Global Environment Facility Expanded Constituency Workshop for Eastern Africa-Opening Remarks by Minister Biruta

Marriott Hotel, Kigali | 12 February 2019

● Francoise Clottes, Director of Strategy
● and Operations, Global Environment Facility
● Coletha Ruhamya, Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority
● Representatives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat
● Development partners
● Global Environment Facility National Focal Points
● Representatives of government and civil society
● Distinguished guests
● Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning!
I am pleased to be with you today for the Global Environment Facility Expanded Constituency Workshop for Eastern Africa. I would like to extend a warm welcome to our guests who have joined us from abroad, and I hope that you will feel at home here in Rwanda. Murakaza neza, karibu sana. Bienvenue au Rwanda.


Today’s workshop is the result of hard work from a range of partners. We are especially grateful to the Global Environment Facility secretariat for choosing Rwanda to host this important gathering, and to the GEF for its ongoing financial and technical support to ensure its success.


Rwanda is a big believer in the power of regional cooperation and multilateralism to advance shared interests. When it comes to environmental issues, we know that borders and passports are no barrier for the challenges we face. That is why it is an honour for Rwanda to host representatives from 14 countries across Eastern Africa. By working together, and speaking with one voice, we can better advance our common interests.


We are also pleased to welcome representatives from government as well as from civil society and our valued development partners including UNDP and UN Environment.


Let’s use this opportunity to work together to ensure the Global Environment Facility is meeting the needs of the region in a way that is coordinated, impactful and sustainable in the long term.


Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,


We are here today because of the vital work the Global Environment Facility is doing around the globe to improve our natural environment, promote and protect biodiversity and the ozone layer, address climate change and respond to land degradation, and organic pollutants.


In the Eastern Africa region, close to one billion dollars has been invested by the GEF in initiatives covering biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, sustainable forest management, international waters and waste and chemical management.

These investments are having a sustainable impact on communities in the region. We know this from the work of the GEF in Rwanda which has been crucial for restoring degraded landscapes and addressing climate change and biodiversity in communities across the country.


We also express our gratitude to GEF Council Members for adopting a work program of six project concepts with resources close to 46 million US dollars for the Least Developed Countries Fund. These will support the commendable GEF7 impact programs from 2019 to 2022. We must ensure countries in Eastern Africa benefit fully from these programs.


Over the next few days, we have an opportunity to discuss and review new policies and procedures related to the current GEF cycle, encourage and enhance coordination among GEF partners, exchange lessons, knowledge and experience about GEF projects and analyze different aspects of GEF work.

Doing so will increase our understanding of GEF7 strategies and policies and help us to take informed decisions on participation and coordination of these impact programs. This workshop is also an opportunity to promote the integration of global environment concepts into national strategies and policies.

Therefore, I urge all of you to learn from each other’s experiences in engaging with GEF projects. For Rwanda, this workshop presents a great opportunity to learn from your experiences and develop a deeper understanding of how to benefit from any new opportunities.

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,


We hope that over the next few days you will understand the new programming direction and policies of GEF7, which will eventually guide us to identify potential projects in line with GEF’s priorities and our own national development goals.


To conclude, I wish you a fruitful and successful workshop, and an enjoyable stay in
Rwanda.


I hereby declare this Eastern African Expanded Constituency Workshop officially open.


Thank you for your kind attention.