Rwanda celebrates and connects with nature on World Environment Day

Saturday, 27 May 2017 – As the world celebrates the World Environment Day (WED2017), Rwandans are encouraged to cherish the nature and actively contribute to its conservation given the vital role it plays in ensuring a healthy life.

This year’s Environment Day is marked under the theme: “Connecting People to Nature”- a theme that implores everyone to appreciate the beauty and importance of the nature, and take forward the call to protect the Earth that we all share.

“Rwanda recognises the vital role that nature plays within our lives. It is thus our responsibility to cherish, protect and take care of it, experience it and promote actions that ensure a better environment for all of us,” observed Dr Vincent Biruta, the Minister for Natural Resources.

The Government of Rwanda, through policies, laws and regulations, has made environment protection a key priority and a centre of its efforts in the quest to building a green, sustainable development.

Rwanda’s Vision 2020, the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) and the Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy, are some of the key policies and strategies, which highlight the country’s commitment to environment protection and climate resilience.

World Environment Day, celebrated around the world since 1972, is an opportunity to promote environmental stewardship.

“This year’s theme invites us to recognise the importance of nature in our lives. It is a wake-up call to all of us to re-think our relations to our dear earth and how we can better protect it. It further reminds us that our lives are heavily dependent on our environment and that ensuring a healthy nature will guarantee us healthy lives,” said Coletha Ruhamya, the Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).

“It further challenges us to find a way of maximising the benefits from our environment and our resources with harmless actions for today’s and the future generations- and, above all, to be part of efforts to protect it,” Mrs Ruhamya added.

Every year, from the last Saturday of May to 5 June, Rwanda organises the National Environment Week, which concludes with the celebration of the World Environment Day (WED).

Underway nationwide, activities to mark the National Environment week run from 27 May to 5 June 2017. The activities carried out aim to promote and raise awareness on environment-friendly practices. They include:
•    Community Work, ‘Umuganda’
•    Launch of Nyandungu wetland recreation and eco-tourism park project
•    School arts competitions (songs, drawings and poems) on the WED theme
•    Exhibitions of key environment actors and stakeholders
•    Public lectures in Highers Learning Institutions
•    Eco-tourism promotion activities
•    Mass clean ups and greening campaigns

In collaboration with Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS), a regional Environmental and Development Dialogue will be held from 29-30 May 2017 and will focus on “balancing Environment and Development through Environmental and Socio Impact Assessment (ESIA) in the Albertine Rift region”.