July 15, 2024

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Rwanda Takes Aim at Agricultural Activities as Key Source of Climate Pollutants

The Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) highlighted agricultural activities as a contributor to short-lived climate pollutants during a workshop aimed at implementing the “National Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs) Plan and Methane Roadmap.”

The Deputy Director General of REMA, Mr. Faustin Munyazikwiye, said this on July 2, 2024, the first day of the two-day workshop organized by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with REMA. The workshop is scheduled for July 2–3, 2024.

Short-lived climate pollutants include methane, black carbon, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and tropospheric ozone. During their discussion on the first day of the workshop focusing on the National Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Plan, agriculture was mentioned as a significant contributor.

Mr. Faustin Munyazikwiye highlighted agricultural activities as a significant source of SLCPs and suggested potential measures to mitigate these issues.

He said, “If we talk about methane gas from the rumination (chewing cud) of animals, for example, we can collectively study how we can mitigate it. If we say that certain pollutants are from waste products piled in different places, we can try to manage them and produce electricity, among other benefits, instead of keeping sending methane gas into the atmosphere.”

Additionally, he emphasized the impact of SLCPs despite their short existence. He revealed, “These are SLCPs, but more dangerous than carbon dioxide (CO2) … To better understand this, the global warming potential of methane gas is 21 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. Therefore, this means SLCPs are more dangerous, and thus we must mitigate them.”

Dr Mudakangwa Stephen expects the project to be of great benefits.

Dr. Mudakangwa Stephen, a veterinary medicine lecturer at the University of Rwanda and an employee at the Organization of Agricultural Support Services, praised the project’s potential to mitigate SLCPs.

“The aspects of keeping animals will also be given priority throughout this project. It looks like a pilot, but it will leave enough skills in the country so that the government and environmental conservation institutions can refer to it in the decision-making process. So, this project will have a great impact as long as it is still running,” Dr. Mudakangwa hopes.

Speaking about their participation, Joyeuse Imanishimwe Dukuze, the Senior Program Officer at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), expressed pride in their partnership with REMA and anticipates a successful project to mitigate SLCPs.

“AIMS and REMA have been partnering for many years in different areas related to capacity building, research, and internships. The National Short-Lived Climate Pollutants and Methane Roadmap offers us an opportunity to build a very important policy for the government of Rwanda. This policy will help inform the plan for the government of Rwanda to mitigate climate change. We (AIMS) are pleased to be part of this partnership, and we look forward to the successful implementation of the program,” Dukuze said.

The National Short-Lived Climate Pollutants Plan and Methane Roadmap project was funded by the Clean Air Coalition, which includes 144 countries, including Rwanda.

The main purpose of this project is to support the Government of Rwanda in adopting the Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) framework for short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP) emissions and integrating methane actions into its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) by 2025.

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