Rwandans Urged to halt wetlands degradation and contribute to wetlands restoration

Kigali, February 02,2023- Rwanda joins the rest of the world to commemorate World Wetlands Day (WWD) usually celebrated every year with the ultimate aim to raise public awareness about the critical value and the benefits of wetlands ecosystems.

Wetlands are being lost three times faster than forests and Human activities are driving degradation. On account of this, Ramsar Convention selected the theme for this year’s WWD celebrations as “It’s Time for Wetland Restoration”. “Igihe Kirageze, Dusubiranye Ibishanga Byangiritse ”.

The theme is an urgent call for humanity to restore degraded wetlands and ensure that they are conserved, sustainably used in order to achieve our global targets for climate, biodiversity and Sustainable Development Goals. Actually, we have only seven years left before the end of the UN decade of ecosystem restoration, considered amongst the key objectives of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Therefore, time is of essence to stop wetland degradation and ensure their restoration, wise use and sustainable management.

Today, at National level, the celebration of World Wetlands Day is devoted to inspections in the urban wetlands of the City of Kigali to ensure enforcement and compliance with the regulations on wetlands management and wise use, and to call upon people for wetlands restoration.

“Well managed and restored wetlands improve communities’ resilience to climate change and disaster risks that our Country is facing through heavy rain or drought, thanks to wetlands capacity to absorb and release water in due course. I therefore call upon everyone to contribute and play an upper role in preserving, protecting and restoring our wetlands for the common benefit of everyone. Especially I encourage private sector to invest in wetlands rehabilitation and restoration initiatives in our Country.’’ Said Hon. Minister of Environment Jeanne d’Arc MUJAWAMARIYA

“To ensure sustainable use of wetlands: all illegal activities in wetland must be avoided and we ought to work together so that other unsustainable activities operating within wetlands come to an end. Achieving these goals will only be possible with the involvement of all stakeholders. We are working with local government authorities, civil society, private sector, development partners and government agencies and media to ensure the true value of wetlands to our socio-economic development is understood and we act accordingly” she added.

Celebrating the world wetlands day is a good opportunity for Rwanda to build upon the achievements made in environmental conservation and protection especially in the effort of wise use of wetlands and restoration of degraded ones.

A well restored wetland can provide many of the services performed by the original natural wetland including revive biodiversity, replenish and filter water, store carbon, blunt the impact of floods and storms, improve livelihoods, boost eco-tourism and enhance well-being.

Wetland Protection Status

Rwanda has made tremendous progress in wetland restoration. 935 wetlands, covering a total area of 176,337 ha, are classified according to characteristics such as soil type, vegetation, hydrology, and climatic zone. The Prime Minister’s Order number 006/03 of 30/01/2017, which lists all swamp lands, their characteristics, boundaries and determining modalities of their use, development and management .

Furthermore, Rwanda has made substantial progress in wetland management, particularly in the restoration and rehabilitation of degraded wetlands for example: Restoration of Nyandungu Eco park and initiation of wetlands rehabilitation projects in the city of Kigali, to be rehabilitated Rugenge, Rwintare and lower Nyabugogo wetland which will be rehabilitated as part of the already existing project, Rwanda Urban Development Project (RUDPII), relocation of industries, commercial and household infrastructures from wetlands, development of wetland masterplan for Kigali City, among others.

About the Ramsar Convention

"The Ramsar Convention" is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the "wise use", or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories. Rwanda ratified Ramsar convention by Law n° 37/2003 of 29 December 2003.




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