December 9, 2023

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IUCN commends Rwanda’s Commitment to Plant Over 63 Million Trees in 2023/24 Tree Planting Season

For Ms. Kaori Yasuda, the Rwanda Country Representative for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the launch of the forests planting campaign in Bugesera District, located in the Eastern Province of Rwanda, holds great significance.

By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU

Bugesera-Eastern Province, 28 October 2023: As Rwanda launches this year’s Forests Planting season, Jean Claude Musabyimana, the Minister of Local Government in Rwanda, states that selecting Bugesera District as the host of the official launch of the 2023/2024 Forests Planting Season was primarily influenced by the recurring issue of drought in this District, which, in the past, has led to the displacement of people fleeing from the hunger.

Minister Musabyimana emphasized that Rwanda’s commitment to tree planting is extremely crucial in light of the challenges posed by climate change.

He said that “As of now, Rwanda has successfully covered 30.4% of our national territory with forests, which is a significant achievement.”

Jean Claude Musabyimana, the Minister of Local Government in Rwanda

 “We are dedicated to not only protecting and maintaining these forests but also continuously planting more trees. The reason behind this dedication is that trees are often referred to as the lungs of our planet. They play a vital role in providing us with fresh air, controlling erosion, safeguarding our water resources, preventing disasters, ensuring food security, enhancing greening efforts, and beautifying our landscape.”  He explained.

Moreover, Minister Musabyimana adds, “tree conservation also helps in preserving biodiversity and has a substantial impact on our economy.”

For Ms. Kaori Yasuda, the Rwanda Country Representative for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the launch of the forests planting campaign in Bugesera District, located in the Eastern Province of Rwanda, holds great significance.

Ms. Kaori Yasuda, the Rwanda Country Representative for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

She said “First of all, as IUCN, we take this Community work “Umuganda” in local community as a very important and very high respect event because we know that the local communities are game changers in sustainable development, nature-based solutions, sustainable agriculture and agroforestry.”

Ms. Yasuda stated that IUCN prioritizes the community as the focal point of restoration work, adding that “We involve and empower local communities from the early stages of planning, implementation, and evaluation – at every stage.”

“This approach is akin to starting from the grassroots and empowering local communities to be at the heart of restoration work in Rwanda because the future success of restoration work in Rwanda lies in local communities.” She added.

Transforming Eastern Province into resilient Landscape

The launch of the Forest Planting Campaign for the year 2023/24 took place in the Eastern Province especially in the Bugesera District at the time when the IUCN, in collaboration with other local and International partners and the government of Rwanda are currently focusing on the transformation of drought-degraded ecosystems into resilient landscapes through forest landscape restoration in the eastern province.

Ms. Kaori said “This area has suffered from neglect and degradation for a long time.”

“While this ecosystem in eastern province has a huge potential for the fruit baskets for the people of Rwanda to address food security, and also it’s a home to 3 million people, so by forest and landscape restoration in eastern province we want to ensure the benefits for people and nature.” She added.

IUCN and other partners are implementing various projects in the Eastern Province.

IUCN together with Partners such as GIZ, RWARRI, Rwanda Forestry Authority, CIFOR-ICRAF, Enabel, World Vision, Cordaid, Ghent University, Ke Luven University and University of Rwanda are blazing a trail towards a sustainable future, preserving the Eastern Province’s natural wonders and empowering local communities through various projects.

According to Ms. Kaori, “the first one is the TREPA project funded by Green Climate Fund and focuses on forest landscape restoration and involves the community at the center and incorporating sustainable science elements.”

The second one is AREECA, the German-funded large-scale forest and landscape restoration project in Kirahe and Nyagatare District.

“In this project, we highly prioritize the promotion of indigenous native species. This is because indigenous native species offer greater biodiversity and climate advantages to local communities.” Ms. Kaori explained.

He added that “The third one, we have a project called COMBIO project and it is funded by Sweden Embassy in Rwanda, and this project serves as a complementary to the TREPA project to strengthen biodiversity benefits by local communities.”

In conclusion, she said “The last one is called the DeSira project, funded by the EU delegation in Rwanda, and this is an action research project on agroforestry.”

Ms. Kaori said.

“By this action research project, we generate knowledge that helps local communities and farmers to adapt to climate change, so they increase crop survival rates and so on. So ultimately we are thinking about increasing the livelihoods, enhancing the livelihoods of local communities and farmers.”
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