URUGWIRO VILLAGE - Conservation International (CI), an American environmental organisation, is set to enter into a partnership with Rwanda which will focus on improving people’s lives through conserving nature.
A delegation from the Arlington-Virginia based non-profit group currently in the country, yesterday paid a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village where they held discussions on the partnership.
Speaking to the press shortly after the talks, Peter Seligmann, the organisation’s CEO and Board Chairman, observed that Rwanda is one of the few countries that have a clearly defined ‘green development’ plan, which compelled the organisation to work with the country.
“Our partnership will focus on supporting human wellbeing by restoring and maintaining ecosystems and nature. People need nature to thrive--that is to have water security, climate security and food security,” Seligmann said.
He noted that the partnership will focus on identifying areas of the environment where Rwandans can benefit from nature through sustainable ‘green planning’ especially in the area of agriculture, focussing on a number of food and cash crops.
Seligmann said that the organisation will work with Rwanda on the already existing ‘green’ programmes the government has already put in place as part of the long term plan to promote environmentally friendly sustainable economic growth.
Following the Copenhagen Climate Change summit, there has been growing international interest to support the emergence of climate resilient economic growth.
It is under this framework that CI came to propose to Rwanda possible ways of contributing towards the country’s long term visionary environment conscious-national development plan.
According to Caroline Kayonga, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Lands, the organisation which works with a number of developed countries and global organisation on environmental issues, chose Rwanda because it has taken the green development path.
“They looked for a country which has already integrated the green concept in its development plans and we were picked out of Africa. In Asia they are working with Singapore,”
“So we have started talks with them to identify a number of areas where they can partner with us, and from there, we will develop a model which other countries can follow,” Kayonga said.
Fisk Johnson, the CEO of S.C Johnson & Sons, Inc, the largest purchaser of Pyrethrum in the world, who is also a Board member of CI, also expressed the company’s interest to increase pyrethrum purchases from Rwanda and also help farmers improve farming methods.
The company which has been working in Rwanda since last year, is also helping farmers in areas where pyrethrum is grown in terms of agriculture extensions service, education as well as medical services.
“This year, we hope to make about two percent of our worldwide purchases of pyrethrum from Rwanda and we want to increase that figure considerably over the next 5 years. We actually launched a product in the US a couple of month ago, based on Rwandan pyrethrum and we are very excited by our presence in Rwanda,” Johnson said.