KIGALI - The unveiling of a government programme which sets out a national policy to fight desertification has been put off until next month, an official in the Ministry of Lands and Environment, has said.
The programme is required by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD, to which Rwanda is a signatory since 1998.
It was supposed to be out in October 2007.
The director of forestry in the Ministry of Lands and Environment who is also UNCCD Focal Point in Rwanda, Claudien Habimana, said experts needed more time to put the final touches to the plan.
He added that the experts are still relating it with the global desertification fight approach before making any possible changes on its final version.
According to UNCCD, a standard National Action Programme must be developed in the framework of a participative approach involving local communities.
It also spells out practical steps and measures to undertake to combat desertification in specific ecosystems.
Christophe Bazivamo, the Minister of Lands and Environment, had earlier on attributed the delay to UNCCD Secretariat’s failure on its promise to provide $80,000 (approx Frw 44m) for the exercise.
This forced the government to foot the bill itself.
“We delayed to put NAP in place in time but they (UNCCD) should realise that our efforts to halt desertification have reached at commendable stage,” Bazivamo said. Among the efforts he pointed out include tree-planting on degraded land and the fight against soil erosion through erection of terraces in hilly areas.
The delay to unveil NAP keeps Rwanda on the list of African countries that have not yet submitted their national documents to the UNCCD secretariat.
Other countries behind schedule include Cameroon, Angola, Somalia, Libya, Ivory Cost and Central Africa.