June 17, 2024

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Kigali Embarks on Groundbreaking SUNCASA Project to Combat Climate Hazards

In a significant move to enhance environmental preservation, climate adaptation, and disaster mitigation, the SUNCASA project (Scaling Urban Nature-based Solutions for Climate Adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa) was recently introduced to district officials and key stakeholders. Supported by the Government of Canada, the project is being implemented in Kigali, along with Dire Dawa in Ethiopia and Johannesburg in South Africa. Running from 2024 to 2026, the project is a collaborative effort led by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

In Kigali, the project is delivered in partnership with three local organizations—Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS), AVEGA Agahozo, and Rwanda Young Water Professionals (RYWP)—alongside the City of Kigali and the Rwanda Forestry Authority, with additional support from various government institutions. The project will focus on three districts: Kicukiro, Gasabo, and Nyarugenge.

The SUNCASA project aims to harness nature-based solutions (NbS) to enhance climate adaptation, gender equality, and biodiversity protection in urban communities across the city. As part of the initiative, approximately 2 million trees will be planted in Kigali to bolster the city’s resilience to climate hazards such as flooding, landslides, and erosion, which are exacerbated by the country’s steep topography, rapid urbanization, and climate change.

Specifically, the project plans to implement Nature-based Solutions (NbS) interventions, including reforestation on 650 hectares, afforestation on 219 hectares, agroforestry on 1,260 hectares, the creation of buffer zones for gullies and riverbank stabilization on 395 hectares, and the planting of over 88,000 urban trees along roadsides, within ecological reserves, in public spaces, and in other key areas.

Promoting gender equality and social inclusion is also a key objective, aiming to dismantle barriers for women in climate adaptation decision-making, planning, delivery, and monitoring. The project ensures that men, women, and various vulnerable groups benefit equally from its outcomes.

The Director of Social and Health in Gasabo District, Alphonse Rutarindwa, said that the SUNCASA project is going to be a solution, especially in this district because it used to be affected by disasters.

He said, “Gasabo District is a region that has been affected by severe floods for days, so this project that comes to plant new trees will help the community.”

The Director of Land Survey and GIS at Nyarugenge District, Cesar Dusabeyezu emphasized the project’s importance for the district. “Nyarugenge is a mountainous area with a high altitude, making it prone to disasters. The trees we plant will help stabilize the soil, combat landslides, and address climate change issues, particularly in the City of Kigali,” he said.

In addition to other benefits, the SUNCASA project is anticipated to directly impact 17,000 community members, thereby demonstrating a broad and inclusive approach to climate resilience and environmental sustainability. This initiative extends its influence to the 975,000 residents within the targeted sub-catchment area, fostering a cohesive strategy for addressing climate challenges and promoting ecological well-being.

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