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Rwanda Environment Outlook

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.

Rwanda Environment Outlook
Mr . Vincent Karega
Minister of State in Charge of Environment and Mines, Ministry of Natural Resources

Rwanda Environment Outlook

Achievement of national sustainable development goals and effectively supporting poverty reduction initiatives will require Rwanda to integrate environment and natural resources management principles into the national planning for economic development. Environmental assessment and reporting is therefore a key contribution towards the role of environment in development by providing a reliable information base for environmental management and decision making.

This Rwanda’s first comprehensive State of the Environment (SoE) report is produced in fulfillment of article 3 of law No 16/2006 (03/04/2006) that obligates REMA to take stock and conduct comprehensive supervision of the environmental management, in order to prepare a report on the state of environment and natural resources in Rwanda that shall be published every two years.

The development of this state of environment report was characterized by a highly participatory approach from the selection of the themes through drafting of the report and validation of the final product. The broad representation at various fora included participants at the District and Central levels of government, development partners and nongovernmental stakeholders all of whom were intended to guarantee ownership of the report by key national stakeholders.

This report was developed using an Integrated Environmental Assessment and reporting approach. The cause - effect linkages of human and natural actions and their impacts on the environment and human wellbeing in the country were assessed. More pertinently, the links between environmental state-and-trends with policy responses will likely guide decision making in support of sustainable development. In addition, the assessment “looked” into the future using various plausible scenarios to highlight how a range of interlinked actions may enhance or undermine Rwanda’s natural wealth and thus economic growth. This report establishes an authoritative baseline for the realization of Rwanda’s Vision 2020, EDPRS and MDGs. It highlights the role of natural resources in national economic growth. In this regards the report shows how the achievement of EDPRS and MDG may be jeopardized by environmental degradation, especially in water and energy resources, sanitation in the absence of informed decisions and actions.

REMA is extremely indebted to ADB and UNEP for their financial and technical support in the production of this report. Your support not only provided the resources but also contributed to the building of our national capacity in environmental reporting. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to those who pioneered environment management in Rwanda. The support received from the Government of Rwanda leadership in general and the Ministry responsible for environment in particular, since the establishment of REMA has contributed to a great recognition of our country in environmental governance not only in our region but also worldwide.

Information provided by this report is undoubtedly valuable. However, to the real value lies in the potential to take us as individuals and as a nation to actions poised to restore our environment. It is my sincere hope that as we read the report, we will be inspired to support concrete actions towards a Green, Clean, Healthy and Wealthy Rwanda.

Rwanda Environment Outlook
Dr. Rose Mukankomeje
Minister of State in Charge of Environment and Mines, Ministry of Natural Resources

Editorial and Production Team

Technical Coordination and Support

Rwanda Environment Management Authority

Aimée Mpambara
Alex Mulisa
Fabrice Mugabo
Martine k. Muhongayire


Charles Sebukeera
Christopher O. Ambala
Monica Mwove

Strategic Advisory Team - Government of Rwanda

Patricia Hajabakiga – Member of East African Legislative Assembly (former Minister of State in Charge of Lands and Environment)
Caroline Kayonga - Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources
Jean Baptiste Nduwayezu – Chairman Board of Directors, REMA
Rose Mukankomeje – Director General, REMA


Thadée Habiyambere
Justice Mahundaza
Aimée Mpambara
Alex Mulisa
Rhona Nyakurama
Washington O. Ochola
Joseph Opio-Odongo
Paul Ouedraego
Charles Twesigye Bakwatsa
Charles Uramutse
Maximillien Usengumuremyi


Elizabeth Gowa – Principle Editor


Elizabeth Gowa – Principle Editor

Cover design and layout

Audrey Ringler

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