Rwanda is hosting an international forum to discuss and explore ways of managing wetlands in the face of human needs for development of food and water security.
The forum brings together technical experts from different countries, with an aim of creating new regional and international collaborative initiatives for wetlands management, policy, research and capacity building.
At the opening of the forum, the Minister for Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, said Rwanda has adopted and ratified the Ramsar Convention, and has an obligation to ensure sustainable use of wetlands.
He urged participants to apply the benchmark of the convention and to adopt sustainable practices that catalyse preservation of wetlands.
Rascar Conventional is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the ‘wise use’, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories.
“People should be aware of the importance of wetlands, not for the sake of the law but because of their value, stressing that there is still lack of understanding of the importance of wetlands,” he said.
Kamanzi said the forum would give stakeholders an opportunity to exchange ideas and connect for future initiatives on wetland management and to pave a new direction linking local, regional and global approaches for wetland sustainability.
“It is expected that at the end of this forum new communication strategies, policy briefs, research plans and capacity building for wetlands management will be provided as output,” Kamanzi said.
Rose Mukankomeje, the director-general of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, called for new regional and international collaborative initiatives for wetlands management, policy, research and capacity building in order to overcome challenges and to strive for better resources management.
“This will help us come up with resolutions on the use of wetlands for climate change and adaptation management policies for pre-urban wetlands,” Mukankomeje said.
She said the forum sets out to stimulate a longer lasting and global view for supporting the wise use of wetlands; it will bring together the spectrum of regional and international social, economic and ecological interests that can affect a difference.