|Decentralisation and Environmental Management Project (DEMP)|
|Écrit par Administrator|
|Jeudi, 27 Août 2009 18:13|
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The Decentralization and Environmental Management Project (DEMPII), a five -year project that been implemented by the Government of Rwanda (GoR), through the Rwanda environment Management Authority REMA. The project is funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Decentralization and environmental management project (DEMPII) has been implemented by the Government of Rwanda, through REMA in the Eastern Province in order to replicate best practices achieved in the Western Province such as the rehabilitation of fragile ecosystem such as lakes and rivers.
1. Name of the project: DECENTRALISATION AND ENVIRONNEMENT MANAGEMENT PROJECT PHASE II (DEMP II)
2. Basic information
I. Amount: : 6.023.171 USD
II. Donor Contribution: UNDP
III. Government contribution : 403.000 $ in kind
IV. Date of signature of grant agreement: 13/08/2008
V. Date of effectiveness:01/10/2008
VI. Duration: 5 years.
1. Enabling MINISTERE to effectively implement environmental policies, and support the decentralization and coordination of quality delivery of environmental services in the districts;
2. Strengthen district capacity for environmental management;
3. Supporting sustainable livelihoods initiatives by implementing environment priorities identified in the district
4. project components
Component 1: Strengthening the capacity of REMA to fulfill its mandate
Component 2: Adopting collaborative planning and management of Lake
Kivu watershades and associated riverbanks and MUHAZI lake
and other critical ecosystems developed & operationalised
Component 3: Support to sustainable livelihoods by strengthening community based institutions and structures for natural resources management
Component 4: Project Management Unit
In the aftermath of the civil strife and the genocide that had claimed up to a million people and destroyed the socioeconomic fabric and governance systems, the main challenge of the GoR was to resuscitate public administration systems including restoring security, resettle displaced people, promote good governance and embark on poverty reduction. The first two (i.e. restoring administrative systems including security and resettling refugee returnees, and promoting good participatory government through decentralization and local elections) were largely achieved by 2002. This enabled the GoR to embark on the poverty reduction by elaborating its first poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP 2002-2005). For a country with one of the highest population densities in Sub-Saharan Africa, with fragile ecosystems characterized by steep hills and sharp valleys, with over 80% of the population dependant on subsistence agriculture, poverty reduction was recognized by the GoR and its partners as a big challenge. Indeed, there is recognition among policy makers, academicians and even development partners, that environmental degradation in Rwanda (manifested in high levels of soil erosion, pollution of water bodies, disappearance of forests, wetlands and other critical ecological resources,..) is a major factor both as a cause and as a consequence of poverty. The inextricable link between poverty and environment is evident in Rwanda – by way of increasing degradation of soils, forests and water resources, which had made the population more vulnerable to food and income insecurity, as well as increase susceptibility to water related diseases. Poverty and food insecurity would be difficult to address under the PRSP or any other interventions, if current degradation of the natural resource base (essentially soils, water, forests, wetlands and wildlife) continues unabated. The escalating poverty has, in turn, led to further environmental degradation as people encroached on wetlands, steep hills and semi-arid areas, protected areas and other fragile ecosystems. Therefore environmental protection was recognized as crucial to poverty reduction. This motivated conceptualization of the project.
Environmental protection and sustainable natural resources management is more effectively and efficiently realized by actions at local level where degradation occurs. The Decentralisation policy and strategy, which Rwanda has implemented since 2001, presented a major opportunity to empower the population (who are primarily affected by environmental degradation), local government leaders (who are responsible for planning and management of development programmes) and other local actors, to better and more sustainably manage natural resources. Decentralization has established democratic and people-centred institutional structures and systems for service delivery, including management of natural resources. In particular, it has augmented upward and downward accountability and devolved decision making powers and responsibilities to lower levels. However, since the decentralization process was (and is still) new in Rwanda, the decentralized structures put in place faced enormous capacity challenges to address complex issues like environmental degradation. At the same time, decentralization resulted in change of power relations and roles between the central Government and local governments, with the centre retaining policy formulation, standards setting and technical guidance, regulations and support, while all planning and implementation activities devolved to the local levels (essentially districts, sectors). This also presented serious challenges for capacity building to empower central government authorities to take on their new roles, support and coordinate policy implementation at local levels.
Thus, DEMP was designed to strengthen the capacity for sustainable environmental and natural resources management, at community, district and national level, by building on the opportunities offered by decentralization. The key development objective of DEMP was “to integrate environment with development and promote sustainable livelihoods using decentralization as a delivery mechanism.” The target was to enhance environmental policy, planning and legislative capacity enforcement at national levels, enhance environmental management capacity of districts and lower levels, and empower local communities by initiating pilot local development activities that provide alternative livelihoods while protecting the environmental resources – notably, protecting ecologically fragile ecosystems such as river banks, lake shores and hillsides; and promoting energy-efficient cooking stoves to combat deforestation by reducing the rate of using woody biomass resources.
In general, the rationale of working through decentralization was the near universal recognition that decentralization empowers citizens by giving them opportunity to participate in the management of their own affairs, and drawing from international experience which indicates that local communities are more motivated to protect and sustainably use natural resources if they are directly involved in the planning and decision making process. The rationale here was that communities and their local leaders are more knowledgeable about and have bigger stake in the natural resources in their areas, and the demands and pressures on them than higher governmental authorities and other otherwise external stakeholders. Environmental sustainability not only brings direct benefits to individuals and households, but also contributes to revenue base and fiscal power that district authorities (and lower decentralized units) desperately need.
