Policy Dialogue on Low Emission Development: Political Dialogues for Climate Change and Peatland Management in the Nile Basin
All the Nile Basin countries are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). To achieve the objective of the Convention, all Parties are obliged to communicate reliable, transparent and comprehensive information on GHG emissions, climate actions and support. Under the UNFCCC, all Nile Basin countries are Non-Annex I countries. All Nile Basin countries have submitted their National Determined Contributions (NDC), but no Nile Basin country has as yet included the (often substantial) emissions from drained peatlands in their NDC.
Uganda has referred to “wetland restoration” as an activity for CO2 emissions reduction in its second NDC in 2015. The emissions estimated for the business as usual scenario until 2030 are 77.3 Mt CO2eq annually. About 22 % of these emissions are from the LULUCF sector. Wetlands restoration as a reduction activity from the business as usual scenario by 2030 amounts to about 0.8 Mt CO2eq. It is unclear in the communication, whether emissions from wetlands restoration is seen as part of the LULUCF or independent. Also, emissions from drained peatlands are not included yet.
The data in our work show that peatlands drainage, which cover less than 25 % of all the wetlands in Uganda, amount to emissions of about 8 Mt CO2 annually from 2015 to 2035 in a business as usual scenario, which equals 10 % of the total annual emissions by 2030. Hence, emissions from drained peatlands could be significant for Uganda’s future transparent reporting and emissions reduction activities, especially if wetlands restoration activities are to be included in their NDC. The same situation is likely for other Nile Basin countries with significant drained peatland areas.