On 31 May 2021, Rwanda marked the International Day for Biological Diversity. The celebration event was hosted by the Delegation of the European Union to Rwanda in partnership with Ministry of Environment and Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), and attended by different patterns in biodiversity conservation in Rwanda
The International Day for Biological Diversity is normally celebrated on 22nd May with the aim of raising understanding and awareness on biodiversity and its critical importance for human life and development.
Rwanda has chosen to commemorate the Biodiversity Day 2021 in conjunction with National Environment Week (NEW), a week preceding World Environment Day, because theme for the Biodiversity Day which is “We are Part of the Solution for Nature” is in alignment with the World Environment Day’s theme: “Ecosystem Restoration”. They both relate to one another and indeed bring in focus on reshaping relationship with nature.
Opening the celebration event, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Patrick Karera requested everyone to decide to take action. “
We are part of the solution: Let us be part of the solution otherwise we are paving the way to our own extinction. Individually and collectively, nationally and globally we can change the current pathways of destroying biodiversity and release the pressure. Let us be the solution for Mother Nature by bringing transformative change in our everyday activity to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems. Saving the Nature is saving our Life”.
“Being part of the solution is by:
- creating knowledge to understand better the complexity of nature and how to conserve it;
- changing our consumption and production patterns;
- and reducing or stopping economic and financial incentives that are detrimental to biodiversity, involving local communities in conservation and restoration of ecosystems on which they depend”. He added
During the event, Ambassador European Union to Rwanda, Nicola Bellomo, said : "A sustainable and climate-resilience approach strongly linked with biodiversity conservation will be required to underpin progress in agricultural transformation and natural resources protection in Rwanda".
At this occasion, the Director General of REMA, Juliet Kabera has presented biodiversity status in Rwanda, achievements and challenges in biodiversity and ecosystems restoration as well as Rwanda's priorities in biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. She called up partners in biodiversity and ecosystems conservation to be part of the solution
Rwanda has enjoyed strong economic growth in the last two decades, and as in many developing countries, this growth relies on natural resource exploitation. Indeed environmental resources and systems are the basis for socio-economic prosperity and quality of life, they provide goods and services that are essential for food and energy production, industrial and manufacturing development, pollution and disease control and climate regulation to mention but a few.
However, traditional GDP growth doesn’t account for resource depletion and environmental degradation which, in long term, risk to decrease the potential for economic growth and development.
Contribution of environment to the economy at a glance:
• Tourism, which is manly nature-based in Rwanda, is currently the fastest growing sector of the economy and has overtaken coffee as the leading foreign exchange earner for Rwanda. Since 2010, tourism has contributed more than $200 million to the country’s economy up to $404 million in 2019. The number of visitors to national parks increased from twenty four thousands in 2005 to more than one hundred thousands in 2019.
• Much needed electricity to fuel the economy and households is drawn from renewable energy (Hydropower and solar) which makes up 70 % of total energy production.