Investors in biodiversity conservation and related areas should be given more incentives because they generate huge revenues for the country, especially via tourism, researchers have said. Eugenia Kayitesi, the executive director of Institute of Policy Analysis (IPAR), said the incentives would attract more firms to invest in biodiversity conservation.
“There are policies on biodiversity conservation, but they are not fully implemented. Besides, we need to sensitise the private sector players to invest in biodiversity conservation initiatives. However, the government should provide them more incentives considering that biodiversity plays a huge role in ensuring sustainability of the tourism sector, a key foreign exchange earner for the country,” she said.
Kayitesi was speaking at sixth annual research conference organised by IPAR in Kigali last week. It was held under the theme, “Secure biodiversity and ensure management of natural resources toward sustainable development” and attracted researchers, private sector players, government officials and civil society groups.
Biodiversity data are scattered
The research by IPAR indicates that there is lack of information, which they say affects conservation efforts and calls for investment in the sector. Researchers and other biodiversity conservation partners said lack of such data could hamper investors and partners who seek to invest in biodiversity conservation. While presenting the study findings, Dr Aime Tsinda, a researcher at IPAR, called for clear, complete, and simple policies on biodiversity data management and use especially eastern Africa, including in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania, to ensure sustainable development in the area of biodiversity conservation.
The research was conducted in sub-Saharan Africa with case studies in Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, DR Congo, Gabon, Botswana, South Africa, Ghana and Ivory Cost.
“We need to avoid overlaps among different institutions and ensure open access to policies and biodiversity data,” Tsinda said.
IPAR added that it is not clear how and where one can get biodiversity data as REMA, RDB conservation department, departments in charge of natural resources in related ministry seem to be doing same role.
Coletha Ruhamya, the director general of Rwanda Management Authority, however, pledged to address the anomaly to ease access to information on biodiversity conservation and related areas. “We will assess ourselves as institutions concerned with biodiversity conservation and streamline our processes so to ease access to this information particularly by investors and other key stakeholders,” said.
Speaking at the event, Fatina Mukarubibi, the Ministry of Natural Resources permanent secretary, said the Cabinet adopted a five-year national biodiversity strategy and action plan in February to help in the implementation of biodiversity conservation-related targets as part of achieving sustainable development.
“We have made progress in biodiversity conservation through different policies such as conserving forests, rivers and lakes that are main habitat for biodiversity and water resources. Therefore, the new biodiversity conservation strategy will guide investment and help protect them because the country gets a lot revenues from tourists who visit our national parks, eco-parks or forests,” she said.
She noted that Rwanda is “fully committed to economic development without depleting natural resources by ensuring proper biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of natural resources”.
“Rwanda recognises linkages between biodiversity, economy and human wellbeing,” she said. According to the ministry, the strategy will also strengthen efforts geared at protecting endangered species and ecosystems across the country.