Rwanda introduces new Environment and Climate Change Policy

The Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Environment, has introduced a new Environment and Climate Change Policy to better prepare the country for new opportunities and challenges related to the management of our natural environment and the climate crisis. 
The Environment and Climate Change Policy was approved by the Cabinet on 7 June 2019, and is a revised version of a previous policy which was introduced in 2003. The updated policy contains a number of new provisions to better align it with Rwanda’s overarching medium-term National Strategy for Transformation, long-term Vision 2050 as well as multilateral commitments including the EAC Vision 2050, African Union Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol are also considered in the new policy.  
While the previous policy addressed a broad range of topics, climate change was not reflected in the policy objectives and statements. The new policy resolves this challenge by drawing on the latest science and research to guide how climate change should be incorporated into cross government planning. It also provides a framework for the role of international climate finance in the country’s efforts to build a low carbon nation that is resilient to the impacts of a warming planet.
The policy also lays the groundwork for Rwanda to realise opportunities related to best practice environmental management and green growth. The circular economy, which promotes economic growth utilising resources to their full capacity and eliminates waste, is now embedded throughout the document. 
In addition, the new policy will support Rwanda to put environment and climate change at the heart of decision making across the public and private sectors as well as civil society by including these topics in Imihigo (government performance contracts), Itorero (civic education) and general school and university curricula. 
The policy will ensure Rwanda has a clean and healthy environment that is resilient to climate variability and supports a high quality of life for all who call the country home. The implementation of the policy will be guided by the spirit of inclusiveness, economic and ecosystem value, adaptation and cooperation. 
The main policy objectives are:
  • Greening economic transformation 
  • Enhancing functional natural ecosystems and managing biosafety
  • Strengthening meteorological and early warning services
  • Promote climate change adaptation, mitigation and response
  • Improve environmental well-being for Rwandans 
  • Strengthen environment and climate change governance 
  • Promoting green foreign and domestic direct investment and other capital inflows 
Download the new Environment and Climate Change Policy here.