

Regional climate models using both a low and high emission scenarios (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 respectively) indicate that the average annual temperature in the country could increase by 1.7-2.1°C by 2060 and 2.2-4.2°C by 2100 (mean change compared to the average for the 1970–1999). The highest increase is projected to occur during the dry season, which could lead to longer heat waves and more severe drought episodes. Climate models indicate an increase in mean annual precipitation of 5.7%-7.7% by 2060 and 8.6-13.2% by 2100 compared to 1970-1999. Furthermore, most of the regional climate models show an increase in precipitation during the main wet season (November-February) and all the models agree on a positive trend for the months of November and December and dryer conditions the months before the onset of the rainy season.

These changes and variability will result in challenges to agricultural productivity, food security and livelihoods, and a likely increase in the occurrence of climate disasters already observed. While evapo-transpiration will increase due to higher temperatures, the surplus of water from the precipitations is likely to increase the risk of extreme rainfalls, flash floods and landslides. A vulnerability analysis of Burundi showed that the area surrounding Bujumbura is particulary sensitive to erosion due to its mountainous landscape and soil profile, a situation that is likely to continue or worsen over time with climate change. On the other hand, the vulnerability analysis shows that drought is and will continue to remain an issue in the eastern and southern part of the country.

Infrastructure investments are concentrated in Bujumbura, making the city particularly prone to damage during flooding due to its geographical situation in lowlands surrounded by mountains prone to erosion and landslides. In order to address these issues, the Government of Burundi, through the National Platform of Prevention and Management of Disaster Risks in partnership with UN Agencies has prepared a “Flood contingency plan”. However, the existence of the Contigency Plan in absence of technical and financial resources has not brought significant changes to populations who suffer greatly from those disasters. In Bujumbura, city residents in the Nyakabiga, Kigobe, Mutanga and Mugoboka quartiers were forced to abandon their houses after they collapsed due to erosion and landslides. Other public infrastructures and private households are on the brink of collapse along the bank of the river Ntahangwa, putting lives directly at risk. The Ntahangwa watershed covers several districts east of Bujumbura and features steep hills prone to landslide and erosion, which then end up affecting densely populated areas of Bujumbura further downstream. Populations in the Ntahangwa watershed (outside Bujumbura itself) rely mostly on subsistence agriculture and agro-forestry on hills for their livelihoods and are highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

In addition, the country faces aggravating factors, in particular the socio-political crisis that leads to population movements, creating vulnerable groups and a polarization of the population in general. It is also important to highlight the situation of women, who, despite the efforts identified over the last years with regards to political and economic aspects, are still facing inequalities in terms of rights - in particular access to private property. Youth represents a key part of Burundi’s workforce, but opportunities for employment, including those with university degrees, is lacking and fails to fully tap into their potential. The Government has made youth employment a priority and a key pillar of their social protection policy.

COVID-19

Burundi reported its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020. As of the end of 27 October 2020, the country had 558 cases with one official death only. Burundi closed its borders in March 2020, but a comprehensive response to COVID-19 only started in July 2020 when the newly sworn president of Burundi, Évariste Ndayishimiye, declared the virus as “the worst enemy of Burundi” while announcing preventive measures against the disease inclu­ding mass screening, barrier gestures and economic incentives to reduce food prices. Similar to other African countries, the evolution of the pandemic has not seen the same dramatic progress as has been observed in Asia, Europe or America, but a response is required to maintain essential health services and avoid the spread of the virus beyond the capacity of Burundi’s fragile health system. The majority of confirmed cases were reported in the Bujumbura province.

COVID-19 is expected to impact agricultural production capacities and livelihoods, which could exacerbate food insecurity and limit the resilience capacities of the most vulnerable populations. The crisis has negative effects on food accessibility and price increases have already been observed (e.g. the price of maize is 37-61 percent higher compared to the same time last year). Food prices declined significantly between January and May, falling to their lowest level in seventeen months, but September 2020 marked the fourth consecutive monthly increase in the FAO Food Price Index. Border closure and quarantine requirements have led to a slow-down in trade and a disruption of cross-border markets affecting vulnerable households relying on casual labour and trade with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The COVID-19 crisis is impacting Burundi’s economic recovery. Some of the most affected sectors include services, hospitality and commercial services (transportation, travel, insurance) as well as agriculture, largely due to travel restrictions, a decline in international trade, waning demand for exports, and supply-chain disruptions.

