The Minister of State in charge of Mines, Vincent Karega, has called for proper management of natural resources and emphasised the need to address environmental challenges the country is facing.
He was speaking at a validation meeting held at Hotel Novotel yesterday in a meeting which brought together about 100 experts representing various central and local institutions in Rwanda to discuss the first State of the Environment Report (SOER) in Rwanda, due for completion in March.
“The environment is the basis for our economy. That is why we need collective efforts to conserve it,” said Karega.
The report identifies several key environmental issues facing Rwanda such as land degradation, water pollution, biodiversity loss and the threat posed by natural disasters.
The report places particular focus on the role of national and local institutions in sustainable development and therefore the need to address environmental issues and priorities during planning.
The report will be used as a tool for environmental action planning, policy setting and resource allocation by government agencies, non-governmental organisations and research institutions.
Speaking at the meeting, the Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) Dr. Rose Mukankomeje said that the purpose of the report is to provide baseline information on the status and trends of the environment in Rwanda and to highlight critical issues and concerns within various sectors.
“If we want change and improve livelihoods we must all work together, but if we want to achieve Vision 2020 we need to validate the facts. Environmental management is about choices and the best choices can only be made based on accurate information,” said Mukankomeje.
The report will also include scenarios which highlight future environmental trends to inform and facilitate policy-targeted decision making.
The experts, representing national institutions, lead agencies and other major governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, provided input to ensure the quality and accuracy of the report.
The very first SOER in Rwanda was prepared by REMA and has tripartite support from the African Development Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Government of Rwanda.