1. Background

1.1 Nile Basin Initiative

The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) is an inter-governmental organization initiated and led by the Nile riparian countries to promote joint development, protection and management of the common Nile River Basin water resources. NBI has a Shared Vision: ‘to promote sustainable socio-economic development through the equitable utilization of, and benefit from, the common Nile Basin water resources’. A wide range of programs and projects are currently under varying stages of identification, preparation and implementation under NBI, designed to contribute towards the realization of the NBI shared Vision.

The NBI provides a unique forum for the countries of the Nile Basin to move towards a cooperative process to realize tangible benefits in the basin and build a solid foundation of trust and confidence. The Nile Council of Ministers [Nile-COM] serves as the highest decision-making body of the NBI. The Nile-COM is supported by the NBI Technical Advisory Committee [Nile-TAC], which is composed of two senior officials from each member country.

NBI is managed from three Centers. The first Centre at Entebbe, Uganda, forms the NBI Secretariat (Nile-SEC) and was launched in September 1999. It has a coordinating role across the Basin, supports the platform for Basin-wide dialogue, and provides and manages an interactive, intelligent, basin knowledge base and promotes Water Resources Management. Another Centre at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO) and a third Centre at Kigali, Rwanda, Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit (NELSAP-CU) both manage the facilitation of Cooperative Water Resources Development in their respective sub-regions.

The NBI performs three core functions;

i. Facilitating Cooperation. The NBI main objective is to facilitate, support and nurture cooperation amongst the Nile Basin countries to promote timely and efficient joint actions required for securing benefit from the common Nile Basin water resources.

ii. Water Resources Management. The NBI provides member countries with analytic tools and a shared information system that will enable monitoring and the sustainable management of the basin.

iii. Water Resource Development. The NBI assists member countries to identify development opportunities and prepare projects and seek investments. Development programs are focused on power trade and generation, agriculture and watershed management.

2. Context
2.1 The “NBI Peatlands Study”

Initial work on Peatlands of the Nile Basin was carried out by the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) under the framework of the current BMU IKI funded project “Biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of wetlands of transboundary significance in the Nile Basin” (14_IV_045_Africa_G_Nile Basin Biodiversity Conservation).

The study ‘Assessment of Carbon Emissions Avoidance Potential from the Nile Basin Peatlands’ (NBI 2020), provided the first ever scoping level mapping and assessment of the peatlands in the basin. The total area covers 30,445 km² and contains 4.2 – 10 Gt of carbon, i.e. 5 to 10 % of the known tropical peat carbon stock. In the Nile Equatorial Lakes (NEL) region (Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya) they cover 12,500 km² (i.e. 58.5 % of the known peat carbon stock of the Basin).

However, as it has been highlighted by the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety (BMU), peatlands are increasingly being used all over the world for agricultural and forestry purposes. The drainage measures required for this release climate-relevant gases on a large scale, which contribute to the degradation of these special ecosystems.

Within the Nile Basin context, the Nile Basin Peatlands study found that conversion of peatlands into agricultural land (small-holder and commercial) – driven by growing populations – have led to wide-spread drainage and degradation of peatlands particularly in Uganda, the Kagera Complex (Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania) and South Sudan. This also threatens provision of ecological functions and services from wetland ecosystems. CO2 emissions from drained peatlands in the Basin amount to more than 50% of national emissions from consumption of fossil fuels and cement production in Rwanda and Uganda.

The study concludes that no NBI country treats peatland GHG sources and sinks appropriately in their current LULUCF budgets nor includes peatland, wetland or soil carbon targets in their NDCs (except Uganda on a superficial level).

To receive international support via Paris Agreement’s Article 6 mechanisms, peatlands and their GHG balances should be incorporated in the relevant NDCs in the next updating cycle. This should serve as the baseline for regional and national peatland actions and resource mobilization in accordance to Nile COMs resolution of 2019 on this topic.

The study further recommends NBI and countries to develop paludiculture-based strategies to avoid negative impacts of agriculture while allowing to use peatlands productively. However, in order to move forward towards a more effective protection and restoration of peatlands and their sustainable use, it is required to: 1) further develop the scientific and technical understanding of peatland ecosystems in the Nile region; and 2) to widely disseminate the available technical knowledge among relevant stakeholders.

The Nile Basin Initiative, supported by the DIAPOL-CE project has currently a specific work package for the Ugandan and Kagera Complex Peatlands. The overall purpose of the DIAPOL – Nile Basin Work Package, is to raise awareness and explore with climate actors (beyond wetlands stakeholders) relevant elements from wetlands and peatlands analysis which can be used and integrated into climate policy making. The main objective of the work package is to: support regional dissemination of climate relevant / Greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions data from peatlands in the Nile Basin; for assisting NBI countries and stakeholders in the elaboration and leverage of climate change mitigation policies for the sustainable use and conservation of peatlands (overall objective); and thereby reducing emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) and conserving biodiversity (impact).

This will be achieved through the preparation of two political dialogues for: 1) raising awareness about the peatland measures GHG potentials in Nationally Determined Contributions in across the region; 2) advancing country specific discussions for a national peatlands and climate change dialogue in Uganda.

This Terms of Reference are complementary to the NBI Peatlands Activities under DIAPOL-CE but focused only in South Sudan.

2.2 Brief situation analysis of the South Sudan’s Peatlands and the International Climate Change Policy Landscape

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, including South Sudan.

At the moment, South Sudan is working to identify relevant sectors for climate change mitigation and adaptation in their NDCs (UNDP 2021). One of the major sectors in the NDC is the AFOLU sector, including wetlands for their biodiversity ecosystem services support. Yet the Sudd wetlands may also be very important for climate change mitigation from the AFOLU sector, biodiversity and for Disaster Risk Management.