Burundi has limited fiscal, monetary and financial buffers to cope with the current crisis. The GDP of Burundi had slightly risen to 1.8% in 2019 thanks to higher agricultural yields, but is poised to fall to 0.3% for 2020. As a result, public debt is expected to increase to 63.7 percent of the GDP in 2020 from 58.5 percent in 2019 due to reduced revenues and higher spending on health. Assuming the pandemic brought under control, the outlook could be positive in 2021 and 2022 with a significant rebound of growth supported by increased activity in all sectors.

The COVID-19 recovery efforts present opportunities for Burundi to use ecosystem-based adaptation and green economy principles to create jobs, strengthen agricultural value chains and supply chains from urban and rural areas and rebuild Burundi’s economy while addressing climate vulnerabilities and drivers of land degradation.

Project overview

The LDCF-financed project aims to address the vulnerability of urban and peri-urban communities of Bujumbura and the Ntahangwa watershed to the increased frequency of floods, storm runoffs and landslides projected by climate models. These natural hazards are destroying households and infrastructures of urban communities of Bujumbura along the bank of the Ntahangwa river and threaten the livelihoods and resilience of highland communities living in the upstream part of the watershed. Erosion is a key factor increasing the vulnerability of highland communities to adapt and solutions to increase their resilience have the potential to reduce the impact felt by lowland communities downstream. Floods and storms directly affect the capacity of the watershed’s ecosystem to buffer the impact of climate change, which is made worst by the degradation and deforestation of hills by communities. Despite investments in watershed restoration in the past, there is no planning and management tool at the watershed-level to ensure the long-term resilience of communities. Climate information can support those processes; however, the government lacks the capacity to analyse and make use of data and information for decision-making.

The long-term solution is to strengthen integrated watershed management and flood management of the Ntahangwa river connected to Bujumbura to ensure the resilience of both upstream highland communities and downstream lowland communities living in urban areas. The solution will include a comprehensive planning and management approach making use of climate information available in the country together with specific investments in landscape restoration, flood management measures and resilient livelihoods support. Landscape restoration in areas connected to Bujumbura will help restore flood-related ecosystem protection for both highland upstream communities and lowland urban communities with adaptive solution ranging from tree planting to watershed protection and reinforcement of riverbanks structures. To complement the restoration efforts, livelihood activities are needed to reduce the vulnerability of populations by promoting green entrepreneurship and providing better access to markets (at this stage, the main sectors targeted are agriculture and agro-industry as well as the charcoal sector) connecting urban communities to peri-urban communities in the watershed. The charcoal sector’s reliance on trees makes it a prime sector to target through a climate-resilient value chain approach. The agro-business sector will benefit from increasing the value of agricultural products and creating new investment opportunities. The urban focus of this project opens new doors to tap into the nascent startup ecosystems of Bujumbura while providing support for youth entrepreneurship and employment opportunities. Resilient livelihood options and green entrepreneurship are important strategies to rebuild Burundi’s economy as part of its post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Barriers

Several barriers to this solution have been identified, they will need to be addressed by the LDCF project in order for the project to achieve its results.

Barrier 1: Limited institutional and technical capacity for mapping and analysis of climate risks for resilient integrated watershed management (including flood management). While a climate information system for early warnings has been established in Burundi, operators are receiving training to operationalize the system, but their capacities to make use of data and information beyond early warning (e.g. planning and management) are and will remain limited without dedicated resources. Those capacity gaps need to be addressed before national authorities can analyse trends and develop models to understand flood and erosion risks and support policy and planning processes that can ensure a resilient integrated watershed management of the Ntahangwa river. The development of community development plans (PCDC) has been an important tool to ensure community engagement in shaping programming and investment priorities. However, the absence of an overarching strategic planning process at the watershed level leads to fragmentation and difficulties in developing and measuring the overall impact of interventions across the watershed and broader productive landscape.

