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Rwanda´s National Green Economy Baseline

June, 2019

Written by
Ms. Diana Mbabazi
Mr. Frank Rutehenda
Mr.William Mugabo
Mr. Fidele Ruzigandekwe
Mr.Faustin Nsengiyumva

• Overview of Environmental Trends
• Legal Environmental Framework
• Green Economy Policies
• Environmental Fiscal Reform
• Institutional Setup
• Institutional Examples of Cases

Overview Of Environmental Trends

Rwanda is a country that is highly dependent on natural resources for livelihood of its people. According to the the Fifth Integrated Household Living Survey (EICV5), 70% of Rwandan people depend on agriculture. Environment and natural resources management is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment (at a policy level) and implemented through the Ministry’s agencies including Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), The Rwanda Fund (FONERWA), Rwanda Mining board, Rwanda Water Resources Board, Rwanda Forestry Authority and Rwanda Meteorology Agency.

The status of development is well on the right path based on the achievements so far, the sector has already developed a long-term strategy, the Green Growth and Climate Resilience (GGCR) since 2011 with its 14 programs of action-ranging across all the country’s economic and social sectors. In Rwanda, there is environmental policy, Sector strategic plan, Results based monitoring, Green economy investments through the support of FONERWA and environment and climate change mainstreaming strategy already in place. The country’s vision 2050 is based on natural resources and the medium-term strategy (NST1) has one of its priority areas (priority area 7) on green economy.

The country is now in the process of implementing the National Determined contributions (NDC) to implement some of the key recommendations for Paris agreeent. Rwanda has submitted its first voluntary national review (VNR) on the implementation of the SDGs which will also report on environment and climate change related indicators.

In Rwanda, the greenhouse effect being as a result of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorbing energy that is radiated from the Earth’s surface, and so warming the atmosphere, therefore government of Rwanda has published two national GHG (Green House Gases) emissions inventories through the Initial National Communication (INC) submitted in 2005 and Second National Communication (SNC) submitted in 2012. Currently, the Third National Communication (TNC) 2018 has been published and submitted to UNFCCC.

Legal Environmental Framework

Rwanda Government had put in place different institutions to cater for environmental concerns. REMA which was put in place in 2005 was mandated to monitor and oversee the implementation of different policies and strategies from different government institutions, private sector and civil society organizations.

Rwanda has taken a strategic decision to pursue a green growth approach to development guided by GGCRS. The country has recently developed a new policy on Rwanda National Environment and Climate change policy that was approved on 07th June 2019 .

Green Economy Policies

The government of Rwanda in its environmental context has designated to the national, regional and global development commitments (e.g. Vision 2050 aspirations, National Strategy for Transformation (NST1), Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy (GGCRS), Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Agenda 2063, East African Community - EAC Vision 2050, etc.).

Rwanda has enabled provides n the policy framework to tap into opportunities of a green growth led and climate resilient economy e.g GCF. Over the last decades Rwanda has prioritized and made good progress in environmental and natural resources management. This has been reported in different State of Environment Reports (SEORs, 2009 and 2015). Rwanda has developed: Strategic program for climate resilience (SPCR) and Forest Investment Program (FIP).

Though challenges remain, specifically because of high population pressure, the dependency on natural resources for the populations’ livelihoods and the landscape of the country, which makes it highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Rwanda’s sectoral policies

Forestry Policy: recognizes the need to manage forest resources to support the country’s development goals for sustainable, low-carbon and climate resilient growth to improve livelihoods of present and future generations.

National Industrial Policy: stresses that waste produced by industrial processes is harmful to the environment and needs proper management and disposal strategy.

Agriculture Policy: seeks to make agriculture and livestock more productive and at the same time ensure proper utilization of natural resources and sustainability for future generations.

Land Policy: stresses that agroforestry should be part of the agricultural landscape on hills, given its contribution to soil protection

Water Resource Management Policy: considers to manage and develop water resources in an integrated and sustainable manner to secure and provide water of adequate quantity and quality for all social and economic needs of the present and future generations

Biodiversity Policy: considers the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems in Rwanda as an urgent and major task that requires the commitment of significant resources from both national budgets and other sources.

Wildlife Policy: acknowledges that Rwanda’s wildlife protected areas significantly contribute to the production of global public goods and services, such as protection of biodiversity, climate stabilization, carbon sequestration and global waters. It also stresses that any adverse impacts on the ecosystems can dramatically and negatively alter humans’ capacity to survive

Energy Policy: recognizes the need to shift consumption from biomass-based energies to clean energies like electricity and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to reduce pressure on forest resources. It also focuses on renewable energy infrastructure as one strategy to fight global warming through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Sanitation Policy: aims to ensure sustainable, equitable and affordable access to safer sanitation and waste management services for all Rwandans as a contribution to poverty reduction, public health, economic development and environmental protection.

