Rwanda’s National Forest Policy and law are shortlisted for the 2011 Future Policy Award, which celebrates the most inspiring, innovative and influential forest policies worldwide.
The Award is granted by the World Future Council, an international policy research organization that provides decision makers with effective policy solutions.
According to a statement issued by World Future Council, Rwanda entered the final draws of the award with Bhutan, Gambia, Nepal, Switzerland and USA.
“The three winning policies which contribute best to the conservation and sustainable development of forests for the benefit of current and future generations will be announced on September 21, 2011 at the UN headquarters in New York,” reads the statement.
The announcement will be followed by an awarding ceremony hosted by the World Future Council, the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
One of the key success stories registered by Rwanda include the National Forest Policy, enacted in 2004 and the 2008 law relating to the prohibition of the manufacture, import, use and sale of polythene bags.
“Rwanda’s environment suffered tremendous pressure after the Genocide against the Tutsi and breakdown of law and order in 1994 due to sky-rocketing demand for wood to reconstruct the country. But despite continuing population and land pressures, Rwanda is one of only three countries in Central and Western Africa to achieve a major reversal in the trend of declining forest cover,” reads the statement.
It adds that , “massive reforestation and planting activities that promoted indigenous species and involved the local population were undertaken, and new measures such as agro-forestry and education on forest management were implemented with a variety of ecological, social and economic benefits.”
As a result, Rwanda is on course to reach its goal of increasing forest cover to 30% of total land area by 2020.
“With the Future Policy Award we want to cast a spotlight on policies that lead by example. The aim of the World Future Council is to raise global awareness of visionary policies and speed up policy action in the interests of present and future generations,” said the Director of the World Future Council, Alexandra Wandel, in the statement.
The Future Policy Award celebrates the world’s most exemplary national policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations and that produce practical and tangible results.
This year’s focus is forests since 2011 has been declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations, with the central theme “Forests for People”, to raise awareness of the multiple values of forests and highlight success stories and challenges faced by many of the world’s forests and the people who depend on them.