UNESCO, KWR and the University of Bath assess urban water management in 4 cities in Africa

By applying the City Blueprint approach, they will define the risks and opportunities for improvements in the cities of Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Lusaka (Zambia), Lagos (Nigeria) and Nairobi (Kenya)

Project scope

The project aims to provide cities with a tool to assess their water, waste, and climate change challenges, using the City Blueprint Approach. For this second phase of the project carried out by UNESCO, KWR and the University of Bath, we will apply the methodology to assess the sustainability of water management in four African cities: Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Lusaka (Zambia), Lagos (Nigeria) and Nairobi (Kenya). The project consists of three assessments: (1) the Trends and Pressures Framework (TPF), (2) the City Blueprint Framework (CBF) and (3) the Governance Capacity Framework (GCF). The baseline assessment will be performed by young professionals, with local professor, MSc students Environmental Engineering from the University of Bath, the authors of the methodology from KWR, and UNESCO Field offices and Headquarters. They will collect the data and evaluate the 25 indicators.

Project set up

KWR initially developed the City Blueprint Approach. In cooperation with KWR, UNESCO launched its first phase of the City Blueprint Project in 2019-2020 in six African cities: Abuja, Bangui, Harare, Libreville, Windhoek and Yaoundé, , which were presented at a workshop in Kampala in February 2020. Thanks to young professionals who implemented this approach locally, the project’s first phase was very successful in helping cities benchmark and improve their water management. To continuously expand this positive impact and create a city-to-city network between all the stakeholders of the CBF in Africa, UNESCO, Bath and KWR have decided to perform the second phase of the City Blueprint Project in four other African cities.

Project expectations and relevancy

This new project will provide us with important insights into the city’s strength and weakness in water, waste, and climate change and that the outcome will serve as the basis for future policymaking. We also expect that the network and synergy created during this project will stimulate further innovations and provide the young professionals with additional professional opportunities. Furthermore, we hope it will offer young professionals the opportunity to increase their experience and knowledge and will contribute to urban water management in the future.

In African countries, limited data and information are usually the first and most significant challenge for policymaking and implementation. This project requires the gathering and exploiting of comprehensive data/information regarding water, waste and climate change. Therefore it can enhance future data availability and quality. The analysis and outcome will provide insights into how to improve the current city water management and involve related stakeholders. The three assessments play an essential role in realizing Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).