Nile Basin Initiative Secretariat

Biodiversity conservation and utilization of ecosystems in the Nile Basin Wetlands
Ecosystems and biodiversity
Basin-wide Program
NileSEC Document

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  • Dr. Samer Elshehawi ,Dr. Jan Peters ,Dr. Tatiana Minayeva ,Mr. Arthur Neher ,Dr. Alexandra Barthelmes ,Prof. Hans Joosten ,
  • 01 Feb 2019
  • Open Access
  • English (United States)
  • This document build upon Nile Baisn Initiative's technical report on 'Assessment of Carbon (CO2) emissions avoidance potential fro the Nile Basin peatlands shows that peatlands in the Nile Basin cover about 30,000 km2, more than 50 % of which are situated in the Sudd and about 40 % are in the Nile Equatorial Lakes region (cf. Technical Report). Both systems are part of the White Nile sub-system. The Blue Nile sub-system of the Nile Basin contains smaller peatland areas, most of which are located in Ethiopia, with Sudan and Egypt expected to contain very limited peatland. The Afroalpine peatlands of high altitudes are not large in size, but known for their deep peats and their crucial role for safeguarding the water supply of both Nile sub-systems. Estimates of drained peatlands in the Nile Equatorial Lakes region indicate that the region is a hotspot for CO2 emissions, with annual national CO2 emissions from peatlands within the Nile Basin in a business-as-usual scenario amounting between 0.1 and 7.8 Mt CO2. Scenario studies in WP1 have indicated that land-use and land-use change in such scenario could lead to cumulative emissions of 800 Mt CO2 or higher in the period 2015 - 2050. Avoiding these emissions combining with stopping new drainage in 2020 or rewetting all drained peatlands in 2025 would lead to an emission reduction of at least 370 and 680 Mt CO2, respectively. Emissions from peatlands are reported under the LULUCF sector (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry, Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol). In developing countries LULUCF sector related emissions, including those from peatlands, are even more important than in developed countries both in absolute and in relative terms. For a number of years, within LULUCF almost exclusive attention has been given to REDD+ rather than to peatlands. This said, forests and peatlands often go hand in hand, and often follow a similar fate of deforestation, drainage and degradation. Important differences remain, however, in particular concerning greenhouse gas (GHG) balances and emission trends. This paper aims at providing knowledge relevant for policy. The paper outlines the international policy commitments and activities of the Nile Basin countries with respect to peatlands, discusses emission monitoring, reporting and verification challenges, and reviews carbon financing and funding schemes and options for rewetting and avoiding CO2 emissions from drained peatlands in the Nile Basin.
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