Protecting our environment and addressing climate change is everyone’s responsibility and building a green and resilient nation requires action at both speed and scale. That is why Rwanda has put the environment at the heart of its development agenda for more than two decades.
As 2022 comes to a close, a number of initiatives have been undertaken to strengthen climate resilience, beat plastic pollution, promote conservation, restore degraded ecosystems and develop partnerships to limit average global temperature rises below 1.5 degree Celsius.
Below are highlights of how Rwanda moved further towards a green and climate resilientnation in 2022.
Global Plastics Treaty to End Plastic Pollution by 2040
At the annual United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi in March this year, the world adopted a proposal from Rwanda and Peru to begin the process of creating an international, legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution. This milestone was described as the “biggest green deal since the Paris Agreement.”
To ensure an ambitious and robust treaty is adopted, Rwanda and Norway founded the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution together with Canada, Peru, Germany, Senegal, Georgia, Republic of Korea, UK, Switzerland, Portugal, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Costa Rica, Iceland, Ecuador and France. Today, the coalition has almost 50 members.
The High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution will issue statements and work on essential elements and issues to inform the negotiations in order to develop a landmark treaty by 2024.
Sustainable Energy for All Forum
The Sustainable Energy for All Forum was held in Rwanda from 17-19 May 2022 to discuss how to achieve universal energy access, fight climate change and to reduce global inequalities. The event was organised by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and the Government of Rwanda, this was the first time the event was held in Africa. The global SEforALL Forum is the landmark international gathering on sustainable energy.
Global leaders from government, business, development institutions, civil society and many other organisations as well as youth representatives-built partnerships, shared expertise, and formed important commitments related to energy and climate goals ahead of COP27 in Egypt.
Keeping 1.5 climate Goal Alive at CHOGM2022
“There is a lot Commonwealth Member States can do together to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.“
On the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, leaders from across the Commonwealth committed to working together to address climate change and keep alive the goal of limiting average global temperature rises below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The commitment was made at an event hosted by the Government of Rwanda and the Government of the United Kingdom, together with the COP26 Presidency.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali was the greenest CHOGM ever.
Official Opening of Nyandungu Eco-Park
Nyandungu Eco-Park was transformed from a degraded wetland into an educational and recreational public space in the heart of Rwanda’s capital city. It represents the value of restoring urban ecosystems, and serves as a blueprint for other wetlands in Kigali and across the country.
Nyandungu Eco-Park was officially opened in 2022 by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Rwanda and provides a space for residents and visitors to the city to explore and learn from nature, and is part of Rwanda’s efforts to harness eco-tourism to restore biodiversity and conserve urban wetland ecosystems.
Africa Protected Areas Congress – APAC2022
The IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC), the first-ever Pan-African gathering of leaders, citizens, and interest groups focused on protected areas was held in Rwanda from 18-23 July 2022.
More than 2,000 participants from 52 African countries and beyond came together to address challenges and drive action for Africa’s protected and conserved areas. They discussed the key role of these areas in safeguarding the continent’s iconic wildlife, delivering vital ecosystem services, driving sustainable development and conserving Africa’s cultural heritage and traditions. The participants adopted the Kigali Call to Action.
Forest Planting Season 2022
Each year Rwanda organises the Forest Planting Season from September to November. This year, 36 million trees were planted across the country through a campaign launched at the Kigali Special Economic Zone, Masoro marking the 47th anniversary of National Tree Planting Day. This year, emphasis was given to indigenous and agroforestry tree species for their ability to restore landscapes and promote biodiversity.
In 2022, over 50 tree species were distributed and planted including indigenous and agroforestry tree species. As part of afforestation and forest rehabilitation, more than 92,000 hectares of new forests were planted and degraded forests rehabilitated. This was done as part of efforts to increase and maintain the country’s 30.4% forest coverage and contribute to the Bonn Challenge and AFR100 goals of restoring two million hectares of degraded land.
UN Climate Change Conference – COP27
Rwanda called for greater climate action and shared the country’s green investment opportunities at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) that took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. COP27 was an opportunity for Rwanda to promote Rwanda as an ideal destination for green investment, share the diverse opportunities that exist across Rwanda and highlight Rwanda’s track record in delivering climate action and vision for a carbon neutral future by 2050.
