Kigali, 04 June, 2021- On this 4 June, Rwanda marked the World Environment Day, the event, which brought together Government institutions, development partners, civil society and the private sector to foster green growth and climate change resilience, restore ecosystems and beat plastic pollution. During this event the Ministry of Environment through Rwanda Environment Management Authority and the Private Sector Federation launched a sustainable Management of PET single-use Plastics Project.
Every year on June 5, the World celebrates the World Environment Day, the day established in 1972 as the principal vehicle through which the United Nations encourages worldwide awareness among people to conserve the environment for a healthy and better future.
This year, Rwanda chose to commemorate World Environment Day jointly with Biodiversity Day 2021, which is normally celebrated on 22nd May because their 2021 themes relate to one another ‘’Ecosystem Restoration” and "We're part of the solution", respectively. Both themes denote human responsibility in reversing biodiversity loss and recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded by anthropogenic actions such as pollution and deforestation, among others.
On what 2021 means for nature as we celebrate World Environment Day, UNDP Rwanda Resident Representative, Maxwell Gomera said:
“If 2020 was the year of the pandemic, then 2021 is the year of courageousness, of progression, of innovation and ambition. It is the year of restoring nature and our relationship with it.” UNDP Rwanda Resident Representative
During the celebration, Minister of Environment, Dr. Jeanne d’ Arc Mujawamariya called up Rwandans to comply with environmental laws.
“I urge all Rwandans to comply with existing laws and regulations by adopting meaningful actions that allow ecosystems to perform their functions and provide goods and services to sustain human life. Therefore, we remind all citizens to stop using illegal plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items, stop harvesting immature forests (imishoro), stop illegal activities in the buffer zone of lakes, rivers and wetlands.”
“Let us join our hands and preserve our natural ecosystems in order to achieve the National Strategy for Transformation (NST-1) and Vision 2050 aspirations.” She added
Ecosystems support all life and include all living things in a given area, as well as their interactions with each other and the non-living environments. Each organism has a role to play and contributes to the health and productivity of the ecosystem as a whole. Humans depend on productive ecosystems to meet their basic needs, but many people’s needs are not being met sustainably. From forests, farmlands, freshwater bodies, mountains, shrub lands, grasslands, savannahs to urban areas, ecosystems are the basis of human prosperity since they are home to the biodiversity and provide shade, recreation and a sense of well-being and support the economy as well as livelihoods of millions of people in Rwanda.
Rwanda has a diversified natural ecosystems ranging from afro-montane in the Northern and Western Provinces to lowland forests, savannah woodlands, savannah grasslands in the Southern and Eastern Provinces. Rwanda is also rich in large numbers of inland fresh water lake and wetland ecosystems. These ecosystems provide a wide range of goods and services but they are under pressure from human activities. The most critical ecosystems include forests, water, wetland ecosystems, among others. Some of these have been converted into agricultural use and settlements. Rwanda through Environment and Climate Change Policy 2018 committed to conserve, preserve, and restore ecosystems and enhance their ecological functioning.