Barrier 2: Limited capacities, knowledge and technologies for Ecosystem-based Adaptation. Local authorities do not have the knowledge and expertise to manage climate risks appropriately at their level, even when management measures are identified in a local development plan. Preventive measures are therefore not prioritized and the response to climate-related disasters has remained reactive. This results in significant damage and losses (human, material), which reduces productivity and leads to negative externalities and maladaptation. Communities of the watershed have limited exposure to ecosystem-based adaptation solutions that can improve the resilience of watersheds and restore ecosystem services for flood and erosion protection. They lack the capacity to implement EbA interventions and are not incentivized for doing so. While funding for local development is scarce, human resources are abundant and communities all over the nation willingly give time and effort to benefit their own community. This approach referred to as “labour intensive public work” does not focus on climate resilience, but could be leveraged for the implementation of climate-resilient initiatives with the right incentives.   

Barrier 3: Limited livelihood options and entrepreneurship support for climate resilience, in particular for vulnerable and under-represented populations such as women and the youth. Competing needs and interests make it difficult for vulnerable populations to factor in climate risks in their decisions. The lack of resilient alternative livelihood options means they often are forced to continue with maladapted practices despite experiencing increasing negative impacts from climate change every season. Deforestation and unsustainable agricultural practices worsen the slopes’ stability and compound the problems as climate change impacts worsens. Alternative options to reduce those pressures are extremely limited or not realistic due to lack of market access. While highland upstream areas become more prone to landslide and erosion during intense rainfall, they also worsen the situation of communities in the lowland downstream areas who face increasing risks of flood, flash floods and landslides. For the Ntahangwa watershed, demand for food and agricultural products is driven by urban population in Bujumbura while some of their needs are met by rural communities upstream. Despite this obvious link, there is a disconnect between the activities to meet urban demand and their impact on ecosystem services that protect them against flood and there is no win-win mechanisms to use market levers to encourage a shift to resilient livelihood options that meet urban demands while reducing pressure on ecosystem services that also benefit urban populations. In general, lack of market access is a barrier making those livelihood options difficult to implement as tools and mitigating strategies to overcome those barriers are limited/inexistent. Support for small business creation by the government is limited, even more for the implementation of innovative technological solutions deemed risky.

 

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
120,000 direct beneficiaries
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Government of Burundi
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Project Status: 
Source of Funds Approval/Endorsement
Location: 
Urban
Financing Amount: 
US$8.2 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$16 million

Key Results and Outputs

Component 1: Developing technical capacities for climate-induced flood and erosion risks mapping and their use to inform climate-resilient integrated watershed management and other planning processes.

The Ntahangwa river connected to Bujumbura is a strategic asset that provides opportunities for productive sectors (e.g. agriculture, fisheries) but is also prone to climate risks and causes important damage due to erosion and landslides during wet seasons. Investments in parts of the Ntahangwa watershed have been made in the past, but they are insufficient to yield their intended results as they are scattered and not chosen based on an overall understanding of the watershed hydrologic processes and ecosystem services. A comprehensive integrated approach to land and water resources management of the Ntahangwa watershed is required to ensure long-term flood and erosion control and increased resilience of the communities in the watershed, including in areas at high risk of flood in densely populated areas of Bujumbura.

Under this component 1, capacities to analyse climate data and develop climate risk models will be enhanced to support climate-resilient integrated planning at the watershed level and inform communal development plans and flood-resilient urban development plans. The outcome under this component will address the first barrier to the long-term solutions identified in section 1. Interventions will cover the urban, peri-urban and rural settings, as they need to be considered together to understand the needs, priorities and constraints of populations in each of those areas to identify opportunities and synergies at the level of the watershed and attribute relevant role and responsibilities accordingly. For example, urban populations downstream need rural communities upstream to prevent soil erosion and reduce surface runoff causing flash floods. Rural communities need urban and peri-urban communities to access markets to sell their products.

Outcome1: Enhanced capacity for climate risk modelling and integrated planning in the Ntahangwa watershed and Bujumbura town

Under the LDCF project “Community based climate change related disaster risk management”, a community-based climate information system was developed to collect hydrological information and disseminate early warning information. 30 hydrometeorological stations were installed, with information collected centrally by the Geographic Institute of Burundi (IGEBU) and already covering the Ntahangwa watershed. As of 2021, the early-warning system should be operational, fully managed and funded by the government. Capacities and resources to make use of climate information will remains nonetheless limited and prevent use for planning and decision-making. Outcome 1 will build government capacities to expand the use of the climate information to better understand ecosystem health and their capacity to deliver benefits in terms of resilience under the current human, environmental and climate-related pressures. Modeling capacities also need to be enhanced to develop hydrological models to determine climate risks, more specifically flood and erosion risks, in the Ntahangwa watershed based on current climatic trends and future climate change scenarios. Those are pre-requisites for the development of an evidence-based, climate-resilient, integrated watershed management plan for the Ntahangwa river, as they will guide planning and decision-making processes.

