19 July 2012

Rwanda: Wetlands to Be Demarcated

The ongoing exercise to demarcate wetlands countrywide will begin in the Western Province before the end of July, Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA) has said.

The Deputy Director General of Land and Mapping at RNRA, Eng. Didier Sagashya, yesterday, told The New Times that the exercise, which began in the three districts of Kigali, is currently at its final stages in the Eastern Province.

"We are remaining with only two districts in the Eastern Province and we shall immediately move on to the Western Province, where we expect a lot of work compared to what we have so far done in other areas," said Sagashya.

The completion of the exercise is expected to confirm the clear boundaries of the wetlands, thereby paving way for people owning land near wetlands to acquire legal ownership.

"Since we shall have the identified boundaries of these wetlands, it will be easy to verify land that is owned by individuals and this will help them to acquire their land titles."

According to the organic law enacted in 2004, all wetlands belong to the government but if proved otherwise, the public can use it strictly for agricultural purposes.

It is also expected that this exercise would correct any form of errors that may have arisen during the 2007 demarcation exercise.

The exercise is being conducted by RNRA in collaboration with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), which will also carry out the quality and confirmation of work carried out.

The Director of Environmental Regulation and Pollution Control at REMA, Remy Norbert Duhuze, said that the exercise would bring about significant changes.

"The 2007 demarcation exercise was only based on environment protection and conservation but did not have decisions on the boundaries of land owned by individuals from the wetlands," he said.

He noted that the exercise would also identify inconsistencies on land previously thought of as part of wetlands and correct them appropriately.

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