April 17, 2024

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Top Environmental Projects to Watch in 2024: Rwanda’s Eastern Province’s Landscape Restoration Initiatives

In a significant move towards safeguarding the environment, the Eastern Province has recently given its endorsement to a series of landscape restoration projects. These initiatives are being led by the Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Environment and Development Partners.

Among many initiatives, TOP AFRICA News is going to go through few projects such Transforming Eastern Province through Adaptation ( TREPA project ), Reducing vulnerability to climate change through enhanced community-based biodiversity conservation ( COMBIO project ), Improving resilience of farmers’ livelihoods to climate change through innovative, research proven climate-smart agroforestry and efficient use of tree resources in the Eastern Province and peri-urban areas of Kigali city ( DeSIRA project), and Large-scale Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) in Africa (AREECA project).

All these projects have been and still are playing a pivotal role in shaping the environmental landscapes of Rwanda’s East.

The trees planted in the Eastern Province are the ones that can withstand the impacts of climate change.

TREPA project: With funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and accredited to International Union for Conservation of Nature- IUCN, the project “Transforming Eastern Province through adaptation” (TREPA) aims to achieve a paradigm shift in land management practices in Rwanda’s Eastern Province from landscapes that are degraded, fragile and unable to sustain livelihoods in the face of climate change to restored ecosystems and landscapes through building community resilience to enhance livelihoods, food, and water security of the most vulnerable rural population.

By planting millions of trees across the province, TREPA seeks to restore vital ecosystems, mitigate climate change, and create sustainable habitats for various species.

The project is jointly executed by the Government of Rwanda through the Ministry of Environment represented by Rwanda Forestry Authority (RFA) in collaboration with IUCN, Enabel, CIFOR-ICRAF, World Vision and Cordaid.

The primary objective is for all environmental conservation activities to be significant in transforming the lives of citizens.

So far, TREPA has started restoring 60,000 ha of drought-degraded landscapes into climate resilient ecosystems through reforestation, agroforestry, restoration of pasturelands, and erosion control measures in 7 districts of the Eastern Province of Rwanda, namely Kirehe, Kayonza, Gatsibo, Rwamagana, Nyagatare, Ngoma as well as Bugesera districts.

The project is massively using community-led associations ( women and youth) as part of increasing ownership of local communities in the landscapes of the project.

Some projects in the Eastern Rwanda are targeting Protected areas to conserve their natural beauty and Biodiversity

COMBIO project: With funding support from Swedish Government through SIDA, the COMBIO project, is a joint effort led by the Rwanda’s Ministry of Environment with implementation support from the Rwanda Forestry Authority, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Enabel, the Belgian Development Agency. The project is aligned with TREPA to build synergy impact in the entire Eastern Province.

The project aims to restore and sustain the biodiversity in protected natural forests and establish new biodiversity sanctuaries. It also integrates diverse native species into productive crop lands and forests to enhance the ecosystem’s biodiversity.

It also supports farmers to develop viable nature-based value chains and enterprises and establish community-based payment for ecosystem services to reward farmers for promoting biodiversity and native species on their lands.

The unique and innovative initiative will also mainstream biodiversity conservation in institutional and community development strategies, programmes, and action plans.

DeSIRA project: The DeSIRA project, funded by the European Union, aims to enhance farmers’ livelihoods by generating knowledge through research that will help to scale up agroforestry in Rwanda.

Through this research and knowledge sharing, the five-year project contributes to capacity building in agroforestry that helps reduce pressure on forest resources therefore contributing to the country’s commitment to restoring 2 million hectares by 2030.

The project is being implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature- IUCN and Enabel in collaboration with international research institutions including the International Centre for Research and agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), University of Leuven, University of Ghent, and the University of Rwanda.

This Agroforestry Action-Research project is being implemented mainly through 4 PhD fellowships provided to Rwandan Nationals who are currently undertaking different research in Rwanda. These PhD research fellows are also being seconded by a number of Master students (about 15 to 20) who are also conducting research on sub-themes in collaboration with the 4 PhD fellows and their promoters.

The project also involves national agencies including the Rwanda Forestry Authority (RFA) and Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB).

AREECA project: With financial support from the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), AREECA project is being implemented by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in partnership Rwanda Forestry Authority, GIZ and World Resources Institute (WRI). The project is also being implemented in other countries such as Kenya, Malawi, and Cameroon.

The project has so far contributed to the increased soil productivity

In Rwanda, the project which is a boost to the country’s green growth initiatives is yielding the early benefits at a time when the country is still celebrating the achievement of a 30.4% national forest cover and the self-reported restoration of over 700,000 ha of degraded lands in the previous decade.

The programme builds on past initiatives, such as Investment Packages for Rwanda (IPR), to intensify and scale up restoration efforts in the country.

These landscape restoration projects have garnered significant support and funding from both local and international stakeholders.

With their combined efforts, the Eastern Province is poised to witness a remarkable transformation in its environmental landscape in 2024 and beyond.

As we eagerly await the continuous progress of these projects, it is clear that the Eastern Province’s commitment to environmental preservation will continue to shape its future, ensuring a greener and more sustainable world for generations to come.

All Photos Credit: IUCN Rwanda

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