Target areas for the World Bank-funded “Landscape Restoration and Resilience Project”, which constitute part of the baseline for land restoration and erosion control activities, were chosen in relation to their location in the Isare commune, but not primarily for their link to the Ntahangwa river. The resilient integrated watershed management plan will provide an understanding of the key areas in the watershed for the provision of ecosystem services for flood and erosion control and propose a watershed rehabilitation plan for those areas. The determination of priority areas will also confirm the critical gaps in the areas of treatment in the Ntahangwa watershed. Integrated watershed planning is an exercise requiring cross-sectoral cooperation and intense stakeholders’ consultation and participation, involving vulnerable and under-represented groups of people, such as women, youth, and indigenous people (n.b. indigenous Batwas are known to be present in the Ntahangwa watershed). The watershed planning exercise will make use of the climate information systems and climate-sensitive risk maps and evaluate adaptation solutions based on their geographical situation in the watershed. This should be complemented by ecosystem valuations to determine the economic value of ecocystem services provided by the watershed areas. Training will be provided to increase the capacity of relevant provincial and communal government officials, decision-makers and planners. The training will help them identify cost-beneficial ecosystem-based adaptation opportunities (rural as well as urban) and flood protection measures that address the climate threats facing the watershed.

The resilient integrated watershed planning exercise will be used to inform the preparation or revision of existing urban development plans in Bujumbura and communal local development plans in rural communes of the watershed. Those plans are the main tools to translate watershed-level planning into concrete field intervention on the ground while supporting long-term sustainability of the project activities and as a result long-term climate resilience.

Outcome 1 will support the other outcomes by creating the necessary basis upon which this LDCF project can conduct ecosystem restoration, flood protection and livelihood development activities to increase the resilience of communities in the watershed (in rural, urban and peri-urban areas). The evidence-based framework for planning and investment decisions will help ensure the sustainability and scalability of the project. Improvements to the climate information system will also help with collection of data and information that make monitoring and evaluation of the project’s impact easier to measure quantitively.

Outputs under Outcome 1 are listed below:

  • Output 1.1: The community-based climate information system supported and improved to monitor changes in key ecological determinants of ecosystem health and resilience in the Ntahangwa watershed.
  • Output 1.2: Training program implemented to enable the use of hydrological and climate models to map out climate-sensitive flood and erosion risks in the Ntahangwa watershed.
  • Output 1.3: A resilient integrated watershed management plan prepared to guide the development and rehabilitation of the Ntahangwa watershed in areas critical for the provision of ecosystem services for flood and erosion control.
  • Output 1.4: Flood and erosion risks maps developed for use in climate-resilient planning (urban development and investment in Bujumbura,  local development plans in communes of the Ntahangwa watershed).

 

Component 2: Landscape restoration and flood management measures to protect communities in the Ntahangwa watershed and Bujumbura from flood and erosion risks.

The area surrounding Bujumbura is the most prone to erosion and landslides, a situation which will increase over time according to climate projections[1]. Component 2 will build on the evidence base and the climate-resilient integrated watershed management plan provided in Component 1 to implement ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) interventions and flood protection measures in strategic locations across the Ntahangwa watershed. The EbA interventions will restore or maintain ecosystem services for flood and erosion control while protective measures against flood will help stabilize critical riverbanks in at-risk populated areas of Bujumbura. This component represents the bulk of the investments proposed by this LDCF project and will complement and strengthen other investments made in landscape restoration, afforestation and resilience-building activities in parts of the Ntahangwa watershed (See Section 2 on Associated baseline projects).

Outcome 2: Ecosystems services for flood and erosion protection restored and flood protection measures implemented to improve the resilience of communities in the Ntahangwa watershed and in Bujumbura.

