By Annonciata Byukusenge
Government of Rwanda settled policy on environment and climate change in order to help people to protect environment, ecosystem and to cope with climate change.
This policy is in line with other sectoral policies that are related to climate change, the environment and natural resources.
These include but not limited to:
Forestry Policy: recognises the need to manage forest resources to support the country’s development goals for sustainable, low-carbon and climate resilient growth to improve livelihoods of present and future generations.
▪ Biodiversity Policy: considers the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems in Rwanda as an urgent and major task that requires the commitment of significant resources from both national budgets and other sources.
▪ Wildlife Policy: acknowledges that Rwanda’s wildlife protected areas significantly contribute to the production of global public goods and services, such as protection of biodiversity, climate stabilisation, carbon sequestration and global waters. It also stresses that any adverse impacts on the ecosystems can dramatically and negatively alter humans’ capacity to survive.
▪ Energy Policy: recognises the need to shift consumption from biomass-based energies to clean energies like electricity and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to reduce pressure on forest resources. It also focuses on renewable energy infrastructure as one strategy to fight global warming through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Water Supply Policy: aims to ensure sustainable, equitable, reliable and affordable access to safe drinking water for all Rwandans, as a contribution to improving public health and socio-economic development.
▪ Sanitation Policy: aims to ensure sustainable, equitable and affordable access to safe sanitation and waste management services for all Rwandans as a contribution to poverty reduction, public health, economic development and environmental protection.
National Industrial Policy: stresses that waste produced by industrial processes is harmful to the environment and needs proper management and disposal strategy.
▪ Agriculture Policy: seeks to make agriculture and livestock more productive and at the same time ensure proper utilization of natural resources and sustainability for future generations.
▪ Land Policy: stresses that agroforestry should be part of the agricultural landscape on hills, given its contribution to soil protection.
▪ Water Resource Management Policy: considers to manage and develop water resources in an integrated and sustainable manner to secure and provide water of adequate quantity and quality for all social and economic needs of the present and future generations.
Furthermore, during the elaboration of sectoral and districts medium-term strategies to be implemented in the period covering 2017-2024, environment and climate change issues have been integrated and considered as cross cutting areas. The focus will be on improving cross sectoral coordination to ensure smooth implementation of environment and climate change policies and regulations. In this regard, critical sectors identified for strengthening include: agriculture, urbanization, infrastructure and land use management, energy, water and sanitation. Specific environment and climate change indicators and targets have been included in the new SSPs, and these will be used in annual mainstreaming guidelines, checklists and assessments.
Additional emphasis will be put on:
(i) Strengthening monitoring and evaluation,
(ii) Environment and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA),
(iii) Biodiversity and ecosystem management,
(iv) Pollution and waste management,
(v) Climate resilience and adaptation.