Rwanda yesterday laun-ched, Man and the Biosphere (MAB), a new modernised environmental conservation programme, aimed at wider protection of the environment and man.
Addressing the press, at Hotel Novotel, Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) Director, Rose Mukankomeje, said that the new programme safeguards a healthy environment and a robust economy in the current world.
She also pointed out that pressure on the environment imposed by development has called for harmony between advancing people’s welfare and sustaining the environment.
“Rwanda has gone a step ahead in creating biosphere reserves as a way of protecting biodiversity,” Mukankomeje noted.
A biosphere reserve is an international conservation designation given by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under its Programme on MAB.
According to the Statutory Framework of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, biosphere reserves are created to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere.
Article 4 of the framework, stipulates that biosphere reserves must encompass a mosaic of ecological systems, and thus consist of combinations of terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems.
During the launch of the MAB programme, the UNESCO Director, of Ecological and Earth Sciences, Natarajan Ishwaran, said that he was in the country to give Rwanda the science of MAB and that the country would find appropriate areas to implement it.
Ishwaran gave the background of MAB saying that it was launched in 1970 and initiated work in fourteen Project areas covering different ecosystem types from mountains to the sea, from rural to urban systems, as well as more social aspects such as environmental perception.
He further said that MAB’s work over the years has concentrated on the development of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).
Normally, MAB contributes to minimising biodiversity loss through the use of ecological and biodiversity sciences in policy and decision making.
It also promotes environmental sustainability through the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and enhances the linkages between cultural and biological diversity.
The launch was attended by several government dignitaries and heads of parastatals and government agencies.