Under this outcome, the project will promote ecosystem-based adaptation techniques in the highland upstream areas of the Ntahangwa watershed. The specific measures include landscape restoration techniques and community-based anti-erosion measures. Landscape restoration techniques will focus on planting trees and creating quickset hedges to stabilize hills in the watershed and will be complemented by anti-erosion contour trenches and terraces. Those techniques are meant to reduce soil erosion, increase soil moisture and reduce surface water runoff, therefore improving ecosystem services provided by the watershed and its streams. During intense rainfall, contour trenches channel water runoff and reduce erosion and crop losses due to flooding. By increasing soil moisture, they also provide added protection against drought and heat waves on crops. These EbA techniques increase land productivity and food security. They bring additional economic benefits to communities as most of the hills in the watershed are used for agricultural production.

The landscape restoration efforts will be implemented directly with the local communities in each of the targeted hills in selected communes of the Ntahangwa watershed. Local authorities and local communities will enforce a ban on tree cutting and maintain anti-erosion trenches as part of their community work (half a day per week is dedicated to community work) under a labor-intensive public works (LIPW) scheme. Those EbA techniques are appropriate for a LIPW approach as they are low-tech and easy to implement and maintain with little capital. The LIPW approach has been applied successfully in Burundi for many years and is one of the approaches used to implement activities of the local development plans (e.g. Plan Communal de Développement Communautaire (PCDC)).

The risk mapping and modelling exercise undertaken under Outcome 1 and the watershed rehabilitation plan will help prioritize the hills and communes of the watershed based on their vulnerability to erosion and landslide and their contribution to the ecological status of the river and streams. This prioritization will also consider current and previous investments in the watershed to avoid overlaps and duplication as well as ensure that other interventions in contribute to addressing the climate threats facing the watershed. In total, the project will plant 3,000 ha of specific trees and herbaceous/shrubby quickset hedges in critical degraded areas as well as establish 1,000 km of contour trenches and radical terraces. 

Additional protection from flood will be provided through investment in protective infrastructures in lowland downstream areas, more specifically at-risk populated areas of Bujumbura close to the river. While Bujumbura is less prone to erosion, floods have devastating impacts on the city and the rivers flowing through it, including the Ntahangwa river where critical infrastructures such as schools, churches and habitation are directly at risk of collapsing. Climate change projections indicate that this situation will worsen over time, with increased variability between seasons and increased rainfall causing will increase the frequency of flash flood and landslides. Initial investments in flood protection measures was conducted along the river as part of the previous LDCF intervention. Those measures were considered a success by beneficiaries and the government. The risk mapping exercise under Component 1 will be used to determine the physical location and protective infrastructures options for implementation at a fine-scale level. This work involves civil engineering techniques to reinforce the sides of the river chanel with gabions and terraced surfaces. A social and environmental impact assessment will be undertaken before work on the riverbank can start.

These interventions will be supported by tools and technologies to increase communication and knowledge management at the community level to ensure better responses and handling when climate-related disasters occur. These will aim to create awareness and promote targeted interventions to shift response behaviours to improve climate resilience. South-South cooperation and exchanges of experience and lessons learned on EbA solutions for landscape restoration and urban-based flood protection measures will also be explored during the PPG. These activities will promote the sustainability and scalability of the project, in particular for their application in other rivers and watersheds connected to Bujumbura and Lake Tanganyika.

Outputs under Outcome 2 are listed below:

  • Output 2.1: Restoration measures of vulnerable hilltops of the Ntahangwa watershed connected to Bujumbura completed through the methods of tree planting and quickset hedges;
  • Output 2.2: Establishment of community-based anti-erosion measures, such as ditches and radical terraces, in vulnerable hills critical for the ecosystem health and resilience of the Ntahangwa watershed;
  • Output 2.3: Flood control measures built along the Ntahangwa river channel in areas of Bujumbura where public and private infrastructures are at imminent risk of landslide during extreme climate events;
  • Output 2.4: Knowledge and guidance material on (i) landscape restoration, and (ii) flood management and protective infrastructures prepared and disseminated within Burundi and via South-South exchanges.

 

Component 3: Livelihoods options and green entrepreneurship to increase resilience of the urban, peri-urban and rural communities in the Ntahangwa watershed.

