The City of Kigali has received the Wetland City Accreditation Award. The award was handed to the city authorities during the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP14) that took place in Geneva, Switzerland this week. The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetland sites designated to be of international importance. The COP14 convenes governments, civil society, youth, academia, and media to raise actions to protect and restore wetlands, the most valuable ecosystem for people and for nature. The Wetland City Accreditation scheme encourages cities in close proximity to and dependent on wetlands – especially designated Wetlands of International Importance – to promote the conservation and wise use of urban and peri-urban wetlands, as well as sustainable socio-economic benefits for local people. The initiative also represents a direct link between Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 – “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” – and SDG6 – “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. The achievements that earned Kigali the recognition is the fact that all illegal business activities inside wetlands were evacuated, and that the city has a wetland masterplan for supporting efficient management and utilisation of its wetland system sustainably. Some of the wetland conservation projects that stand out in Kigali include the restoration of the Nyandungu Wetland into a healthy urban wetland eco-tourism park that covers 121.7 hectares in size, including 70 hectares of wetlands and 50 hectares of forests, home to more than 62 local plant species and is home to more than 100 bird species and 17,000 trees made up of 55 indigenous species. It also has a network of paths, bicycle tracks, a service road, bird habitats, a medicinal plant garden, and picnic areas to provide the facilities required by tourists and visitors. As part of Kigali’s Vision 2050, the city is completing the study to rehabilitate 5 wetlands: - Rwampara, Gikondo, Rugenge-Rwintare, Kibumba, and Nyabugogo lower urban wetlands as key priorities due to their critical contribution to effective management of wetlands in Kigali, that cover 491 hectares in total. “As cities grow and demand for land increases, the tendency is to encroach on wetlands, which are often viewed as wasteland,” Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention said. “But urban wetlands are prize land, not wasteland and therefore They should be integrated into the development and management plans of cities,” he added. To date, out of 43 wetlands Accredited Cities in the World only 4 are in Africa namely Ghar el Melh (Tunisia), Mitsinjo (Madagascar), Kigali (Rwanda); Ifrane (Morocco), and Cape Town (South Africa).