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Editorial: Restoring natural ecological balance is a moral obligation

Tourists enjoy a walk on the canopy in Nyungwe National Park in Rusizi District. According to the Ministry of Environment, Rwanda has reached 30 per cent forest cover target. / Courtesy

Rwanda has reached another milestone in its efforts to preserve and protect the environment: the country has achieved 30 per cent forest cover.

That the feat has been reached ahead of schedule (this was the target under the Vision 2020 national blueprint) is commendable and kudos to all those who have been at the forefront of delivering on this promise.

 

It’s also encouraging that authorities have recently embarked on a new strategy to preserve and further increase the current forest cover, following the launch of the community-based Private Forest Management Units already being piloted in four districts.

 

It is also pleasing to learn that the role of the private sector in environmental conservation and protection (including smallholder players) continues to grow with 30 per cent of public forests now being managed by private operators. The Government says the target is to reach 80 per cent by 2024, which will significantly improve management and protection of forests.

 

Now, improving forest cover is a component of the country’s broader efforts to restore natural ecological balance and protect the environment.

From ban and restrictions on polythene bags and single-use plastics, afforestation and sustainable exploitation, to limitations on carbon emissions, and launch of electric vehicles and motorcycles, Rwanda is one of the countries leading on the climate change front.

These efforts are beyond mere targets, slogans, or even conventions.

It’s a responsibility for us all to limit human-induced degradation of the environment and work towards leaving behind a better world for posterity. It’s a moral obligation for every country and citizen of the world to contribute – in one way or another – to create a world that allows future generations to lead healthy, productive and happy lives.

And there is a whole lot of difference that can be made even at the micro level. Don’t wait to be told what to do. We all have a stake in this because we owe it to future generations.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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