Component 3 aims to support and strengthen the watershed restoration activities under Component 2 by inducing a shift away from unsustainable and vulnerable practices and livelihoods. Livelihoods enhancements and diversification activities proposed under this component will provide incentives to ensure participation and ownership of the project activities by beneficiaries and improve the long-term sustainability of the project results after it ends. The Ntahangwa river is strategic due to its geographic situation connecting highland areas highly sensitive to climate with major strategic assets for Burundi, the city of Bujumbura and Lake Tanganyika. While the connection between the urban, peri-urban and rural communities of the Ntahangwa watershed has been ignored or overlooked, the project will identify and build on the synergies between those communities to deliver win-win adaptation solutions benefiting populations of the watershed, no matter their location or situation. This component also provides specific entry points to support women, young people and indigeneous people with concrete resilience-building solutions or opportunities and tailored support and incentives. Although rural areas have higher poverty rates, the COVID-19 has had immediate and severe impact in urban areas due to the high dependance of the urban poor on informal and non-wage income streams which easily succumb to crises due to low capacity to adapt to sudden changes in market conditions. The livelihood options and green entrepreneurship opportunities proposed under this component build climate resilience while creating green jobs and contributing to building back better as part of the COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Outcome 3: Community livelihood is improved with sustainable adaptation measures contributing to urban, peri-urban and rural resilience.

This outcome introduces adaptation measures promoting resilient livelihoods options and green entrepreneurship opportunities building on synergistic opportunities between populations in urban, peri-urban and rural areas of the watershed and resulting in increased resilience to climate change for populations in the watershed. The options and strategies will be informed by a climate-sensitive market analysis looking at demand levers that could be used to trigger climate-resilient offerings reducing land degradation in the watershed. The market analysis will look at relevant value chains and supply chains to make recommendations on the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of climate-resilient strategies, both on-farm and off-farm. Relevant value chains and supply chains would include agricultural and food products, crops and farming inputs, livestock, fisheries, and non-timber forest products (NTFP). The market analysis will assess economic impacts and market barriers and will include mitigating strategies to address these barriers. The market analysis will be gender-sensitive and aim to provide specific strategies and options for vulnerable and under-represented groups. Food supply systems are key sources of livelihoods and income generating opportunities and can be instrumental in strengthening positive rural-urban linkages. The market analysis will consider COVID-19-related constraints on value chains and supply chains to identify resilience building solutions also contributing to a more robust recovery from COVID-19. The results of the market analysis will be used to inform urban and local development plans supported as part of Outcome 1.

Based on the results of the market analysis, the project will support 5 to 8 Ecosystem-based Adaptation solutions providing resilient livelihoods options that are also compatible with watershed resilience. Those solutions could include, but not limited to, family orchard, food processing and preservation, beekeeping, use of NTFP. Family orchard is a promising EbA solutions that could be used in the Ntahangwa watershed to develop small-scale cultivation systems optimizing the use of space and family labour to produce vegetables, herbs and fruits for both domestic consumption and supplemental income. Family orchard can be implemented in a variety of configurations in both rural and urban settings. Using crop diversification, families can produce food year-round and distribute losses due to climate-induced events. The technique contributes to food security and resilience, it can be complemented by other techniques for increased resilience and autonomy, such as water harvesting techniques, composting and seed management[2]. The project will explore food processing and preservation techniques for agricultural and NTFP products to create added value, reduce post-harvest losses, access new markets and diversify income opportunities, increasing general resilience to climate as a result. While this strategy can be applied to small producers, it could also apply to small agro-business enterprise development.

Under outcome 3, the project aims to foster innovation by supporting green entrepreneurship for urban/peri-urban adaptation. The project will provide investment and support for startup creation, capacity building and skill training, access to improved technologies, mentorship and networking. Green entrepreneurship will aim to tap into the potential of Burundi’s burgeoning startup community to come up with innovative solutions for urban and peri-urban resilience. This activity will provide employment opportunities and connect with young people and women, including those with higher education who often fail to find opportunities matching their career ambitions and expectations. For this activity, UNDP will partner with national, regional and global technological hubs, startup incubators and accelerators to connect startups and entrepreneurs with relevant actors and support. Through green entrepreneurship, the project will contribute to building a more resilient, greener economy in Burundi, which UNDP is promoting as a key recovery strategy post-COVID-19. In times of restricted mobility due to the pandemic, digital solutions are emerging as essential to keep businesses active and ensure safety and security. Where possible, the project will use innovative digital tools to make green businesses easier, more inclusive and more capable of sustaining services during crisis.

