Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) on Wednesday signed an agreement with four districts in the Western Province to revamp two forests in the area through a project dubbed ‘Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation’ (LAFREC).
Through the agreement, REMA established a partnership framework with the districts of Rubavu, Rutsiro, Nyabihu and Ngororero where the project will be implemented.
The agreement, which was signed in Rubavu District, outlines the responsibilities of each institution in order to achieve expected results.
The five-year project, estimated to cost $9.5 million, is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and aims to restore the highly degraded Gishwati-Mukura landscape, boosting land management of the two forests and improving local livelihoods, environment and climate resilience within the area.
This will be achieved by increasing forest cover, restoring indigenous woodland in deforested areas and enhancing the biodiversity of the degraded forest reserves, according to the officials.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the director-general of REMA, Dr Rose Mukankomeje, said establishing relations and partnership with other institutions is a way of ensuring ownership and sustainability of the Project.
“This project can only be successful if we work closely and establish strong relations with other institutions,” said Mukankomeje.
The project will require establishing partnership with key institutions, including the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA), Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Rwanda Meteorological Agency (RMA).
The governor of Western Province, Caritas Mukandasira, observed that the restoration of Mukura and Gishwati forests will result in enhanced biodiversity, proper land management and improvement of livelihoods.
“This carries both economic and environmental benefits for the local communities, the country and the globe,” she said.
Mukandasira pledged total support from all levels of administration to ensure that LAFREC project registers the expected results within its implementation period.
Rutsiro District mayor Gaspard Byukusenge welcomed the project saying; “This is an opportunity for our district and residents and we shall do everything in our capacity to maximize benefits from this project, both for our residents and the country in general.”