Opening remarks at the breakfast meeting of Development Partners of ENR Sector

Posted November 19, 2019

Honourable Minister of Environment,
Honourable Ministers/cabinet members,
Director Generals of various institutions here present,
Representatives of sectors and sub-sectors,
Fellow Representatives of Development Partners,
Colleagues from the One UN Family,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
All protocol observed.


A warm welcome to this breakfast meeting of the Development Partners of Environment and Natural Resources Sector. This is a crucial time for the ENR sector and its partners to hold a frank discussion on the work we do together towards improving the livelihoods of the citizens of Rwanda while protecting environment and fighting climate change and its impact.

Let me first express my sincere congratulations to Hon. Minister Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya for her appointment as Minister of Environment. Hon. Minister, it is an honour for me and my fellow Representatives of Development Partners to warmly welcome you to the sector.

 The Environment and Natural Resources is a strategic sector for successful implementation of the Rwanda ambitious development agenda. The sector is committed to ensure that Rwanda becomes a nation that has a clean and healthy environment that is resilient to climate variability and change and that supports a high quality of life for its citizens by 2050. To achieve this goal, we need to continue mainstreaming environment and climate change in every initiative and ideas we develop from policy level to activity level.

Honourable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In collaboration with Development Partners, the government of Rwanda has impressive achievements in terms of socio-economic development and environment and natural resources management. I name the few here:

•    Powerful and innovative decentralization- a process that puts human wellbeing at the heart of the development;

•    Rwanda has put in place effective policies and institutional frameworks that safeguard environment and natural resources and, address climate change issues. For instance, the national environment policy was revised and approved in June 2019 to include climate change considerations; integrate strategic orientations of NST1 and Vision 2050 and; align with global and regional commitments such as SDGs, Agenda 2063, EAC Vision 2050.

Ø  It is delightful to see the progress made in the ENR sector, especially after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to ensure that the country links “green and growth”. From the adoption of the first-ever environment policy in 2003; promulgation of  the Organic Law determining the modalities of protection, conservation and promotion of environment in 2005; promulgation of the  law that determines the organisation, functioning and responsibilities of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) in 2006; the launch of the Green Growth and Climate Resilience strategy in 2011; the operationalization of the National Green Fund (FONERWA) in 2014 and the creation of specialised agencies/departments under the Ministry of Environment.

•    The number of the sector Development Partners and stakeholders has increased, and I would like to especially thank all of you dear Development Partners here present, for your unparalleled contribution to the tremendous results achieved.

•    Remarkable progress has been made in mainstreaming environment and climate change into national, Sectors and District Development Strategies as cross-cutting issues and several policies and laws have been enacted to link different aspects of environmental management and natural resources to development. These include land policy, forestry policy, mine and geology policy, national meteorology policy, legislation governing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and guidelines for Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA), the law governing the preservation of air quality and prevention of air pollution in Rwanda, and the law relating to prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use and sale of polythene bags in Rwanda, among others. Also, biodiversity policy and wildlife policy are being combined to better mainstream biodiversity into development.

Even though much progress has been made, our sector still has a room of improvement that needs our joint efforts towards the achievement of green growth development.

•   We need to improve the coordination of our support to the sector, especially in harmonizing tools we used in mainstreaming of environment and climate change;

•    We need to shift from small and scattered activities/ initiatives to the joint programmes to increase the impact of the implementation of various good policies we have;

•    We need more research-based evidence from local to the national level- this will make our work of encouraging economic development sectors to integrate environment and climate change into their strategies, plans and actions easier;  

 •    Integrated cost-benefit analyses are also necessary to understand the implication of policy implementation on sectors;

•    Strong Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation is indeed still a gap to implement the sector strategies and policies;

•    Strengthening human and financial resources/capacities is still needed to achieve the ambitious and cross-cutting agenda of the ENR sector; 

•    As highlighted in the last joint sector review, mobilization and involvement of the private sector, NGOs, CSOs is still weak.

  • More actions are needed to reduce land degradation, deforestation, dependency on biomass for fuel, water and air pollution, to increase environment friendly transport systems, low-carbon materials for housing, green infrastructure development; and to improve waste management and treatment for solid, liquid, electronic and hazardous waste among others.  

I highly commend the strong leadership of this country and its ambition and positive trajectory toward sustainable development. As Development Partners, we highly appreciate the role of the ENR sector in transforming this country into a green economy, and the speed in implementation of national and international strategies including NST1, GGCRS, SDGs and NDC. Development partners are committed to continue supporting the sector towards achieving its mission. UNDP as a co-chair will continue playing its role to provide technical and financial support to implement the SSP.

As I conclude, I would like to thank the Ministry of Environment and subsectors for providing this platform to share the progress made and to discuss the issues that need joint action. I would like to welcome a frank and open discussion on how we can move forward the agenda of the sector. This will allow us to explore the way we can work better join forces and how we can improve/increase our contribution.

Without taking much of your time, I would like to wish you a fruitful meeting.

Thank you very much.