The Knowledge to Act


Adaptive and Inclusive Watershed Management in East Africa

Share This

Climate change is affecting water systems around the globe, including in countries in East Africa such as Uganda and Kenya, with the degradation of wetlands, changing rainfall patterns, increased incidents of extreme weather, and deteriorating water quality and quantity. 

This, in turn, has created increased needs around maintaining food security, urgent climate adaptation needs, and reconciling the rapid population growth and the country’s economic development goals. In addition, women—the main users of water for household and small-scale agriculture—are often excluded from decision making around water on all levels. 

Incorporating climate change considerations into planning, budgeting and monitoring in the water sector, as well as gender mainstreaming into sectoral policies, programs, administrative and financial activities related to watersheds, can help systematically reduce some of these challenges. This is what we call adaptive and inclusive watershed management.

IISD is exploring how well Uganda and Kenya are already implementing adaptive and inclusive watershed management practices

The first stage of this project focused on improving understanding and capacity to incorporate ecosystem management, gender responsiveness and climate adaptation into the adaptive watershed (TAW) management efforts. You can read a quick commentary about that process here.

IISD is currently exploring how well Uganda and Kenya are incorporating key elements of adaptive and inclusive watershed management practices through their policies, planning and institutional systems. Mainstreaming of gender and climate adaptation considerations are considered in the context of government departmental structures, plans, policy documents, implementation guidelines and monitoring systems. Both countries have identified water management, gender equity and climate change adaptation as priorities and are working actively towards ensuring effective methods in these areas.

The summary graphics (below), demonstrate specific elements that connect the three aspects of adaptive and inclusive watershed management in the two countries studied. Our assessment shows that both countries have both strengths and weaknesses when it comes to planning, implementing and monitoring key elements of such integrated management efforts.