On December 13, 2018, the JRS Biodiversity Foundation announced a grant award totaling $250,000, to the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS Network) to promote informed decision-making in wetlands management in Rwanda. The grant will support the implementation of a project titled “Using Ecological Integrity Assessment and Advanced Information Management to Guide Wetland Management and Decision-Making in Rwanda” with the overall objective to avail information on Rwanda’s wetland biodiversity and ecological integrity, build the capacity of key players, and provide adequate information management capacity to guide decision-making.
As you may have read in our previous article “Why Rwanda needs adequate wetlands biodiversity information for its green development plan”, ARCOS also received a planning grant from JRS during which partnerships have been built with governmental, academic, and non-governmental organizations to design the assessment and determine data-user needs. This planning phase resulted in development of a full proposal which received grant this round. ARCOS and JRS partnership dates back in 2011 and 2013, where ARCOS received JRS support to build the ARCOS Biodiversity Information Management System (ARBIMS) that hosts biodiversity data and information on the Albertine Rift region.
“We are very happy for this good news and we thank JRS for giving us another opportunity to support informed decisions especially regarding wetlands management. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the stakeholders who invested efforts during the planning phase and call up on their usual collaboration in solving the issues affecting wetlands in Rwanda”, said Dr Sam Kanyamibwa, Executive Director of ARCOS Network.
ARCOS would like to express its special appreciation of partners including, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), the Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management, University of Rwanda (CoEB), the Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority (RWFA), the Ministry of Environment (MoE), the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), the Centre for Geographic Information System (CGIS) under the University of Rwanda, and others who contributed in the development of this wetlands assessment plan and whose continued close collaboration will be to the success of this project.
Wetlands constitute the backbone of Rwanda’s economy. They provide various goods and services that millions of Rwandans depend on for their livelihoods and they are crucial to water, energy, and agriculture sectors.
Rapid urbanization, industrial development, intensification of agriculture, and climate change are the main drivers of change in wetlands in Rwanda. The threats linked with these drivers such as pollution, biodiversity loss and habitat degradation have led to many of the wetlands in the country lose their ecological character thus hampering their capacity to continue effectively providing the services millions of Rwandans depend on.
In order for Rwanda to stay on the green development path, proper management of these important ecosystems is needed and decisions that affect them need to be well informed so that potential issues are detected on time and appropriate measures are taken to mitigate those issues. For this to happen, accurate and updated information on wetlands and their biodiversity and ecosystem services, is needed so that development plans are based on sound data and adequate compromises are made consciously and responsibly.