12 December 2008

Rwanda: Natural Resource Management Necessary - Mukankomeje

Kigali — The Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Dr Rose Mukankomeje has said that sound management of Rwanda's natural resources is a prerequisite to the achievement of sustainable development.

She was speaking on Tuesday during the opening of a three day workshop at Prime Holdings attended by 40 environmental experts from Rwanda and the region to discuss environmental, economic and social issues related to the soon to be published State of the Environment Report (SOER) in Rwanda.

The State of the Environment in Rwanda is currently being assessed with the aim to improve the understanding of environmental and sustainable development issues and to clarify environmental trends in order to inform future policy decision-making.

Mukankomeje told participants that Rwanda's economy and the livelihoods of her people depend on natural resources such as water, land, air and which are increasingly under pressure from unsustainable use, "which calls for action in terms of environmentally sound economic development and management."

She added that the challenge is to utilise natural resources to develop the economy while at the same time conserving the environment to avoid the adverse impacts of pollution, soil erosion, deforestation and general degradation.

The State of the Environment Report in Rwanda is prepared by REMA in fulfilment of the requirement of the law determining the Organisation, Functioning and Responsibilities of REMA, which compels the country to produce a report after every two years.

The development of the report has a tripartite support from the African Development Bank AfDB), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Government of Rwanda, all under the institutional oversight and execution of REMA.

It (report) highlights various critical environmental issues revolving around 12 thematic areas and according to Mukankomeje the forthcoming report, expected to be published early next year, will identify driving forces that put pressure on our environment and indicate impact of environmental change and give an overview of the increasingly evolving policy and legislative responses Rwanda has put in place towards the mitigation of environmental challenges.

"This report is intended to provide baseline information on the status and condition of the environment in Rwanda and to highlight critical issues and concerns within the various sectors", she said.

She added: "If we want to achieve the objectives of Vision 2020 we need to prepare a report like this and send a message to the planners. Environmental management is about choices and the best choices can only be made on the basis of up to date and reliable information".

The report is prepared using a participatory process involving consultations among national experts, lead agencies and other major governmental and non-governmental stakeholders including the private sector.

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