The LDCF project “Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change by Establishing Early Warning and Disaster Preparedness Systems and Support for Integrated Watershed Management in flood prone areas” is helping 10 districts in Rwanda address their diverse adaptation needs, in partnership with UNEP, UNDP, RAB (Rwanda Agriculture Board), and AAP (African Adaptation Program).
Ninety-percent of the population in Rwanda depends on subsistence agriculture, which is the sector that is most affected by the impacts of climate change. The project’s main objective is to reduce the vulnerability of the Gishwati ecosystem and its associated Nile-Congo watersheds, and the people that derive their livelihoods from it, to increased floods and droughts due to climate change.
In 2007, Rwanda completed its NAPA (National Adaptation Program of Action) in which the following climate threats were highlighted: flooding, landslides, heavy rain falls, extreme temperatures, heat waves, and drought. These phenomena have translated into low agriculture productivity, water shortage, and low agricultural output. In order to face these challenges, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, with LDCF funding and UNEP execution selected the districts of Nyabihu. Ngororero, Rubavu, Rutsiro, Nyamagabe, Bugesera, Kayonza, Gatsibo, Kirche and Rulindo, to pilot adaptation measures.
LDCF financed activities are assisted by technical services of the RAB in order to not only enhance agricultural productivity, improved water distribution and management, but also, ensure economic incentives for the local people. The project is helping local farmers and pastoralists improve their crops and get access to water for their livestock, in order to safeguard their livelihoods.
Adaptation activities are diverse in nature, depending on the pilot sites (districts). Some of these include: activities to lessen soil erosion impacts, growing of fruits, conservation of river banks, plant water-entrapment trees, raise awareness, mix trees with selected crops to stop soil from washing away to ensure food security while boosting the economy, build crop greeneries, irrigation projects for farmers, and forest and land rejuvenation. These activities are to happen in a span of 2 to 4 years, and will be completed by 2014.