Remarks by Rwanda's Minister of Natural Resources at the One For The Climate Conference

Remarks by Vincent Biruta, Minister of Natural Resources

‘One For The Climate’ Conference
30 September 2016, Nyamata

– President of Presbyterian Church in Rwanda
– Bishop of Anglican Church of Rwanda, Shyogwe Diocese
– Representatives of the United Evangelical Mission
– Distinguished guests
– Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning to you all.

It’s a pleasure to be with you for today’s ‘One For The Climate’ conference. I wish to extend a special welcome to those who are visiting Rwanda for the first time. I hope you enjoy your stay in our country.

I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to the Presbyterian and Anglican churches for your leadership on one of the most important and pressing challenges of our time – climate change. The government supports this proactive approach and I encourage all faith-based organisations in Rwanda to follow your lead and join the fight against climate change.

Today we have come together to discuss tangible steps this community can take to reduce Rwanda’s contribution to global warming and support fellow citizens to build sustainable livelihoods. This is a worthy endeavour and I strongly commend your efforts.

For many years, Rwanda has taken a proactive approach to environmental issues. Introduced in 2003, and revised last year, the country’s Constitution states that all Rwandans have a duty to protect, safeguard and promote the environment.

In distributing energy efficient cook stoves and ceramic water filters you are helping to fulfil this responsibility.

In 2011, the Government of Rwanda introduced the Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy that set Rwanda on the path to be a developed, resilient and low carbon economy by 2050.

This policy is supported by a strong institutional framework, which includes Rwanda’s Green Fund, FONERWA – a climate and environment investment fund. FONERWA has raised close to one hundred million dollars and is investing in more than 30 climate resilience initiatives across the country.

We have signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and ratification will happen anytime soon. We signed the agreement because all nations, rich and poor, vulnerable and resilient, high emitting and low emitting, must play their part. And in signing this agreement, Rwanda is ready to play our part.

Hosting the historic meeting on the Montreal Protocol in Kigali next week to discuss an amendment that could avoid up to half a degree in global temperature increases is a golden opportunity to start implementation of the Paris Agreement. We want this amendment to an ambitious one.

Climate change is a challenge that requires collective action. And just as every nation must be part of addressing this challenge, so too must all sectors of the society. In Rwanda, the public sector, private enterprises, civil society and faith-based organisations must join hands.

By working together, there is no way we can’t achieve our common goal: a green Rwanda resilient to the impacts of a warming planet.

This initiative by the Anglican Church and the Presbyterian Church may be the first of its kind, but I hope it won’t be the last.

The Government of Rwanda supports any initiative that addresses climate change through adaptation and mitigation activities. We are ready to provide you with technical advice and help you to mobilise support from partners, in Rwanda and abroad.

I would like to conclude by encouraging everyone to think about what we can do to protect our environment.

We are aware that there must be a collective effort from all regions to fight against climate change. The entire planet must work together.

One of the best ways is to replace charcoal with gas, biogas or efficient cook stoves. It’s a simple decision, but one that has far-reaching impacts for our environment and our families’ health.

Thank you once again for inviting me to be with you today and I hope this initiative will be one replicated by other faith-based organisations.

I wish you fruitful and productive deliberations.

Thank you for your kind attention.