Rwanda made remarkable achievements in biodiversity conservation from 2016 to 2020 according to the 6th report on the status of implementing the ‘Biological Diversity Convention’. The achievements are highlighted as Rwanda prepares to attend COP 15 -Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China, from October 11 to 24 October 2021. The conference is expected to adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework as a stepping stone towards the 2050 Vision of Living in harmony with nature. The 6th report underscores key achievements from 2016 to 2020 since when the 5th National Report was submitted. The government set 19 national targets aimed at protecting and conserving biodiversity and ecosystems. In the foreword of the report, Dr. Jeanne D’Arc Uwamariya, the Minister for Environment says that Rwanda exceeded projected achievement for one target while 12 targets were on track to be achieved while six targets fell in the ‘insufficient’ category. Rwanda has diverse habitats and ecosystems that range from humid montane forests to savannahs, lakes, rivers and wetlands which support a wide range of biodiversity that have to be protected. The biological diversity includes plants, animals, microorganisms and their ecosystems and they provide benefits such as food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, soil erosion and flood control as well as climate change mitigation. Tracking the 19 targets implementation Out of 19 national targets that were set to protect and conserve biodiversity and ecosystems from 2016 to 2020, one target was on track to be exceeded, 12 targets were on track to be achieved while six targets showed progress but at an insufficient rate. Rwanda was, from 2016 to 2020, on track to achieve the target of raising awareness about the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services and the steps for its sustainable use and conservation. The target number 1 was possible through tools such environments days Kwita Izina” Baby Gorilla naming ceremonies, radio programs about the value of biodiversity in ecosystems such as Akagera national park and campaign on the plight of the Grey crowned cranes held in captivity and the illegality of the activity This campaign led to the release of 166 cranes in the Park and many others kept in a sanctuary (Umusambi Village) which has led to an increase in the population of the cranes in the wild. Rwanda was on track on target 2 to determine the values of Biodiversity and ecosystem service for protected areas. The value of Nyungwe National Park was $4.80 billion in 2014 , total monetary value of Rugezi wetlands was $374.32 million while the economic value of Mukura Landscape was estimated at $1.4 million per according to the studies in 2014. The total value of the Akagera Wetland Complex includes a stock value (carbon storage) of $1.1 billion or Rwf967 trillion and an annual flow value of $11.9 million or Rwf10.6 billion in 2019. The country is one of the Countries that joined the Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystems Services (WAVES), led by the World Bank whose goal is to enhance the mainstreaming of natural capital into development planning and national economic accounting systems. Rwanda committed to adopt Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) practices to track the Total Economic Value of natural capital to the Rwandan economy (GDP) focusing on land, water, forests, wetlands and mining. Government was on track to achieve target 3 about positive incentives for biodiversity conservation. From 2005 to 2018, the Tourism Revenue Sharing scheme provided $5.3 million to 690 community development projects to boost education, health and water infrastructure among others. Income generating activities such as bee keeping have also been promoted around all the protected areas while members of the local communities especially the youth have also been employed as rangers. Rwanda was also on course on achieving target 4 to ensure public and private sectors and civil society organizations have promoted and implemented plans that consider ecological limits. Some of the activities that are being implemented to address this target include Promotion of energy use efficiency in public buildings and at household level in the energy, water and sanitation institutions, Promotion of energy saving cook stoves, biogas and other alternative energy sources that reduce consumption of biomass energy by different stakeholders. They also include capacity building on cleaner production and sustainable consumption and production (SCP) for industries for various sectors, promotion of green and climate resilient villages and green schools (rainwater harvesting systems, biogas, reforestation and agroforestry, sustainable management of soil and water, use of organic manure. The government was also on track to ensure reduced degradation of natural ecosystems such as natural forests and wetlands under target 5. The Government also made a pledge under the Bonn Challenge to restore two million ha of degraded land by the year 2030, for which 35 percent of the target has been achieved. The Key Biodiversity Areas including Volcanoes National Park, Akagera National Park, Cyamudongo Forest, Gishwati Mukura National Park and Gishwati Landscape were some of the beneficiaries in terms of forest restoration). Biodiversity conservation through sustainable management of fishing and aquaculture, agriculture and forestry under the target number 6 that was on track to be achieved. The target saw the evaluation of the fish stocks in Lake Kivu which is informing policies and interventions pertaining to issuance of fishing licenses to companies as well as the regulation of fishing thresholds. In addition, closed fishing periods have been implemented to allow for stock recovery. Re-introduction of native fish populations was carried out as 650,000 fingerlings of Limnothrissa miodon were collected from Lake Kivu and stocked in Burera and Ruhondo lakes to enhance fish production. At least 100,000 Tilapia fingerlings have been stocked in Muhazi Lake to increase production in 2019/2020 which has increased production of Tilapia and catfish species