Figure 1. Permanent wetland vegetation as identified by Sentinel-II in 2019 (Elshehawi et al., 2019).

The total identified peatland area in the Sudd wetlands in South Sudan is about 14,600 km2 (Figure 1), and potentially storing about 40% of all the carbon stocks stored in peatlands of the Nile Basin[1]. However, it is also one of the major fire hotspots from peatlands, i.e. potential high GHG source[2]. Despite the strong indications of peat presence in the Sudd, due to the limited accessibility, the information from ground-truthing to support previous remote sensing work is still lacking1.

The data from the NBI Peatlands Study (NBI 2019) shows that peatlands drainage is progressive, and on average it is about 25 % of all the peatlands in the Nile Basin. For example, in Uganda GHG from drained peatlands amount to about 8 Mt CO2 annually from 2015 to 2035 in a business as usual scenario, which equals 10 % of their 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 areas1, including ambitious countries like South Sudan.

Under this assignment, existing collaboration between GIZ, Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and the relevant government body in South Sudan will be enhanced to better understand the role of peatlands restoration for climate mitigation and climate-smart agriculture. Outputs will be used in climate policy dialogues in South Sudan and the Nile Equatorial Lakes forum of NBI (NEL-SAP), as well as other regional and international climate policy dialogues, e.g. Africa Climate Week (ACW).

3. Objective of this assignment

Overall Objective: Inform policy makers and other stakeholders in the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) member states about importance of peatland management for climate change policies (e.g. NDCs) and potential of economically feasible ways of climate and ecosystem smart peatland agriculture (Paludiculture) with case study of South Sudan. **

Objective: Provide updated carbon stock estimates and emissions monitoring, reporting and verification state-of-the-art for drained peatlands in the Sudd wetlands to policy makers, scientists and other stakeholders in South Sudan.**

Output: White Paper on Climate Change mitigation and adaptation potential and Peatland wise-use options in the Sudd Wetlands – as a technical input for the political dialogues.**

4. Approach to this assignment

It is expected that the consultant carries out a short ground-truthing trip near Bor (north of Juba) to confirm already existing remote sensing observations. This shall include a capacity building element to the wetland officers who took part in the fieldwork training done by the NBI in 2019. This should allow the consultant to re-estimate current carbon stock estimates by getting an impression of the peat type and depth, if any.

Second, the consultant should investigate the present state-of-the-art of including wetland restoration in South Sudan’s NDC and the role played by peatlands and their land use. The aim is to create a roadmap for inclusion of emissions from drained peatlands in the NDC and the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems in place (or planned).

Third, the consultant shall analyze the role that climate-smart agriculture policies, paludiculture value chains, may play under buffer schemes within wetland conservation efforts, as an alternative economic development pathway.

These activities will be carried out using desk research, fieldwork and expert workshops. The project will be in parallel to the existing NBI – DIAPOL-CE Peatlands Project which runs until January 2022.

5. Scope of Work / Phases

The study includes the following phases:

1) Field work to gather data and information as necessary and to validate data;

2) Develop White Paper on Climate Change mitigation and adaptation potential and Peatland wise-use options in the Sudd Wetlands; and

3) South Sudan Political Dialogue with a capacity building element.

Phase 1 – Field Work

The field work will focus on ground truthing inputs from the NBI 2019 Peatlands Study, particularly the ones from remote sensing. It should be done withing a period of 5-7 days near Bor. The task shall include:

· Development of a data collecting format for field data collection;

· Organize a team to collect the data and conduct the field work. In addition to the site data collection the field work will included consultation with various stakeholders;

· Strengthen the capacities of the government official that may be part of the field work by training them on appropriate peat extraction techniques and analysis;

· Analyse the data available and collected from field work in the necessary format necessary.

Phase 2 – White Paper on Climate Change mitigation and adaptation potential and Peatland wise-use options in the Sudd Wetlands**

Based on all the relevant information gathered through phase 1the consultant will prepare the White Paper on Climate Change mitigation and adaption potential and Peatland wise-use options in the Sudd Wetlands. The paper should discuss the Carbon stocks and GHG estimates will be re-calculated based on the adapted land-use categories and their respective IPCC emission factors using the open data from Copernicus and/or national data on land cover.

Phase 3 – South Sudan Political Dialogue

The results of the White Paper will be discussed in a national dialogue in South Sudan and the regional expert workshops (NEL-SAP).[3] At the national dialogue, the consultant should discuss options to create paludiculture pilots in buffer zones of conservation areas to promote climate smart agriculture – which should be part of a training and capacity building element of the dialogue.

III. Qualifications

The Consultant must have the following qualifications:

· Minimum MSc or higher in palaeoecology or any other relevant subject

· At least 10 years’ experience in leading similar tasks as the assignment (i.e. assessing and determining the carbon sequestration potential of wetlands and peatlands).

· At least 3 comparable assignments (assessing and determining the carbon sequestration potential of wetlands and peatlands).

· The consultant must have extensive experience assessing and determining the carbon sequestration potential of wetlands and peatlands (in at least 3 similar assignments) in specific wetlands.

· Language: the consultant must have excellent command of written and spoken English language.

6. Level of effort

The level of effort for this assignment shall be 30 person days, spread over a duration of 3 months.

How to Apply

Interested consultants are advised to visit the Nile Basin Initiative’s website ( nilebasin.org , under consultancies) to download more detailed ToRs . Proposals indicating the title of the assignment accompanied by detailed curriculum vitae of the expert should reach the Secretariat latest 30th July, 2021, not later than 5:00 pm (Local time in Entebbe, Uganda) through email vacancy@nilebasin.org