By Elias Hakizimana.
In 2011, Rwanda committed to bring under restoration two million hectares (almost 80% of the national territory) by 2030 during the Bonn Challenge that is the global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
Rwanda is on the right track towards achieving restoration two million hectares of degraded land by 2030 as 600,000 hectares or 35 per cent of the commitment are already restored.
The progress was unveiled during the meeting that gathered the Ministry of Land and Forestry in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and ICRAF – Rwanda.
The one-day Cross-sectoral Dialogue on Greening Rwanda aimed at promoting synergies and unlocks the potential for investment in greening Rwanda.
The dialogue was a huge opportunity for the Government Institutions, Private Sector, Civil Society, and Development Partners to exchange views and come up with concrete recommendations on coordination and sustainable options to green Rwanda.
Addressing the Dialogue, Minister of Lands and Forestry Francine Tumushime said that despite the significant improvement recorded in the past two decades, there are still current and emerging challenges that need coordinated efforts as we move forward.
“First, Rwanda has high population density (500 habitants per sqkm) and high population growth (2.8 % per year) with high reliance on natural resources. Over 73% of the population still live in rural areas and most of them depend on agriculture and forest for their livelihood. Furthermore, 64% of our forests have been lost since 1960s and transformed into agricultural and settlement lands making our landscapes more vulnerable to climate shocks, affecting people’s lives and significant economic losses.” She said
Rwanda has seen significant economic development in recent years and has placed the environment and natural resources sector at the centre of its national development agenda.
The Government of Rwanda also made clear efforts to protect forests and to enhance biodiversity through institutional mandates, policies and strategies.
Since then, the Government of Rwanda has adopted a green growth pathway to achieve sustainable development and improve population livelihoods.
The recently adopted National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) prioritize sustainable management of natural resources as a pillar to green economic transformation.
However, a recent assessment by IUCN (2017) entitled “Review of Policies, Programs and Investment Incentives in Forest Landscape Restoration in Rwanda”, found out a significant gap in sector collaboration to implement policies at all levels, limited synergies between various institutions and deficiencies in Monitoring and Evaluation of Forest Landscape Restoration in Rwanda
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