Climate Change

Global changes in temperature and precipitation and the regional distribution of those changes are the primary drivers affecting climate-related hazards such as floods, landslides and droughts that have struck Rwanda in recent years with devastating effects on the population.

GHG Emission

2,630.11 GgCO2 e in 2018

Mitigation Contribution

Reduction of 38% of GHG emission by 2030

Adaptation Contribution

24 adaptation interventions by 2030

Key Information

Climate Vulnerability

Changes in temperature and precipitation and their distributions are the key drivers of climate and weather-related disasters

Climate Agreement

Rwanda is a member of United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Paris Agreement

Funding Requirement for mitigation option

Estimated at 5.7 billion USD through 2030

Funding Requirement for Adaptation option

Estimated at 5.3 billion USD through 2030

Climate Change Adaptation

Rwanda is heavily dependent upon its natural resources including land, water, and forests. Over two-thirds of the population engage in agriculture, forestry, and tourism for income and food security. However, the impacts of climate change have increasingly undermined the economic gains in recent years. In response to the growing climate change challenges to the economy, Rwanda has put in place a legal, policy and strategic framework to deal with climate change and climate variability induced risks and economic losses through (among other approaches) reducing vulnerability and building resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Rwanda’s adaptation and resilience priorities draw upon the Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy adopted in 2011 with a time horizon of 2050. The key adaptation actions are:

  • Sustainable intensification of agriculture
  • Agriculture diversity in local and export markets
  • Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and planning
  • Integrated Land Use and Management
  • Efficient resilient transport systems
  • Ecotourism, Conservation and Payment of Ecosystem Services
  • Sustainable Forest and Agroforestry
  • Disaster and Diseases prevention
  • Climate data and projections

Climate Change Mitigation

Over the years, it has been proven that climate change is a global challenge requiring an integrated global response along with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Rwanda is committed to taking urgent action to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. As part of UNFCCC, Rwanda has joined the Paris agreement with a goal of limiting temperature rise to 2oC with an effort to reach 1.5oC
compared to pre-industrial levels.

In May 2020, Rwanda has submitted its revised NDC, in which the country has committed a Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of 38 % from the Business As Usual (BAU) levels projected from 2015. The NDC indicated that GHG emissions will more than doubling under the BAU projection from 5.3 MtCO2 e in the base year (2015) to around 12.1 MtCO2 e in 2030. With the domestically supported unconditional mitigation measures, 2030 emissions are
forecast to instead rise to around 10.2 MtCO2 e, representing a reduction against BAU of around 16%. With both domestic and conditional mitigation measures, emissions are forecast to instead total around 7.5 MtCO2 e, equal to a reduction of 38% by 2030 against the same baseline.

  • Along with climate change/ increase of pests and disease vectors for crops, there may be increase of population of disease vectors (e.g. malaria), and more people employed in agriculture may be sick
  • Along with climate change/ increase of diseases for crops, human disease vector increase (e.g. malaria) may affect human health
  • Reduced forest productivity due to drought and extreme climate events (e.g. wind throws, floods and fires) will lead to clearing of more forests to meet demand of forest products
  • The risk of forest fire is expected to increase with increased temperatures and erratic precipitations due to climate change.
  • Water catchments will be affected by rainfall decline
  • Higher rainfall intensity will increase soil loss and nutrient leaching from soil, thus challenging agricultural productivity growth
  • Water stress and long droughts will likely favour some pests and diseases in forests
  • Higher temperature will lead to switch to crops with higher optimum temperature
  • Some forest species may not cope with increased temperatures.

Climate change is a complex, cross-cutting issue combining adaptation, mitigation and environmental concerns with development efforts. This presents a coordination challenge in the need for various ministries, departments, agencies and non-governmental stakeholders to jointly develop programmes and projects.

 Meanwhile, climate change, rapid population growth and urbanization are putting a strain on Rwanda and pose serious risks for the future. Rwanda needs to invest an estimated US$50–300 million per year in adaptation – or more than US$600 million, if social protection and accelerated development are included.

Delivering the climate change mitigation and adaptation actions depends on the availability of funding. Many of the national climate plans, the Nationally Determined Contributions, have goals that are conditional on external funding. Rwanda is in a good position to attract bilateral and international climate finance. Recent successes in securing climate finance from the different climate funds including Adaptation Fund (AF), Least Developed Countries’ Fund (LDCF) and Green Climate Fund (GCF) highlight the opportunities.

Climate Finance refers to local, national or transnational financing—drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing that seeks to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will address climate change. Climate finance is needed for mitigation, because large-scale investments are required to significantly reduce emissions. Climate finance is equally important for adaptation, as significant financial resources are needed to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of a changing climate.

In 2015, REMA was nominated by MINECOFIN to serve as National Designated Authority (NDA) for engagement with the Green Climate Fund. Since then, a lot was achieved including:

  • Establishment of a National Coordination Team (NCT) for engagement with the GCF
  • Development of ToRs determining roles and responsibilities of NCT members
  • Development of a country programme and strategic framework
  • Accreditation of the Ministry of Environment
  • Mobilization of USD 104,9M (as of December 2021)  from the GCF including the readiness supports
  • Nomination of BRD as an accredited entity
  • Etc

Being a NDA, REMA ensures the overall coordination of GCF activities in Rwanda by providing strategic oversight with support of the NCT. REMA is in charge of providing No-Objections for all projects before they are sent to the GCF for funding to ensure those projects/programs are well aligned with country priorities.

REMA is again an operational focal point of the Global Environment Facility in charge of ensuring that Projects to be submitted to the GEF are well aligned with country priorities. So far, more that USD 81M have been mobilized from the GEF for implementing National Projects.

REMA is eager to contribute fully to other major means through which the additional funds could be obtained, inter alia, national budget, dedicated funding from  bilateral and multilateral sources, private sector finance, carbon markets, payment for ecosystem services (PES) among others, funding needs out-way available financial resources.

  • Reduced water availability for irrigation.
  • Increased runoff, nutrient leaching and water loss due to rain variability
  • Reduced yield and production of crops, animal feed and livestock.
  • Reduced rainy days will reduce total water quantity absorbed/ retained by soil
  • Greater rainfall quantity in one rain will likely destroy/damage the existing soil conservation structures, increase erosion, landslide risks and flooding, and reduce quantity of water for rain harvesting structures
  • Increased populations of crop and livestock pests;
  • Increased diseases; - Lower productivity of crops adapted to cool climate;
  • Increased water evaporation from crop foliage and soil
  • Increased destruction of taller crops (e.g. banana, maize) and sometimes trees
  • Reduced water supply,
  • High Competition for use of water
  • Disruption of infrastructure (e.g. water pollution)