Rwanda’s sustainable cities to get boost from global environment facility

Different representatives of Eastern African countries discussing about projects to be funded. / Michel Nkurunziza

Rwanda is set to benefit from part of $4.1 billion from Global Environment Facility (GEF) reserved for promoting green environment and fighting climate change, Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) officials have said.

GEF is a global facility that funds activities geared towards addresses issues of environment and is available to developing countries and those with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements.

The four-year investment cycle known as GEF-7 will help to safeguard the countries’ forests, land, water, climate, and oceans, build green cities, protect threatened wildlife and biodiversity in general, and tackle new environmental threats like marine plastic pollution.

Coletha Ruhamya the Director General of REMA said that once the funds are released, they would help implement a sustainable and green cities development program.

“We are set to receive $7 million (approx. Rwf6bn) financing which we are planning to spend on sustainable cities programme which is one of our priorities. Our national transformation strategy shows actions for green cities development in terms of water resources management, wetlands protection where infrastructures have to be relocated,” he said.

The funding will be more focused on wetlands rehabilitation and supporting people to avoid encroaching on them, she said.

This was announced during the GEF Eastern Africa Constituency Meeting in Kigali on Wednesday bringing together Eastern African countries of Rwanda, Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya, Ethiopia Sudan, Somalia, Comoros, Seychelles, South Sudan, Tanzania, Djibouti, Uganda and Eritrea.

Rwanda has been benefiting from GEF funds in projects related to fighting land degradation, management of waste such as pollutants from electric transformers, fighting climate change, fighting loss of biodiversity and ecosystems, curbing deforestation and flooding and others, she said.

“So far we have 45 projects worth $162.37 million in Rwanda financed by Global Environment Facility and $777.28 million of additional co-financing. We still have gaps in terms of climate financing since the funds are still insufficient. We still need to mobilize more funds,” she said.

According to Susan Matindi Waithaka, the country Relations Officer at Global Environment Facility in Africa, the funds go to programs that have impact on food security.

“These $4.1 billion funds are result from replenishment for the four-year investment and we urge countries to plan for projects that transform lives such as food security. In Rwanda we have been funding projects in biodiversity, land degradation, chemical and waste management and international waters and others,” she said.