ARCOS launches a new project in Rwanda contributing to the Global Landscape Restoration Initiative

As part of the Global Landscape Restoration Initiative, ARCOS and Rutsiro district brought together stakeholders landscape restoration in Rwanda to explore the possibility of scaling up landscape restoration activities within Mukura Forest-Lake Kivu landscape.

The event took place this 20th May 2022 in Rutsiro at Ibigabiro Hotel and served as the opportunity to officially launch a 3-year project termed “Landscape Restoration for Improved Environmental Resilience and Community Livelihoods”. ARCOS is implementing this project with financial support from One Tree Planted as part of TerraFund for AFR100, a collaboration between Realize Impact, World Resources Institute. 

It should be recalled that, when 2021 was coming down, specifically on the occasion of launching the new phase for AFR100 (African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative), a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030, ARCOS received a grant to implement the mentioned above project. This grant was officially announced at the COP26 meeting which took place in Glasgow, UK in November 2021. 

In his remarks, the Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs, Etienne Havugimana, thanked ARCOS for its remarkable restoration initiatives which are going hand in hand with enhancing people’s livelihoods. “The district is very prone to environmental hazards and as a matter of fact, we lost two people due to erosion recently. We are anticipating a continuous collaboration in the implementation of this project which will build resilience to climate change effects.” Said the Vice Mayor.

Dr Sam Kanyamibwa, ARCOS Executive Director, stressed that it is worth restoring the Mukura Forest-Lake Kivu landscape as it is critical for biodiversity hotspot. “The region is not only rich in biodiversity but also it is a regional water tower asset. However, this catchment has been severely exploited a while back.” said Dr Sam. He added that it would be worth commending the government’s effort in restoring this catchment, especially Gishwati-Mukura national park, which has been lately declared as a biosphere reserve. Dr Sam recapitulated that during this decade dedicated to ecosystem restoration, the government efforts in landscape restoration need a helping hand from actors now than ever before. 

Before the official launch, ARCOS engaged Rutsiro landscape restoration stakeholders in a detailed discussions after the project presentation. These discussions focused on confirming the identified project sites of intervention after authenticating their high need for restoration. This session served as well as a good occasion to collate inputs from stakeholders for a smooth implementation of the project.   

All things considered, this project aims to upscale the restoration interventions on 2,125 ha in the landscapes of Mukura forest- Lake Kivu& Kirehe southern wetland landscapes for building resilience to climate change, enhanced biodiversity and ecosystem services, food security and sustainable community livelihoods.

The epilogue of this meeting was marked by the official launch of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative Project (AFR100) by the Vice Mayor, Etienne Havugimana and promised the district’s collaboration for a successful implementation of this project.