Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS): Joint solutions for resilient economic growth

Project description

Title: Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) for Growth
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: EU, FCDO and PVH Corp.
Country: Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
Lead executing agency: Ethiopia: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; South Africa: Department of Water and Sanitation and Department of Trade, Industry and Competition; Tanzania: Ministry of Water and Irrigation; Uganda: Ministry of Water and Environment; Zambia: Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection
Overall term: 2018 to 2022


For multiple years now, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report has been highlighting water-related threats as the greatest risk to economic development in the immediate future. These threats are closely related to the availability and quality of natural resources such as soil, water, wetlands and natural diversity and the way these resources are managed.

In partner countries like Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, scarce and overexploited natural resources are leading to social and economic risks, as they negatively impact companies’ business operations and investments. Compounding this delicate situation, many countries’ national development plans focus on cutting poverty through increased agricultural and industrial activity, without amply addressing these resource-related risks.


Reduction  of the social and economic risks caused by scarce or endangered natural resources.


Natural resources stewardship is a concept where all users of natural resources take responsibility for their impacts on shared resources and work together to ensure these resources are managed sustainably. This concept of stewardship is based on the understanding that these resource challenges cannot be resolved by individual organisations, but must be addressed using concerted, collaborative action.

The Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) for Growth is a continuation of the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP). The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements this multi-donor German development cooperation programme. NatuReS is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Union and the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Additionally, there are plans for the programme to cooperate with the European Union. NatuReS supports partnerships comprising governments, private companies and local communities that work together to reduce social and economic risks associated with the growing scarcity or endangerment of natural resources. This is done through the identification, development and implementation of collective measures. The private sector plays an important role in implementing these partnerships.

Through NatuReS, GIZ acts as a moderator and creates a basis of trust between the participating parties. It improves the prerequisites for successful cooperation, provides technical and institutional advice, and helps to develop partners’ capacities such as improving how protective measures for water resources are coordinated and monitored. This is especially applicable to the river basin region of Kiiha in Uganda, where the sugar industry was brought together with public authorities, communities  and small-scale farmers to protect wetlands and use water resources sustainably. As well as protecting natural resources, this has led local sugar producer, Kinyara Sugar Ltd., to invest EUR 55 million to expand its production facilities and create 7,900 jobs.

The measures taken by  NatuReS are implemented in close cooperation with bilateral and regional German development cooperation projects. Further cooperation partners include the UN CEO Water Mandate, the Alliance for Water Stewardship and the Water Integrity Network.


NatuReS is the follow-up programme of the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP), active from 2013 to 2019, and continues to build on IWaSP’s many successes. 

IWaSP worked with more than 70 companies and was involved in 38 partnerships; private sector companies contributed more than EUR 15 million to these partnerships. In total, more than 3.2 million people benefited directly and more than 10.1 million benefited indirectly from the programme’s activities. 

Continuing the stewardship and partnership approach initiated by IWaSP, NatuReS concentrates especially on cities, economic development zones and water catchments, as these are areas where the programme can have a more widespread impact. In addition to positive social and environmental impacts, NatuReS measures its contribution to economic development through the goal of securing 72,000 jobs and promoting EUR 225 million in investments.

Last update: March 2021

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