Prime Minister Anatase Murekezi has called for collective conservation efforts in the country and beyond the borders to sustain gains from nature and wildlife.
Murekezi made the remarks, yesterday, while officiating at a forum dubbed, “Conversation on Conservation,” in Kigali.
The forum is part of the activities leading to the gorilla naming ceremony, locally known as Kwita-Izina, due on Saturday. Twenty-four baby gorillas are set to be named.
“This conversation comes at the right time, when we are preparing for Kwita-Izina and at a time when we are seeing benefits of conserving the environment. However, to continue this great [conservation] process requires collective efforts with neighbouring countries as well as public-private partnerships,” he said.
Murekezi reaffirmed government commitment to conservation, saying it has dedicated efforts to the protection of wildlife.
“We have established policies such as Fund for Environmental Conservation and Green Economy, a centre for excellence in biodiversity and natural Resources and improved management of Protected Areas with the involvement of local communities,” Murekezi added.
He said with the progress in conservation efforts, the government has managed to create opportunities in cultural, social and economic sectors.
Murekezi called on the public to put more efforts into conservation, saying it is “our responsibility toward the sustainability of prosperity.”
“Future generations have a right to live in green environments and it’s our responsibility to start now. We also have to keep in mind that tourism is now our highest income earner and that means that it impacts on people’s lives,” he said.
The Prime Minister also informed participants that Parliament has passed a legal framework establishing Gishwati-Mukura National Park and plans to rehabilitate it are firmly underway.
According to Rwanda Development Board’s chief tourism officer Yamina Karitanyi, there are investors who want to construct lodges in the area.
“We hope that by December, lodges for tourists will be in place. We will also commence rehabilitation of the area although this might take a while but we are looking forward to the rehabilitation,” she said.
The Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta, said demarcation of the reserve would start soon and expropriation of people living within the gazetted zone effected after which management of the area would be handed over to Rwanda Development Board.
During a panel discussion headlined by PM Murekezi and renowned researcher Dr Amy Vedder, it was noted that development can go on without destroying conservation.
“We can exploit natural resources without destroying nature. We have to find what is sustainable and go with it.
There’s no need to rush to destroy conservation,” Murekezi said.