As part of the Global Landscape Restoration Initiative, ARCOS and Rutsiro district brought together stakeholders in landscape restoration to explore the possibility of scaling up landscape restoration activities within Mukura Forest-Lake Kivu landscape.
The event took place on 20th May 2022 in Rutsiro at Ibigabiro Hotel and served as the opportunity to officially launch a 3-year project termed “Landscape Restoration for Improved Environmental Resilience and Community Livelihoods”.
ARCOS is implementing this project with financial support from One Tree Planted as part of TerraFund for AFR100, a collaborative initiative between Realize Impact and World Resources Institute.
It should be recalled that at the end of the year 2021, specifically on the occasion of launching the new phase for AFR100 (African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative), a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030, ARCOS received a grant to implement the above-mentioned project. This grant was officially announced at the COP26 meeting which took place in Glasgow, UK in November 2021.
In his remarks, the Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs, Etienne Havugimana, commended ARCOS for its remarkable restoration initiatives which go hand in hand with enhancing people’s livelihoods. “The district is very prone to environmental hazards and as a matter of fact, we lost two people due to erosion recently. We are anticipating a continuous collaboration in the implementation of this project which will build resilience to climate change effects.” Said Havugimana.
Dr Sam Kanyamibwa, ARCOS Executive Director, stressed that it is worth restoring the Mukura Forest-Lake Kivu landscape as it is critical for biodiversity hotspot. “The region is not only rich in biodiversity but also it is a regional water tower asset. However, this catchment has been severely exploited a while back.” said Dr Kanyamibwa.
He added that it would be worth commending the government’s effort in restoring this catchment, especially Gishwati-Mukura national park, which has been lately declared as a biosphere reserve. Dr Kanyamibwa recalled that in this decade which is dedicated to ecosystem restoration, the government efforts in landscape restoration need a helping hand from actors now than ever before.
Before the official launch, ARCOS engaged Rutsiro landscape restoration stakeholders in a detailed discussions after the project presentation. These discussions focused on confirming the identified project sites of intervention after authenticating their high need for restoration. This session served as well as a good occasion to collate inputs from stakeholders for a smooth implementation of the project.
The project aims to upscale the restoration interventions on 2,125 ha in the landscapes of Mukura forest- Lake Kivu & Kirehe southern wetland landscapes to build resilience to climate change, enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem services, food security and sustainable community livelihoods.
The epilogue of this meeting was marked by the official launch of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative Project (AFR100) by the Vice Mayor, Etienne Havugimana and promised the district’s collaboration for a successful implementation of this project.