Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator Dr Fode Ndiaye at Third High Level Policy Dialogue on Rwanda’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy

Mwaramutse mwese! Good morning to you all.

First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me in this policy dialogue on Green Growth in Rwanda.

Nyakubahwa Minister, it has been a good practice here in Rwanda as we regularly meet to discuss the level of progress made in the implementation of Rwanda’s Green Growth and Climate Resilient Strategy. One of the key recommendations retained from previous meeting was “Convening half yearly high-level Dialogues”. As we are aware, these are important exchanges to inform sectoral policies & programmes, and reminding each and every one of their responsibilities and role in Rwanda Green Growth Strategy implementation.

It is therefore a great honour and pleasure for me to be here today to make these remarks on behalf of the One UN Rwanda Family. First of all, I would like to express my sincere appreciation and congratulation to the Government of Rwanda, and to Ministry of Environment in particular on the achievements already registered in Green Growth and climate resilience domain but particularly the progress made in the implementation of the strategy since its launch in 2011.

Secondly, we are pleased to note that the coordination framework in the implementation of the strategy was established by assigning focal ministries and persons to each Programme of Action which was designed to address the most key areas of work that are most likely to positively impact on green growth. The focal persons have reported the progress measured against the indicators and targets stipulated in the strategy by completing the monitoring tool developed since the first dialogue in 2016.

The detailed progress that will be discussed here today will no doubt invigorate the implementation and monitoring of the strategy in a consolidated and organized manner as well as promote collaboration among different sectors towards the same goal and vision on low carbon and climate resilient development.

Nyakubahwa Minister, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are being informed by climate scientists that those unpredictable weather events will bring more frequent landslides, destroy crops, homes and infrastructures, and slowly change functions and services that the current ecosystems provide to human well-being. These will also burden the public finances needed to cover the costs generated by these catastrophes and the needs for a sustainable recovery.

Honorable Minister, in the last COP 23, you shared some of Rwanda’s experience in promoting the Circular Economy. This economy is about a regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing material and energy loops.

We have all seen this under the strong leadership of HE Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda: (1) the creation of conducive environment to the principles of the Circular Economy; (2) Rwanda is investing in green and circular growth through FONERWA, the Green Secondary Cities programme and the Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy; (3) banning polythene bags; (4) and others. I agree with you; the whole process has created many opportunities.

Looking into the programme of this Green Economy week that we launch today, I was happy to see a wide range of activities including the launch of Rwanda E-Waste Recycling Facility, Consultation on the National Framework for Climate Services, Learning Tours of good practices and others…

All these efforts re-echoed the important point that climate action is not about sacrificing growth, but rather play our role to ensure that development gains are sustained for generations to come. It is clear that all of us, from different sectors, have responsibilities and role to play.

The high-level policy dialogue being conducted today will no doubt meticulously review the concrete achievements made in recent years by Rwanda towards a green and climate resilient economy and what still remains to be done. In the meantime, it thus suffices to mention a few. In the first instance, we could note that reasonable progress has been made in sensitizing senior central and local Government Officials as well as the wider population to the imperatives for attaining a greener economy and climate resilience.

The evidence is the Rwanda National Strategy for Transformation emphasis on the low carbon growth and SDG. Green villages are being constructed and inhabited in many cases by people relocated from the landslide prone areas and a Green Village Toolkit is being utilized in Government’s upscaling efforts in respect of more climate resilient and green rural settlements in Rwanda.

Complex studies on the costing of the green growth in the water and forestry sub-sectors, energy sector have allowed for quantification of the financial needs for transiting from business as usual approaches to more resource efficient, low-carbon and climate resilient management of natural resources. The Strategic Environmental Assessment for mining sector was recently finalized to inform planning.

Since January 2015, we have noted that the Government has taken more concrete measures to improve air quality, the health and environment of Rwandans by, among other things, enforcing mandatory and more stringent vehicle emissions testing as mandated by the Prime Minister’s Instructions. This aims at preventing air pollution from vehicular emissions and machines using petroleum products. Furthermore, a car free zone is being piloted in Kigali which aims to expand the entire central business district as a part of the master plan for the urban planning to decongest the city and to create space for green environment.

We have also noted with satisfaction that Kigali City is reforming its conventional structure to a more sustainable way by introducing green homes, using renewable energy sources for water heating, street lightening and utilizing low-cost and efficient materials. The pavements of many streets are also being restructured to allow for safer pedestrian, cyclist and green lanes.

Environmental crimes are being more aggressively combated under the leadership of Rwanda National Police. A number of people were arrested in operations against illegal mining since establishment of Environment Unit within RNP in 2015.

Notable progress is also being made in the renewable energy sector. The 8.5MW solar power plant that has been operational since July 2014 has created 350 local jobs and increased the nation’s generation capacity by 6%. The Government has been steadily putting into effect its intention to step up the utilization of abundant water resources from the two major drainage basins of Africa for hydropower development, whose capacity of 57.39 MW before has now been increased to 232 MW, with plans to pull the bar up to 334 MW by this 2017.

The above are but a few of the concrete achievements realized by Rwanda on its path towards green development and transformation and climate resilience. But as H.E. President Paul Kagame never ceases to remind, much still needs to be done and the challenges are increasing in complexity.

UN Rwanda is committed to provide all the technical and financial support it could muster to support the implementation of the national strategies including the NDCs for optimal readiness to leverage funding and ensure effective implementation of the country’s Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy.

Thanks a lot for your kind attention. Murakoze Cyane, Merci Beaucoup!