It is observed that DEMP is one of the few interventions that attempted to address environmental sustainability through capacity strengthening at all levels in a complementary way.
The overall objective of DEMP is to integrate environment with development and promote sustainable livelihoods using decentralization as a delivery mechanism, with 3 components:
(i) to enabling MINITERE to effectively implement environmental policies, and support the decentralization and coordination of quality delivery of environmental services in the districts;
(ii) to strengthen Strengthening district Capacity for environmental management – to enable districts integrate environmental issues into the development process, through the DDPs (district development plans) and budget process;
(iii) to assist in the implementation of environmental priorities identified in the DDPs by using innovative practices (e.g. improved cooking stoves, soil conservation technologies,..), and building public-private-civil society sectors in integrating conservation and development, targeting communities in/ around protected areas where degradation threatens livelihoods sustainability.
Main project activities and results realized
In the last 2 years of implementation, a number of activities have been undertaken, with very impressive results.
At national level, DEMP has provided technical support (hiring a long term senior technical Advisor) and financial support to REMA which enabled it to develop its own organizational structure, formulate a strategy and operational plan; and to develop management and operational tools. These include the drafting of environmental impact assessment (EIA) guidelines and procedures, training staff in strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and in GIS and GPS applications. Another area where DEMP support to REMA was significant is developing an environmental education and awareness strategy, preparation and dissemination of environmental awareness materials, training modules in environmental management as well as provision of logistical facilities including office computers and a vehicle. The project specifically supported 2 key departments at REMA i.e. EIA and Compliance Monitoring and Environmental Education and Awareness.
At district level, the DEMP support was tailored to empower the districts to effectively analyse, plan, budget for and integrate environmental issues into the district development process. First, all local and opinion leaders were trained in environmental management mainly to increase awareness and understanding of the environmental and related policies and laws. Technical staff (Environment, agricultural and Planning Officers) received training in GIS and GPS applications as well as in SEA. The districts have also been provided with computers and accessories, digital cameras and motorcycles to facilitate collection analysis of environmental data, and monitoring and reporting on environmental issues. The project also assisted to generate environmental information through detailed technical studies and environmental profiling and formulation of specific management plans for the Lake Kivu resources, which are assisting to mainstream environment into district development planning processes, and to better utilise their natural resources. The protection of Lake Kivu shores and river banks goes beyond the riparian communities, as it is in fact the implementation of the national and international environmental law (particularly, articles 85- 87 of the Organic Law on Environment).
Perhaps the most visible results are at community level – where many banks of rivers feeding into Lake Kivu and more than 80 % of the Lake Kivu shores have been protected by planting vegetation around them, and the farmers’ competitions in environmentally sustainable farming practices where winning farmers are given prizes ranging from a dairy cow (heifer) to farm implements. Other activities undertaken at community level which have generated impressive results are: dissemination of improved cooking stoves which have been adopted by more than 97% of the households. These were undertaken with assistance of the Police and Prisons; establishment of school environment clubs in all secondary and primary schools; and introduction of rain-water harvesting and run-off control technologies.
A big aspect of protecting Lake Kivu shores has included displacement and relocation of people living within 50 metre radius of the Lake, and DEMP has been instrumental in mobilising local authorities and raising resources for resettlement. As of June 2007, some Frw 300 million had been realised from 2 key ministries of Infrastructure (MININFRA) and lands and environment (MINITERE). In general, about Frw 1 billion has been or is expected to be spent on community level projects that directly impact the environment and livelihoods, compared to about Frw.400 million on technical studies and 300 million on mobilisation.
Some impacts are already being registered by DEMP
Institutionalisation of REMA which is now firmly in position to undertake its statutory responsibilities of implementing the law and policy on environment; raising awareness among the leadership and population of the western province on environment and sustainable livelihoods; increased technical capacity for environmental assessment; strengthening the link between environmental management and decentralization; inventory of information to facilitate planning for and management of natural resources management. Most importantly, the protection of the Lake Kivu has demonstrated that with concerted efforts and commitment, sustainable management of natural resources even in areas where there are extreme poverty population pressures, can work. There is evidence of reduced pressure on and improved management of ENR where innovative technologies and best practices have been piloted. Coverage of improved stoves (Rondereza) is more than 95%, and many testimonies link this to reduced fuelwood demand.
An synthesis of key lessons learnt, conclusions and recommendations
Observations from the field and the stakeholders show that the most successful innovations in the project implementation are:
ü Simple innovations can deliver great and sustainable results if locally relevant:
ü Sustainable livelihoods can be achieved with cost-effective technologies
ü Targeted use of incentives can help to develop investments for natural resources conservation where the proposed interventions are new or where there is likely to be resistance.
ü Participation of all key stakeholders, particularly beneficiaries is important, however costly or time consuming
ü Thorough preparation and community mobilization is critical as is coordinating multiple interests
ü And, understanding of social relations is important:
ü Local institutions are needed to sustain local actions
ü Capacity building is a process that requires continuous commitment. Also, certain basics must be in place for capacity building to successfully happen.
ü Finally focused, motivated management and interest of local authorities can help overcome barriers in technically complex and politically sensitive projects like DEMP.