The Minister of Environment, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, has called for the protection of wetlands from degradation and pollution in order to avoid its impacts on water quality and quantity. She was speaking at a webinar during the World Wetlands Day celebration, on February 2. The day was celebrated under the theme the theme; “Wetlands and Water”. The theme aimed to draw attention to the vital role and value of wetlands in sustaining water resources as wetlands store and clean water, provide protection against floods and help control the climate. “The theme for this year is a wakeup call for humanity that we are in a growing water crisis that threatens all life on our planet. We have to understand and recognise that wetlands, water and life are inseparable because most wetlands are associated with major lakes and rivers,” she said. Despite their critical role to sustain human life and biodiversity, she said, wetlands loss and degradation are increasing at a rate three times greater than that of forests. Thirty-five percent of wetlands have been lost since 1970,” she said. She noted that wetlands conservation is critical for poverty reduction and the green growth targeted by Rwanda in Vision 2050. To ensure wise use of our wetlands, she said, Rwanda has deployed a legal regime, which outlines the list of wetlands and their management as well as the country’s wetland master plan. Rwandas main achievements in wetlands management include restoration and rehabilitation of degraded wetlands for instance Rugezi, Nyandungu wetlands and the relocation of industries, commercial and household infrastructures from wetlands,” she said. Despite the achievements, Minister Mujawamariya said wetlands are still facing pressure, especially uncontrolled use of fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture, soil erosion, peat extraction, illegal mining, illegal infrastructure and pollutants from industrial wastewater discharge. She called for urgent relocation of all illegal activities from wetlands. “There is a need to continue implementing significant actions to allow and enable wetlands to perform their functions and provide ecosystem services to sustain human life. The World Wetlands Day is an opportunity for Rwanda to raise awareness on adopting nature-based solutions to enhance water security. Lets conserve and use wetlands wisely, increase water use efficiency and avoid water pollution,” she added.