Contingency plan on desertification underway

The government is working on a national strategic plan to combat desertification and land degradation, a plan that officials say is in its final stages. This was revealed yesterday during a one-day workshop that brought together officials of the Ministry of Natural resources (MINIRENA) and different stakeholders for the final validation of the strategic plan 
HAILED WORK: Stanislas Kamanzi
HAILED WORK: Stanislas Kamanzi

The government is working on a national strategic plan to combat desertification and land degradation, a plan that officials say is in its final stages. 

This was revealed yesterday during a one-day workshop that brought together officials of the Ministry of Natural resources (MINIRENA) and different stakeholders for the final validation of the strategic plan

The 10-year plan is expected to take a whopping $2bn that will come from government and development partners.

Opening the workshop, Minister of Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, hailed the work done in drafting the strategic plan and emphasised its necessity in addressing the emerging global environmental degradation.

“The persistent poverty and food insecurity which come as a result of insufficient productivity, mainly from agriculture sector, originates from poor management of natural resources,” said Kamanzi.

He however added that the government of Rwanda and development partners have embarked on a variety of activities  that include reforestation and encouraging terraces that are designed to restore lost value.

The UNDP country representative, Boubacar Sarr, called for more commitment from all stakeholders saying that financial contribution alone cannot solve the problem.

The plan mainly entails programmes and approaches of reinforcing the actions on natural resources, sustainable use of forests and provides alternative use of energy that will reduce overdependence on forests.

According to Claudien Habimana, of the United Nation Convention to combat Desertification (UNCCD), the strategic plan will also embark on protection of threatened indigenous species, improve on water resources and ensure sustainable mining procedures.

According to officials, Rwanda looses about 40kg of soil per second due to erosion which poses a great danger of turning into a desert if serious measures are not taken in time.

“We are losing a lot, and this is mainly caused by erosion, overgrazing, overexploitation of forests that has caused a deficit of nearly 6m cubic metres every year,” Habimana told The New Times in an interview.

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