The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) is a public institution under the Ministry of Natural Resources (MINIRENA), responsible for ensuring that issues relating to environment and climate change are integrated in all national development programs. To achieve its objectives, REMA has been working with Government Institutions, private sector and civil society, also supported by development partners.
The Poverty Environment Initiative (PEI) is a global collaborative programme between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment, that supports country-driven efforts to mainstream poverty-environment linkages into national, sectoral and district development plans and budgets. PEI has been supporting REMA and the Government in mainstreaming the Environment – Poverty nexus in national, sectoral and local planning and budgeting since 2005.
The first phase of the PEI in Rwanda, implemented through REMA from 2005 until May 2007, focused on conducting background studies aimed at building the environmental, social and economic rationale for poverty-environment mainstreaming. The second phase (until 2013) aimed at integrating environment into policy formulation, development planning and public sector budgeting at national and local levels. The stated objective of the PEI third phase, which will end by December 2017, is: “Enhanced implementation of development policies, plans and budgets that combine environmental sustainability and poverty reduction to contribute to inclusive and sustainable development goals”.
The following are some of the mainstreaming results have been achieved, developed or supported by PEI and REMA:
- Importance and evidence for mainstreaming of Environment & Climate Change (E&CC) established through different analytical studies;
- Integration of environment into the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS-1, -2 and now also in the Draft EDPRS-3 for 2018 – 2023);
- ENR&CC mainstreamed in the main productive sectors plans
- ENR&CC mainstreamed in the District Development Plans (DDPs);
- Rwanda Environment & Climate Change Fund established (FONERWA);
- Tools developed to assist in E&CC mainstreaming of sector and district plans and budgets (“Budget Statement”, “Mainstreaming Checklists”) and to assess the extent of mainstreaming in Sector and District Plan implementation (“Mainstreaming Assessments”);
- Establishment of Department of Environment Education & Mainstreaming (DEEM) under REMA.
- Developed green village toolkit for mainstreaming E&CC and Poverty eradication elements at the community level
- Mainstreaming in schools through environmental education for sustainable development strategy, establishment of green schools program and the change of schools curriculum to include environment and natural resources aspect.
A consultant’s assessment of the PEI Rwanda activities (2017) concluded that: “The Government of Rwanda has clearly recognised the strong links between poverty and the environment / natural resources and, thanks to the work of PEI and other actors in Rwanda, the principles and objectives of environmental management and sustainable natural resource use have now been largely mainstreamed in public policy and planning, as well as in the programming of Rwanda’s main development partners”.
A recently conducted Mid-Term Review (MTR, 2017) for the EDPRS-2 also concluded that: “Mainstreaming of environment and climate change into sectors strategic plans (SSPs) as well as districts’ development plans (DDPs) has been fully achieved by 2015/16”.
Despite these activities and successes listed above, and the general awareness on E&CC Mainstreaming created in Rwanda, the EDPRS-2 MTR also assessed that “mainstreaming Environment & Climate Change into productive sectors is still low and the budget allocated to the subsector for enhancing mainstreaming is insufficient”, and there is “reluctance of productive sectors and business community to mainstream environmental sustainability principles in their programmes”. And mainstreaming assessments undertaken by REMA determined that for the year 2015/16 a total of 48% of previously determined Environment and Climate Change Key Performance Indicators in 8 sectors were implemented.
It is therefore clear that, based on the lessons learned and above assessments, a more targeted and effective E&CC mainstreaming is needed to better guide and inform the mainstreaming of ENR + CC in Rwanda for the new planning period under the new EDPRS, the National Strategy for Transformation and Prosperity (NSTP), following the aspirations of the new Vision 2050 and the Green Growth and Climate Resilient Strategy (GGCRS). This is likely to focus on the 4 priority areas that have for now been selected for inclusion for E&CC Mainstreaming in the NSTP, as determined by a Concept Note developed by MINIRENA: Sustainable agriculture; Sustainable Urbanisation; Sustainable Industries; and Sustainable Energy.
PEI / REMA is now requesting an experienced international and national consultant to document the experience and Lessons Learned from REMA, PEI and others involved in Mainstreaming E&CC, and to use this as a basis to produce a National E&CC Mainstreaming Strategy, that will be mainly targeted to national, sectoral and local planners and decision-makers, in order to guide the E&CC mainstreaming for the next NSTP planning phase in Rwanda, especially in the agriculture, urbanisation, industries and energy sectors, in order to attain the medium and long-term national sustainable development goals.
This is the current nomenclature in Rwanda, and entails mainstreaming Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change Management with emphasis on its links with and effects on Poverty Reduction, which is the main objective of the EDPRS.