The Government has called on members of the private sector and civil society organisations to step up their role in protection of the environment.
The call was made on the occasion of the International Water and Forest Day in Kigali, yesterday.
The event brought together the private sector and civil society representatives and other stakeholders to discuss investment opportunities in forestry and water.
Floods, landslides, droughts are among the effects of climate change that negatively affect the environment and halt economic development.
The Government targets 30 per cent national forest cover by 2020. Restoration is expected to contribute to stable supplies of water, increase forest products, and provide recreation and tourism opportunities.
Dr Vincent Biruta, the Minister for Natural Resources, said involvement of all stakeholders is needed to achieve restoration targets.
“Restoration is a development obligation in order to sustain other sectors of the economy such as agribusiness, hydro power production, manufacturing and mining, among others. The private sector is a vital partner in the efforts to achieve the national landscape restoration targets,” he said.
Minister Biruta stressed the need for improved and sustainable management of forests and water resources.
“For instance, more than 80 per cent of Rwandan population still depends on firewood as their primary source of energy. This explains why we need investment in alternative energy. Private sector has the power to save forests and water resources to generate enormous social, economic and ecological benefits,” he said.
Under the national restoration plan, the Eastern Province will be particularly focused on, as is the most affected by climate change due to low forest cover, poor agriculture practices, and low rains, among others.
Agroforestry, tree plantation on roadsides, river banks, and lakes’ offshore will see more than 600,000 hectares in the province reforested by 2020, officials say. New and appropriate species of trees that are resistant to climate change will be planted in the area.