IUCN welcomes Rwanda as new State Member
21 April 2011 | News story
The Government of Rwanda has officially announced its decision to join IUCN by endorsing the IUCN Statutes
IUCN has a long history of fruitful collaboration with the Government of Rwanda on conservation issues. Most recently, they have been working on the Rwanda Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, a landmark project aiming to restore the country’s degraded natural ecosystems by 2035. The recovery of these ecosystems will provide numerous services and employment opportunities to improve livelihoods in the country.
“The diversity of Rwanda’s natural resources, its cultural diversity, and its commitment to restore its forests, safeguard its wildlife and boost national development, make us proud to welcome this country as a new State Member of our Union,” said IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre.
“We applaud the nation’s pioneering efforts to address climate change and reverse the loss of its natural capital. If other countries follow Rwanda’s leading example, we could be witnessing the beginning of the largest natural restoration initiative the world has ever seen, bringing us a step closer to realizing our vision of a greener world economy,” Ms Marton-Lefèvre added.
A mountainous country located in Africa’s Great Lakes region, Rwanda borders the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, Uganda to the north, Burundi to the south and Tanzania to the east. Despite its small size (26 338 km2), it is rich in biodiversity, mainly conserved in protected areas - three national parks, natural forests and wetlands. These cover almost 10 per cent of its territory.
Rwanda is situated at the heart of the Albertine Rift eco-region, in the western arm of Africa’s Rift Valley. It is home to 40% of the continent’s mammal species (402 species) and a great diversity of birds (1,061 species), reptiles and amphibians (293 species). Rwanda is recognized as a biodiversity hotspot, hosting more endemic mammals, birds, butterflies, fish and amphibians than any other African country.
IUCN actively supports governments and civil society in the region in various fields of nature conservation, such as the promotion of good governance in natural resources conservation and the provision of small grants in support of projects run by civil society.
“Rwanda is immensely pleased to join IUCN as a State Member,’ said the Minister of Environment and Lands, Honourable Stanislas Kamanzi. ‘Our Government fully subscribes to the Mission and objectives pursued by IUCN, including by fostering human development based on the sustainable management of our environment and our natural resources. We look forward to collaboratively taking this agenda to greater heights, as we stand poised to combine our efforts with other IUCN Members and other like-minded Nations.”
The Government of Rwanda is a signatory to key environmental conventions, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Rwanda is also the first sub-Saharan African country to have signed the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS Protocol).
The Ministry of Environment and Lands has been designated by the Government of Rwanda as its liaison with the IUCN Secretariat.