The Ministry of Natural Resources has convened a high-level policy dialogue on the country’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy (GGCRS).
The meeting comes just three days before Rwanda joins the world in signing the historic Paris Agreement on climate change at the United Nations in New York.
It was held in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme to assess the implementation of the GGCRS adopted by the government in 2011 in its commitment to build a green economy and preparing for global warming.
The strategy specified 14 programmes of action and designated implementation responsibility to the relevant sectoral institutions in a mainstreaming frame work with the Ministry of Natural Resources as the coordinating entity.
This is the second time such a dialogue is held, the first one having taken place in July, last year.
It brought together environment and natural resources stakeholders and policy makers from government, development partners, the private sector and non-government organisations who reviewed the progress made by the institutions in implementing the mandated GCCRS programmes of Action, discussed the cost of some of the programs and their investment prospectus as well as finding solutions for issues pertaining to the GGCRS implementation.
Dr Vincent Biruta, the minister for natural resources, said it was time to put intentions into implementations as the nation looks to sign the Paris Agreement later in the week.
“Our deliberation today should therefore include how to expeditiously and effectively transform our climate action plans into a reality so that our green growth and climate resilience is realised. We need to ensure everyone is on board; the government, civil society and the private sector so that the environment is truly at the heart of everything we do as we build a green economy for a future Rwanda,” he said.
The Paris Agreement was adopted by 196 states with the objective of keeping global temperature rises this century below an average of 2 degrees Celsius with an ambition to achieve lower than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels.
Rwanda intends to sign the agreement on 22nd April since it will be open for signature by the Parties to the UN Frame Work Convention on April Friday and will remain open for signature for one year.
Lamin Manneh, the UN resident coordinator, tipped the dialogue as one way of reminding each and every one of their responsibilities and role in Rwanda Green Growth Strategy citing the current environmental disasters that are posing a threat to several countries.
“It is clear that all of us, from different sectors, have responsibilities and role to play.We are now witnessing the devastating results climate change can bring upon us: more frequent natural disasters and unpredictable weather events such as effects of El Nino and La Nina: floods and drought will aggravate livelihoods of the poor Rwandans especially ones living in rural and hilly regions and heavily depending on natural resources for their living,” he said.
“We are being informed by climate scientists that those unpredictable weather events will bring more frequent landslides, destroy crops, homes and infrastructure, and slowly change functions and services that the current ecosystems provide to human well-being. These will also burden the public finances needed to cover the costs generated by these catastrophes and the needs for a sustainable recovery.”
He congratulated to the Government of Rwanda, and MINIRENA in particular, on the achievements already registered in this domain as well as the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of last year’s dialogue.
Among the achievements, he cited the progress in sensitizing senior central and local government officials as well as the wider population to the imperatives for attaining a greener economy and climate resilience.
The establishment of green villages by people relocated from the landslide prone areas, complex studies on the costing of the green growth in the water and forestry sub-sectors and the fact that environmental crimes are being more aggressively combated under the leadership of Rwanda National Police, especially illegal mining.
Manneh added that since January 2015, the UN has noted that the Government of Rwanda has taken more concrete measures to improve air quality, the health and environment of Rwandans by, among others, enforcing mandatory and more stringent vehicle emissions testing as mandated by the Prime Minister’s instructions.
He said much still needed to be done and promised the UN’s support in ensuring the effective implementation of the country’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience strategy.