Rwanda’s economy and the livelihoods of her people are dependent on the environment
and natural resources such as water, land, air, minerals, plants and animals.
These natural resources are increasingly under pressure from unsustainable use resulting in environmental degradation as well as decline in ecosystem goods and services.
The national environmental assets provide opportunities to achieve economic development and make good progress towards Vision 2020, EDPRS and the targets of the Millennium Development Goals. Rwanda’s socioeconomic transformation cannot be realised without primarily addressing environmental challenges.
We cannot afford to lose our natural heritage through environmental degradation.
Our very survival and that of future generations depends on the sustainable use of our
environmental resources. Our challenge, as a country is to utilize natural resources to the benefit of sustainable development. To achieve this objective will require utilization of resources in ways that promote environment and natural resource conservation and improved management of all forms of pollutants, soil erosion, deforestation and general degradation of national resources.
The Government of Rwanda acknowledges these facts and has put in place measures to safeguard our environment while realizing economic growth. These measures include the adoption of a National Environmental Policy followed by the enactment of an organic law determining the modalities of protection, conservation and promotion of environment and the establishment
of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) in April, 2005. All these efforts are focused on overall support for sustainable national development.
This Rwanda’s first comprehensive State of the Environment report provides a baseline environmental data and indicators. The report was adequately informed by national policies and strategies and will in turn support national environmental governance
to the benefit of improved environmental management and envisaged contribution to national social and economic growth and overall human wellbeing. Additionally, the report draws inspiration from and will feed into other regional and global environmental reports such as the African Environmental Outlook (AEO) and the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO).
I am very pleased to present you this state of environment report, first of its kind, which provides information and knowledge on the state of the environment; serves as a guidance document for policy-makers and other stakeholders on how to improve
environmental performance; and establishes the evidence base for monitoring the implementation of environmental priorities in national sustainable development. On behalf of the Government of Rwanda and on my own behalf, I would like to sincerely
acknowledge African Development Bank and United Nations Environment Programme for their support in preparing this report.
I would also like to commend REMA’s team and all experts, national and regional and other partners whose dedication and contribution made this publication possible.
It is my hope that information provided by this report will inspire us in our road towards a wealthy state grounded in sustainability of our national development. I wish you a good reading.
Mr . Vincent Karega
Minister of State in Charge of Environment and Mines, Ministry of Natural Resources