By Justin Kayiranga
The German Minister of Environment, Steffi Lemke, conveyed her satisfactions with the way Rwanda is implementing the Forest Landscape Restoration projects.
The German government is one of the great partners who are supporting Rwanda’s Green initiatives across the country.
Although Minister Lemke was in Rwanda to attend the Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC 2022), accompanied by different officials including the Director General of The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Dr. Bruno Oberle, Rwanda Forest Authority Ag. Director General Spridio Nshimiyimana among others, paid a two-day visit to different parts of Rwanda’s Eastern province, in Kirehe and Gatsibo districts to eyewitness some of the restoration efforts that have been made through the ongoing Alliance for Restoration of Forest Landscapes and Ecosystems in Africa (AREECA) programme and the previous Investment Packages for Rwanda (IPR) project – both funded by the Government of Germany.
Speaking to the media, at the conclusion of the tour, Minister Lemke expressed her satisfaction with the projects’ achievements and emphasized that they should be sustained to preserve the ecosystem.
“To be able to come here and see how nature conservation and afforestation is being done here, it leaves a very good and strong impression on me.” She said,
“The conservation of our ecosystem and our forests is of utmost importance to me and I’m delighted to see with my own eyes that Germany was able to support afforestation projects” Lemke added.
Among the places visited include Nyamugari sector of Kirehe district where the community are engaging in Agroforestry and at Groupe Scolaire Bukora.
She interacted with the school’s environmental Club members who played a big role in planting trees around the school compound.
Musabwa Flora, resident of Kirehe district where AREECA is being implemented, affirms that such green projects are beneficial to them and expects these benefits will continue in the future.
“Because of these planted trees we started to feel changes. Before we couldn’t get fresh air or shelter during the dry season, but now we have no problem as trees are planted everywhere.” She said,
Rwanda Forestry Authority (RFA) states that these projects will bring positive impacts on environmental aspects but also on community welfare through different components.
Nshimiyimana Spridio, the Acting Director General of RFA, said that “Apart from planting agroforestry trees and forests, residents get employed and are generating money while, through AREECA, we are distributing improved cook stoves to help people use less fire woods while cooking.”
Kirehe and Gatsibo Districts officials praise the FLR projects for their role in the district environmental and social welfare action plans.
The IPR project, completed in 2020, was implemented in Gicumbi and Gatsibo districts with a target to afforest more than 18,000 ha.
Expected to end in 2024 and being implemented by the Rwanda Forestry Authority, IUCN, WRI, WB, AUDA-NEPAD, FAO and GIZ, AREECA project targets the restoration of 25,000 ha of degraded lands in Kirehe and Nyagatare districts.