The protection and management of environment are among the pillars of Vision 2020. The objective of the Government is that by 2020, it will have built a nation in which pressure on natural resources, particularly on land, water, biomass and biodiversity, has significantly been reduced and the process of environmental pollution and degradation has been reversed; a nation in which the management and protection of these resources and environment are more rational and well regulated in order to preserve and bequeath to future generations the basic wealth necessary for sustainable development. The overall objective of the Environment Policy is the improvement of man’s well-being, the judicious utilisation of natural resources and the protection and rational management of ecosystems for sustainable and fair development.In particular, the Policy aims at the following specific objectives: (i) to improve the health and the quality of life for every citizen and promote sustainable socio-economic development through rational management and utilization of resources and environment; (ii) to integrate environmental aspects into all the development policies, in planning and in all activities carried out at the national, provincial and local level, with the full participation of the population; (iii) to conserve, preserve and restore ecosystems and maintain ecological and systems functioning, which are life supports, particularly the conservation of national biological diversity; (iv) optimum utilization of resources and attain a sustainable level of consumption of resources; (v) to create awareness among the public to understand and appreciate the relationship between environment and development; (vi) to ensure the participation of individuals and the community in the activities for the improvement of environment with special attention to women and the youth; (vii) to ensure that the basic needs of today’s population and those of future generations are met.Part 5 deals with the Policy statements and strategic actions. The first strategic actions concern Population and Land-use Management. The national policy in terms of population, land-use management and environment shall be balanced. The actions for this issue are listed as follows: (i) to develop a rational policy for space management in rural areas; (ii) to develop or update master plans and special plans for land-use in urban areas; (iii) to continue with the reorganization process of the scattered human settlements into grouped settlements through the creation of developmental poles equipped with basic infrastructure; (iv) to train, educate, inform and create awareness of the public in population, management of natural resources, environment and family planning.Chapter 2 deals with Natural Resources, such as Land. It shall be ensured that land, which is the major resource of the country, is not degraded and used in an unplanned manner. The strategic actions are: (i) to speed up the adoption of the land policy and law and prepare an action plan for their implementation; (ii) to ensure that land is used rationally; (iii) to prepare a Land Development and Utilization Master Plan; (iv) to ensure the protection and conservation of soils against any form of degradation; (v) to sensitize the population in land policy and regulations.Water is another precious natural resource and it shall be ensured that water is used in the various economic and social sectors without endangering environment. The actions are outlined as follows: (i) to take necessary measures with a view to maintaining the balance of hydro-ecological processes; (ii) to put in place measures for the prevention of the degradation of the environment around water points; (iii) to control the gradual decrease of natural water reservoirs (vegetation forest-marshes cover); (iv) to ensure that developmental projects include prior studies of environmental impact which will highlight the costs and benefits of the protection of watershed and other underlying ecosystems; (v) to promote an integrated approach by governmental and non-governmental agencies involved in the implementation of protection measures of watersheds with a view to reducing erosion, silting, pollution by colluvial deposits, deforestation and other harmful factors; (vi) to control the water hyacinth and other invading plants; (vii) to promote programmes for the harvesting, storage and use of rain water; (viii) to promote regional cooperation in the management and equitable utilization of cross-border waters; (ix) to ensure compliance with the regulations on water quality and waste management.The conservation and management of Wetlands shall be improved. The strategic actions are: (i) to develop a policy and a legislation on the conservation and use of wetlands; (ii) to develop a master plan for the development and conservation of wetlands; (iii) to draw up an inventory and characterize the components of the diversity of wetlands; (iv) monitoring and evaluation of the state of wetlands; (v) to introduce measures for the protection of watersheds with a view to prevent the degradation of marshes; (vi) to determine the marshes to protect and the marshes to use; (vii) to maintain all the marshes as public and private property of the State and entrust their management to the Government,The conservation and management of Forests and Protected Areas shall be improved. The strategic actions are: (i) to promote the conservation of the forestry heritage; (ii) to strengthen programmes for the formulation of forestry development and management plans; (iii) to enhance better utilization and development of forestry products through the promotion of wood processing units by private enterprise; (iv) to use marginal land for the promotion of reforestation programmes with a yew to the protection and conservation of bare hills; (v) to involve the resident population in the rehabilitation, protection and conservation of natural forests; (vi) to study and put in place mechanisms for the prevention and control of bush fires; (vii) to enhance the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems and the restoration of threatened species.The conservation and sustainable utilization of Biodiversity of natural ecosystems and agro-ecosystems in compliance with the equitable share of benefits derived from biological resources shall be improved. Strategic actions are: (i) to make an inventory of endemic native and/or less known species of economic importance; (ii) to conserve in situ and ex situ the native genetic heritage; (iii) to ensure the development of alternatives for the exploitation of biodiversity; (iv) to conserve the genetic diversity of native plant and animal species; (v) to develop mechanisms for the control of imports and the dissemination of genetic materials; (vi) to implement identified action plans for the conservation of biodiversity in the National Strategic Plan on Biodiversity; (vii) to ensure the rehabilitation of sites after mining and quarrying activities.Chapter 3 of Part 5 deals with Socio-economic Sectors, such as Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and aims to promote environment friendly agro-pastoral and fishing methods and techniques. Strategic actions are: (i) to develop environment friendly agricultural production systems; (ii) to reactivate agricultural inputs national programmes with a view to increasing agricultural production while complying with environment; (iii) to create awareness among the population on the impact of agricultural inputs; (iv) to relieve the agricultural sector by the creation of non agricultural employments; (v) to enhance the practice of livestock stabling; (vi) to ensure that animal breeding does not exceed the capacity of grazing land; (vii) to promote environment-oriented irrigation; (viii) to develop off-land animal breeding around towns and along roads; (ix) to regulate the importation of exotic breeds and the movement of domestic animals; (x) to regulate and improve fishing techniques and methods with consideration to environment.The Energy and Mining sector endeavours to increase energy supply while minimizing the negative impact on environment and ensure compliance with the environmental dimension in mining and quarrying activities. Education, Information and Research shall give the country an educational, information, sensitization and environmental research promotion policy. Health and Sanitation shall be included at the centre of environmental issues. Economic Planning is to integrate the environmental dimension in economic planning. Atmosphere, Climate and Disasters tries (i) to take part in the establishment of a framework for early warning and management of natural and/or man-made disasters; (ii) to contribute to the establishment of a policy and legislation aimed at monitoring regularly climatic changes and reduce to the strict minimum substances which pollute the atmosphere. Gender, Youth and Environment shall be mainstreamed in the protection of environment.The text consists of 6 Parts as follows: Introduction (1); Rwanda’s environmental features (2); Environmental problems (3); Principles and objectives of the National Environment Policy (4); Policy statements and strategic actions (5); Policy implementation (6).
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