Regional Centre of Excellence opens in Rwanda on International Day of Forests21.03.2016
Rwanda has been selected to host the Regional Forest Landscape Restoration Centre of Excellence for Eastern and Southern Africa. The centre will be operated in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and will be officially inaugurated at a ceremony in Kigali to mark the International Day of Forests on 21 March 2016.
The International Day of Forests is a global celebration of the ways in which forests and trees sustain and protect us. This year, the theme is ‘Forests and Water’ and will focus on how forests are key to the planet’s supply of freshwater, which is essential for life.
“The Regional Forest Landscape Restoration Centre of Excellence demonstrates Rwanda’s continued commitment to the protection and rehabilitation of our forests, as well as to sharing our experience and knowledge with the world. We are proud to host this centre and support global efforts to restore 150 million hectares of degraded & deforested lands by 2020,” said Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta.
Rwanda will celebrate the International Day of Forests by also hosting a policy dialogue. The dialogue will discuss the contribution of forests to the country’s sustainable development and will take place during the launch of the Regional Forest Landscape Restoration Centre of Excellence for Eastern and Southern Africa. The event will be held at the Serena Hotel in Kigali and will bring together more than 100 high-level policymakers and experts from government institutions, regional and international non-government organisations.
Rwanda has committed to restore two million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2020. This commitment was made as part of the Bonn Challenge – a global aspiration to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020. As a result of this commitment, Rwanda became the first African country to pledge achieving a country-wide reversal of natural resources degradation, with a focus on water, soils, forests and biodiversity. This commitment will improve the quality and resilience of ecosystems, improve livelihoods, secure the country's water and energy supply and support low carbon economic development.
In addition to the launch of the centre and policy dialogue, forestry staff will join residents and colleagues in the water sector to plant trees in Muhanga District. This activity is part of World Water Day and ongoing efforts to protect Nyabarongo River from silt and soil erosion through reforestation.
Note to editors
• In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly designated 21 March as the International Day of Forests to create a new platform of raising awareness about the importance of forest ecosystems to sustainable development. More resources about the day are available here.
• The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. Learn more about their work here.
• The Bonn Challenge is a global aspiration to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded lands by 2020. It was launched by world leaders at a ministerial roundtable in Bonn, Germany, in September 2011. Underlying the Bonn Challenge is the forest landscape restoration approach, which aims to restore ecological integrity at the same time as improving human wellbeing through multi-functional landscapes. Learn more about the Bonn Challenge here.
Inauguration of the Regional Forest Landscape Restoration Centre of Excellence for Eastern and Southern Africa in Rwanda and High-Level Policy Dialogue on Forests
• Date: 21 March 2016
• Time: 9am – 2pm
• Location: Serena Hotel, Kigali
Join the conversation
Follow @RwandaResourcesand the #IntlForestsDay hashtag on Twitter and like the ‘Ministry of Natural Resources’ Facebook page to join the conversation about the International Day of Forests celebrations in Rwanda and around the world.
• Josee Umubyeyi, Public Relations & Communications Officer, Ministry of Natural Resources, on +250 788 455 198 or at email@example.com.
• Jean Claude Kayitare, Public Relations and Communications Officer, RNRA on +250 727 000 289 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.