Rwanda National Police (RNP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Lands and Forestry, yesterday, to formalise their joint partnership to protect, conserve and develop lands and forestry.
The signing of the agreement between the commissioner for Community Policing in RNP, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Damas Gatare and the Director General for Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority Prime Ngabonziza, on behalf of their respective institutions was held on the sideline of the Police Council in Kigali.
The signing event was overseen by the Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye, Minister Francine Tumushime of Lands and Forestry, and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Emmanuel K. Gasana.
The formal agreement outlines partnership in areas of afforestation, forest management and protection, agroforestry (on farm) tree planting, land management and protection, public awareness and community mobilisation; law enforcement; and soil protection related activities.
The partnership binds the two institutions to plant at least 27, 000 hectares of trees in the next five years – 5, 000 hectares of hilly areas and 22, 000 hectares agroforestry places.
Minister Tumushime said: “This is a step forward to sustainably protect forests and increased production of the forestry sector.”
According to the Minister, deforestation activities are haunting the country direly, with the business community spending billions of money to import forestry products.
She said the partnership will greatly supplement the afforestation efforts in the country.
Under Vision 2020, agroforestry is expected to increase to 85 percent of the cultivated space.
Minister Busingye observed that Rwanda is endowed with natural resources that need to be protected, adding that the agreement should be actionable response to the problem.
RNP through its environmental protection programmes has planted about 500 hectares of trees in different parts of the country.
The RNP Environmental Protection Unit operating under CID has also been instrumental in enforcing environmental protection laws through awareness and operations against deforestation.