Launch of Ireme Invest
Rwanda launched Ireme Invest, a facility that will promote private-sector investment in Rwanda’s green growth journey. Ireme Invest will support the private sector to access green finance and increase the private sector’s contribution to Rwanda’s response.
The facility will catalyse green and low-carbon private investment with a focus on blended finance and is a partnership from the Rwanda Green Fund and the Development Bank of Rwanda. It was launched by His Excellency the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt in November.
Launch of Rwanda NDC Facility
Funded by the Federal Republic of Germany through the Rwandan-German Climate and Development Partnership, the Rwanda NDC Facility that will invest in climate action led by the public sector. The Facility was launched on the sidelines of COP27 in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt.
Known formally as the NDC Facility, the new funding is available to government institutions working to implement Rwanda’s climate action plan, also known as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. It will be managed by the Rwanda Green Fund.
World Circular Economic Forum 2022 – From Africa to the World
The 6th World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF 2022) was held in Kigali and for the first time in Africa from 6-8 December. Co-organised by the Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Environment, the forum explored pathways to transition toward an inclusive, low-carbon and climate resilient economy while tackling key societal challenges in partnership with African nations and the world at large.
The WCEF2022 discussions, outcomes and key findings showed that Africa can lead the world towards a new, more resilient economy – the circular economy. During the forum, the Kigali Call to Action for a Circular Futurewas endorsed by policy makers, businesses, financial institutions, philanthropies, NGOs, multilaterals, as well as the academia and research community, recognising the important role and opportunities circular economy can play in advancing Africa’s green growth and low carbon pathway. Rwanda also launched its Circular Economy Action Plan during the WCEF2022.
UN Global Biodiversity Conference – COP15
Rwanda participated in the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada and called on nations of the worldto join hands and agree on an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework.
The UN Biodiversity Conference, also known as COP15, convened nations to agree on a new set of goals for nature through the Convention on Biological Diversity post-2020 framework. At COP15 Rwanda joined with nations of the world to adopt a historic agreement to address the loss of biodiversity and restore natural ecosystems.
Rwanda played a leading role by facilitating consultations on resource mobilisation alongside Germany.
Climate, Environment and Natural Resources Sector Digital Solutions
In 2022, digital solutions were developed to make it easier for citizens to access services.
- Digital Land Titles
To make it easier for citizens to undertake land related transactions and achieve paperless service delivery, the National Land Authority launched a pilot for the provision of electronic certificate of land registration, also known as “e-Title”. The new system will eliminate the issuance of physical land title deeds and enable other sectors to rely on digital land certificates to serve citizens in different capabilities.
The implementation of e-Title will accelerate service delivery, reduce the cost associated with the production of titles and address the issue of title loss or damage. The goal is to realise the target of zero trips, and zero paper. Once fully operational, e-Titles will be accessible via the land portal at landinformation.lands.rw.
- Baza (Ask)
Baza was created to engage with and respond to beneficiaries of services provided by the Ministry of Environment and its affiliated agencies. It is a digital channel where citizens and other stakeholders can lodge complaints, ask questions, share information regarding services and projects and receive timely feedback. The system can be accessed via the Web, Android, IOS, SMS, and USSD (*164#). To access Baza, visit bazamoe.environment.gov.rw.
Awards and Recognition
In 2022, the Climate, Environment and Natural Resources Sector and partners received a number of awards and recognition for efforts to build a green and climate resilient nation, including:
- NDC Investment Award given to President Paul Kagame in the category of Presidential Just Transition Champion
- NDC Investment Award for Agriculture NDC Investment Initiative of The Year in the category of Low Carbon Transformation for the Rwandan Tea Processing Sector
- Recognition of the City of Kigali as a Wetland City by the Ramsar Convention
- Hanga Pitch Fest Public Innovation Award Nomination of the Air Quality Monitoring System by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, which connects users to real-time air quality data collected from 23 air quality monitoring stations across the country.
- Hanga Pitch Fest Public Innovation Award Nomination of the Ubutaka App by the National Land Authority, which prevents impersonation and double-selling of property using blockchain, fingerprint, camera, and signature pad technology for land ownership transfer processes.