Water Supply Policy: aims to ensure sustainable, equitable, reliable and affordable access to safe drinking water for all Rwandans, as a contribution to improving public health and socio-economic development

Environmental Fiscal Reform

Environment and climate change is embedded in medium term strategies like the NST1 and vision 2050. In addition to this, it is also one of the cross-cutting area among other cross cutting areas (gender, capacity development, HIV Aid and non-communicable diseases etc.). As such it has to be included in the plans and budgets of the government institutions. A checklist with corresponding guidelines which are sector specific have been developed to support all the budget agencies to plan and budget for environment and climate change related issues.

These guidelines include indicators that each sector has to take into consideration during planning and are the basis of discussion during planning consultations. This same trend follows even during budget consultations. Ministry of Finance and economic planning has since 2011 included a statement (guideline) in Budget Call Circular on environment and climate change and has proved to be useful to engage more sectors towards planning and budgeting for the environment /climate change and natural resources.

This is in addition to other programs in different sectors. For example, in agriculture sector, there is a program on climate resiliency and in transport sector there is program in climate resiliency transport. Urbanization is doing the same on green building codes and green spaces, and trade and industry have the program on cleaner production and resource efficiency. All these programs/interventions receive money from the national budget under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN).

Institutional Setup

Green economy is under the mandate of the MoE and its affiliated agencies. However, the Ministry is less cross cutting and it works closely with other sector ministries, agencies and districts. Ministry of environment supports green economy from a policy and strategic orientation. It develops policies, strategies, Ministerial orders and the like for other sectors to implement.

Joint distribution of responsibilities in Ministries & Agencies

REMA, MOE, Mateo Rwanda and FONERWA; these are responsible for Disseminating the policy to the general public with the focus on key stakeholders with in the time frame of 2018-2024

MINECOFIN, MoE, MINALOC, REMA; these are responsible for Mainstreaming low-carbon growth options into the planning and budgeting processes of the national and local governments.

Institutional Examples of Cases

Joint distribution of responsibilities in Ministries & Agencies
MOE, MINECOFIN, REMA, NIRDA, PSF, RSB; All are responsible for developing and enforcing public procurement guidelines to promote the use of environmentally friendly, resource efficient goods and services within the time frame of 2018-2024.

MOE, MINAGRI,REMA; All are responsible for Developing master plan and implementation strategies and sector specific detailed guidelines for wetland management in Rwanda with in the time frame of 2018-2024.

MoE, REMA, MINALOC, MINECOFIN, MoE, RWFA; Promote ecosystems based adaptation (EBA) approaches in local development and climate change actions from 2018-2024.

Rwanda has put in place systems to collect some of these levies, taxes and these are stipulated under the Law for Environment, it is highlighted that, every investor (private or Government) that wishes to start a project/an investment should carry out an EIA study and follow the normal procedures as they appear on the Rwanda Development Board’s website on http://osc.rdb.rw/en/.

Rwanda has integrated and implemented at institutions’ level through policies, programs, Sector Specific Plans, District Development Strategies and Single Action Plans. These are monitored through guidelines and assessment templates that are already in use, but that will be based on the final details, indicators and targets of the priority mainstreamed issues.

MoE has also developed and operationalized a framework for monitoring progress in sectoral implementation into the long term GGCRS and Green Economy priorities of the EDPRS II. MoE convenes High-level Dialogues on Green Growth that brought together the economic cluster Ministers and Development Partner heads every semester from July 2015 to share progress made and to address challenges. This framework will be reviewed with the aim of enhancing its efficiency and effectiveness during of NST1.

At national level cross-cutting issues including Env & climate change and their integration into plans, monitored through the respective Thematic and Sector Working Groups, culminating in the backward and forward looking Joint Sector Reviews, which also includes development partners and financing entities.

There is also water user fees under the Water and lands authority that is charged to whoever use water for various economic activities. Fonerwa also charges fees and fines on non-environmental compliance of different activities across the country. Rwanda has strengthened the low-carbon transport systems (including a review of the tax regime to promote Low-emission through introduction of carbon tax).

In addition, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has also put in place national investment guidelines that request each and every institution to carry out feasibility studies (which include EIAs before a project is funded.

Key links for further reading and information:




Climate Change Adaptation in RWANDA


Third National Communication Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (U.N.F.C.C.C)



Rwanda Green growth and climate resilience strategy

Page Manager: Webbredaktionen|Last update: 5/8/2020

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