April 15, 2024

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Rwanda’s Ministry of Environment and IUCN convened the 16th Cross-sectoral Taskforce Meeting on Forest Landscape Restoration and Sustainable Agriculture

By Emmanuel Mutangana

Under the guidance of Rwanda’s Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources and with the funding from AREECA Project, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Rwanda has convened the 16th Cross-sectoral Task Force (CSTF) meeting in an effort to promote sustainable food agriculture and forest landscape restoration.

Happened at La Pallise Hotel, in Nyamata, Bugesera District in the Eastern Province of Rwanda , the  2 days meeting (17th & 18th August 2023) brought together  stakeholders from various sectors, including government officials, researchers, NGOs, and local communities, to discuss and strategize on how to improve synergies and coordination among them for enhanced  forest landscape restoration and sustainable agriculture in Rwanda.

Officials gracing the 16th CSTF meeting include; the Director General of Rwanda Forestry Authority, Dr. Concorde Nsengumuremyi, Director General of Land, Water and Forestry at the Ministry of Environment, Philippe Kwitonda, the IUCN Rwanda Country Representative, Kaori Yasuda, and GIZ -AREECA, Head of   Knowledge Management, Mr. Mark Schauer.

On the first day, the Director General of the Rwanda Forestry Authority, Dr. Concorde Nsengumuremyi, emphasized on deploying landscape solutions and coordination mechanisms that are geared towards improved ecological and livelihood benefits.

He stated, “We must enhance coordination for forest and landscape restoration, and to realize this, we need to enhance technical capacity at the local level, particularly on forest and agriculture extension in every sector.”

The Director General of Land, Water and Forestry at the Ministry of Environment, on the hand, highlighted the need for a continuous dialogue on Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) and Sustainable Agriculture (SA) through CSTF.

Philippe Kwitonda

In his remarks, Mr. Philippe recognized the importance of CSTF platform, which include; experience and knowledge exchange, avenue for a concerted effort towards national commitment such as Bonn Challenge and Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and tracking of the progress being made towards national and international commitments.

“It is also a platform to share updates in various sectors and evaluate restoration coordination including FLR–related policies in the country”, he said.

For example, he also noted that Forest law has been reviewed to align with the existing policy, which promotes the use of wood for value added products.

“The new law if gazetted will also enhance landscape restoration; promote forest productivity and so on”. He said.

In her welcoming remarks, Ms. Kaori Yasuda, IUCN Rwanda Country Representative thanked the participants for their continued efforts within the forestry and agricultural sector, and for successes realised since the establishment of the platform back in 2015.

Ms. Kaori Yasuda, IUCN Rwanda Country Representative

“Since then (2015), the platform has been holding CSTF meetings biannually to deliberate on key Forest Landscape Restoration and Sustainable Agriculture (SA) issues.” She added. 

Ms. Kaori also noted some of the challenges facing the country (land degradation, climate change, soil productivity as well as food insecurity) and role the CSTF needs to play in addressing them.

Preceding the exchange was the National Policy Dialogue session to diagnose the current policy and institutional frameworks that support Forest Landscape Restoration and Sustainable Agriculture and determine actions toward an enhanced policy, institutional coordination, and synergies in Rwanda.

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