The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Joint Efforts Needed to Mitigate Climate Change

Combating climate change effects should be integrated into every ministerial agenda and not left to the Ministry of Natural Resources (Minirena) alone, the Natural Resources minister has said.

Stanislas Kamanzi said floods, landslides and droughts that cause human and economic losses are the key obstacles to Minirena's development effort.

The minister was presenting his ministry's 2013/2014 Budget Estimates and Medium Term Expenditure Plan to the Chamber of Deputies' Standing Committee on Budget and National Patrimony.

"This problem is largely aggravated by the fact that in most sectors, planning is based on responsibilities and not anticipating such problems. This is what we call adaptive measures, or climate change mainstreaming in activities," Kamanzi said.

Apart from economic losses, he said, in the first four months of the year alone, floods and landslides claimed the lives of about 37 people.

Kamanzi said even road construction works cannot continue as done before.

"The cost involved when a road is wrecked by a flood is linked to the fact that the technology used in road construction is not adaptive to changes taking place. These are things we must integrate into our planning."

He said there is a strategy on climate change and low carbon development at national level.

The minister said in ministries that handle features susceptible to climate change, especially energy and transport and agriculture "people must look into how issues are integrated into their respective planning and budgeting."

Hope:

Kamanzi said the National Climate and Environment Fund (Fonerwa), approved recently, has already received £23m (about Rwf22b) in pledges.

The good news, he said, is that the Ministry of Finance is working with Minirena in setting up Fonerwa.

"There are other activities we work together in mainstreaming environment and climate change in institutions. We want this to go beyond the concept and into daily activities because climate change effects are real."

MP Constance Rwaka Mukayuhi, the chairperson of the committee, said: "Climate change is a critical concern that requires difficult changes in people's mindset and it is a problem that we must all work together to find solutions."

Elias Bayingana, the director-general of National Budget in the Ministry of Finance, said a meeting organised by the Ministry of Local Government scheduled for today will be attended by several ministers and it will provide guidelines for various issues, including high-risk zones, relocation, asbestos roofing and fire equipment.

In the 2013/14 draft Budget, Minirena has more than Rwf16.7 billion. If approved, the biggest expenditure will be on environment management and climate change resilience component (Rwf5.1 billion).

Expenditure on terrestrial ecosystems and forestry reserves management is Rwf3.2 billion, with key deliverable being to increase of forest cover through afforestation and reforestation.

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