from these lakes. In terms of Sustainable agriculture, there was agroforestry planting as well as construction of terraces and other soil conservation measures in different catchments which also enhanced soil fertility. To ensure sustainable forestry, forest plantations have had a steady increase from 301, 500 ha in 2010 to 387,425 ha by 2019. Forest degradation was remarkably reduced between 2009 and 2019, with analysis indicating a net of 5 percent afforestation rate was achieved. According to the report, there was progress towards achievement of target 7 to reduce harm of pollutants to ensure they are not detrimental to ecosystem function and biodiversity but it was at an insufficient rate The Government passed a new air quality management law 18/2016 governing the preservation of ambient air quality and prevention of related pollution. Standards have also been developed to enhance the regulation of air emissions among other mitigating pollution measures. There was also Progress towards eradicating Invasive alien species but at an insufficient rate under the target 8. The impact of invasive alien species (flowering plants, fish and insects) in natural forests, agro- -ecosystems, lakes and wetland ecosystems in Rwanda were assessed in 2016 in a study commissioned by REMA. These are animals and plants that are introduced accidentally or deliberately into a natural environment where they are not normally found, with serious negative consequences for their new environment. Overall, according to this report, 10 species of plants were highly invasive. Control and eradication of such species have been undertaken in Gishwati forest reserve, Akagera park, and Cohosh wetland. Rwanda had a target number 9 to ensure at least 10.3 percent of national territory holding particular biodiversity and ecosystem services is protected to maintain biological diversity. The target was on track to be achieved as there are four fully protected areas in Rwanda covering 9.13 percent of the Country’s total surface area. The Ministerial Order No006/MINIRENA/2015 of 18/06/2015 determining the management of protected State Forests not governed by special laws was passed and it will in the long term enhance conservation of these forests. With this, the current total area dedicated to biodiversity conservation and sustainable natural resources management is 12,501 km2 equivalent to 47% of the Country’s total land area according to the National Land Use and Development Master Plan of May 2020. In order to prevent Extinction of threatened species such as the Mountain Gorilla, Grey Crowned Cranes, Golden monkey and the Eastern Chimpanzee among others and conserve them under target 10, Rwanda reintroduced a total of 23 black rhinos (18 rhinos in 2017 & 5 rhinos) in 2019 into Akagera National Park after a 10 year absence. The efforts reintroduced 11 lions into the same national park in 2015 and a year later, their population had doubled. . There is also continued increase in the population of the Mountain Gorilla, with Rwanda now hosting half of the existing global population estimated at over 1,004 individuals. This ensured continued growth of tourism where in 2019 alone, a total of $400 million revenues from tourism was realized. Rwanda was on the right track to achieve target number 11 on maintaining genetic diversity of priority cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species. Strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity. However, target 12 achievement progress to minimize potential risks resulting from biotechnology use and placement on the market of its products by 2020 was at insufficient rate. REMA in 2018 embarked on developing a Law governing the use and placement of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) which is pending approval. The objective of this Law is to ensure adequate levels of protection in the safe transfer, handling and use of GMOs resulting from modern biotechnology. This law will also operationalize implementation of the Cartagena Protocol which Rwanda is a signatory. Restoring all ecosystems that provide essential services to human well-being was on right track as planned in target 13. Rwanda has made great strides in protecting and restoring critical ecosystems such as the Nyungwe montane forest, Volcanoes NP, Akagera and Gishwati Mukuru National Park and several other watersheds. Under the target 14, the current status of Rwanda’s forest cover is 724,695 ha (30.4%) of Rwanda’s total land area meaning the target has been exceeded. Rwanda also committed to integrate Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization into national legislation. This target was on track to be achieved as a Ministerial Order was developed and is awaiting approval. Government also seeks to integrate Values of traditional knowledge, cultural heritage and practices, and their customary use of biological resources in the implementation of the Convention. However achievement progress on this target number 17 was at insufficient rate in the reporting period. The study that was undertaken was the assessment of traditional ecological knowledge and beliefs in the utilization of important plants for Buhanga sacred forest (Ikiza et al. 2016). The study indicated that cultural norms/beliefs and values associated with the forest had protected it against exploitation. One cultural practice that has been integrated into conservation is the Kwita Izina (baby naming for Gorillas). There is also an association of traditional healers. The progress target to Improve Knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity, its values, functioning, status and trends, and the consequences of its loss was at insufficient rate. The target number 19 to mobilization of financial resources for an effective implementation of NBSAP was progressing but at an insufficient rate in this period from 2016 to 2020. Over the reporting period, the government managed to mobilize over $100 million through Rwanda’s environment and climate change fund, developing a green city toolkit and roadmap, identification of a pilot site for the Green City Pilot (GCP) as well as mobilizing $ 7 million in resources for the initial pilot.