The Paris Agreement (which was assented to yesterday) reaffirms our commitment to combat climate change and provides the framework to build the resilient and sustainable future we want, and that our citizens deserve.
It heralds a new era in the global response to a warming planet and sends the clear message that climate change must be addressed now and that it must be addressed by all of us together.
As one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, Rwanda is acutely aware of the challenges that lie ahead. And while the Paris Agreement is a historic step in the right direction, we must not be content with the signing alone. The real work now begins; to ratify and match our commitments with action.
For more than a decade, Rwanda has taken a proactive approach and put the environment and climate change at the heart of all we do. We were the first country to ban plastic bags and commit to nationwide landscape restoration and, every year, Rwandans plant millions of trees to protect our forests, rivers and wetlands.
In addition, our long-term national development plan, Vision 2020, and our Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy will see Rwanda become a developed, climate resilient and low carbon economy by 2050.
A key part of achieving this vision is Rwanda’s Green Fund – a ground-breaking environment and climate change investment fund and the largest of its kind in Africa.
The fund invests in the best public and private projects that have the potential for transformative change and that support Rwanda’s commitment to building a green economy.
The fund has mobilised 100 million dollars to date and is a leading example of the impact that well managed climate financing can have.
I am pleased to announce that the Government of Rwanda will take all necessary steps to ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible. We are ready to play our part.
However, to reach the goals set by the agreement, support to developing nations through increased levels of climate finance and technology transfer must be put in place. This will enable robust action in our countries.
You can count on the commitment and support of Rwanda as we work together to limit global temperature increases to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
We owe this to future generations who deserve to inherit a planet where they too can achieve their dreams and aspirations.
Ms Mushikiwabo is the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Republic of Rwanda.
This article was extracted from her remarks at the ceremony to sign the Paris Declaration on Climate Change by the United Nations General Assembly in New York, yesterday.