UNDP initiated discussions to partner with Impact Hub Bujumbura, a local technology hub supporting Burundi’s startup ecosystem to tackle the Sustainable Development Goals via entrepreneurial and innovative solutions. To generate ideas and interest, the project will support Impact Hub Bujumbura with the organization of the first Climathon in Burundi, Climathon x Bujumbura. Climathon is hackathon programme organized globally under the auspice of Climate-KIC to translate climate action solutions into tangible projects for climate positive businesses and start-ups and addressing local policy changes. Climathon x Bujumbura will gather the startup community to come up with innovative solutions for adaptation and urban resilience. The project, with support from UNDP, will seek to connect startup and entrepreneurs with resources and actors in Burundi, including funding (e.g. UNDP Acceleration Lab, Climate-KIC Accelerator).

Lessons learned from the GEF-LDCF project “Community based climate change related disaster risk management” will be used to guide and inform some of those activities for green entrepreneurship. Such activities include a pilot initiative for briquette production from recycled waste for cooking that is ready for upscaling. Charcoal production is an important driver of deforestation and land degradation in Burundi and the production of briquettes from organic waste contributes to reducing the reliance on wood for charcoal production. The pilot initiative supported by UNDP has created an additional source of income for over 20 young people, men and women, who have learnt the skills needed to prepare the briquettes from waste and build improved cooking stoves. The initiative is generating revenues and has identified areas to improve production bottlenecks for further expansion (e.g. shaping of briquettes with a motorized engine instead of manual work). The market analysis will provide solutions and de-risking incentives to upscale this initiative and will support the establishment of additional briquette production units with, among others, skill training and marketing training, improved production equipments and access to finance.

To facilitate investments and entrepreneurship, the project includes a specific activity on access to micro-finance for smallholder farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs, with a specific focus on women and youth entrepreneurs. This will include capacity building in financial literacy to give beneficiaries a better understanding of credit and business models applicable to their livelihood activities. The project will establish partnerships with banks and micro-finance institutions to develop credit products at affordable interest rates and accessible by vulnerable groups. During the PPG, de-risking measures to incentivize micro-finance institutions and banks will be explored. Strategies to facilitate positive impact on women and other vulnerable groups will form the basis for tailoring policies, practices and products that better address gender equality and promote women’s empowerment. The project will train MFI’s staff member on gender analysis and help them incorporate empowerment indicators (e.g. proportion of women in the loan portfolio) into their client monitoring and assessment processes and help them adjust their financial services to respond to diverse client needs (e.g. adapting loan amounts and repayment schedules for women). The project will build on and strengthen women’s network and conduct marketing campaigns to influence people’s attitudes on women’s status and employment to facilitate community approval of women’s projects and build women’s self-confidence.

As in Outcome 2, Outcome 3 will promote communication and knowledge management, and explore mechanisms to share experience and lessons learned and promote sustainability and scalability of the project’s livelihood options for EbA and green entrepreneurship initiatives.

  • Output 3.1: Market analysis conducted, including; i) identifying demand levers that could to drive a shift to sustainable resilient practices in  the watershed (considering opportunities from/between urban/peri-urban/rural settings); ii) analysing relevant supply chains for climate-resilient agricultural and food products, crops and farming inputs, livestock and fisheries, and non-timber forest products; iii) assessing economic impacts and market barriers; and iv) drafting mitigating strategies to address these barriers.
  • Output 3.2: Ecosystem-based Adaptation solutions providing resilient livelihoods options compatible with watershed resilience are supported (e.g.: family orchard, food processing and preservation, beekeeping, use of NTFP…);
  • Output 3.3: Startup creation facilitated through the provision of technical support (training, mentoring) and finance (to invest in resilient practices and technologies);
  • Output 3.4: Development of micro-finance products (micro-credit) with Micro-Finance Institutions to support small business development, with a focus on women and youth entrepreneurs.
  • Output 3.5: Knowledge and guidance material on (i) resilient livelihood options and (ii) and green entrepreneurship and startup creation leveraging urban, peri-urban and rural win-win opportunities for climate resilience prepared and disseminated within Burundi and via South-South exchanges.



[1] Analyse intégrée de la Vulnérabilité au Burundi. GIZ, December 2014.

[2] Microfinance for Ecosystem-based Adaptation: Options, costs and benefits, UNEP, 2013.