By Annonciata BYUKUSENGE
Every year, Rwanda joins the rest of the world to mark World Water Day, International Day of Forests, and World Meteorological Day. These three global events are an opportunity to highlight the importance of forests, water, weather and climate in our daily lives.
In Rwanda, the three days are celebrated together in recognition of the interconnectedness and interdependence between water, forest resources and our climate. This year, celebrations will be marked by a series of activities across the country, including field activities, sessions on water, forest resources management and meteorological services as well as public awareness campaigns.
“Everything in nature is connected, from our forests and water to our climate. We are faced with the triple planetary crisis of Pollution, Climate crisis, and Biodiversity loss, and the solution lies in environment and climate resilient development. Let’s shape climate actions and sustainable management of water and forests resources taking into consideration and disseminating climate information in ways that provide wider benefits for Nature and society.” said Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment.
International Day of Forests
International Day of Forests is celebrated on 21st March every year to raise awareness of the importance of forests to people and the planet. The theme for the 2023 International Day of Forests is “Forests and Health.” Forests provide direct and indirect health benefits for all people – not only those whose lives are closely intertwined with forest ecosystems but also people far from forests, including urban populations.
Rwanda recognises the importance of forests to the health of citizens and the global population in general. The Government of Rwanda is promoting Forest Landscape Restoration with a pledge to restore two million hectares of forest landscapes by 2030. In addition, Rwanda has reached the target of 30% of its total land area being covered by forests. The country is now investing in sustainable forest management to increase the stock and productivity of forests through publicprivate partnerships.
World Water Day
World Water Day has been celebrated annually since 1993 to focus global attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for sustainable management of freshwater resources. This year, World Water Day will be celebrated under the theme of “Accelerating Change”. This theme was locally customized and we adopted “Caring for water, delivering Access for all” This year, the focus of the UN observance is on accelerating change to solve the water and sanitation crisis. The global campaign, called “Be the change”, encourages people to take action in their own lives to change the way they use, consume and manage water.
In Rwanda, the celebration of World Water Day on 22nd March was preceded by a national water week during which various activities were conducted such as awareness-raising campaigns, conferences and the launching of water related projects. This year’s theme is an opportunity to reflect on the ideas, innovations, and governance systems that can speed up the transition to more resilient water systems.
World Meteorological Day
On 23rd March 2023, Rwanda will join the rest of the world to celebrate World Meteorological Day, which commemorates the coming into existence of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on 23rd March 1950. It is an annual event commemorated by 193 WMO Member States and Territories globally, as well as meteorological communities worldwide.
This year, World Meteorological Day will be celebrated under the theme “The Future of Weather, Climate and Water across Generations”. The celebration serves as an opportunity to increase awareness on weather and climate information and encourage Rwandans to utilise corresponding information to enhance resilience in the face of increasing challenges fueled by climate change.