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Rwanda, Africa Revises Policies on Climate Change & ...

Rwanda, Africa Revises Policies on Climate Change & Food Security Linkages

The Rwandan Civil Society Organization recommends changing its policy so that it reflects the links between climate change, commerce, and food security. This is to be done with the goal of advancing within the East-African Community (EAC) and smoothly integrating with the rest of the region. According to Aimable Mwananawe, President of the EAC Civil

Banana seller, Rwanda, Africa

The Rwandan Civil Society Organization recommends changing its policy so that it reflects the links between climate change, commerce, and food security. This is to be done with the goal of advancing within the East-African Community (EAC) and smoothly integrating with the rest of the region.

According to Aimable Mwananawe, President of the EAC Civil Society Organizations (EACSOF), the countries of the EAC signed a variety of different policies to ensure the free circulation of assets and people within the EAC. This move signifies that the five countries of the EAC are ready to raise awareness about the advantages of change amongst their inhabitants.

Now, we must appeal to the Minister of Commerce so that we can create commercial laws to standardize the links between climate change, food security, and commerce,” indicated Aimable Mwananawe.

He emphasized that new laws would take into account the recommendations made by the civil society, the private sector, and government representatives. The 2-day EAC workshop, which took place from February 27 & 28, 2015, was organized by EACSOF Rwanda for the members of the National Reference Group (NRG). EACSOF is an organization that involves civil society organizations in regional integration. EACSOF was established in Arusha, Tanzania and has a base in each of the five countries of the EAC.

East African Community Heads of State

The theme of the event was “Links between Climate Change, Commerce, and Food Security.” The event established a roadmap for countries that would allow them to take into account the links between climate change, food security, and commerce.

It is important to note that Geneva-based ONG CUTS International provides support to EACSOF so that they can push for quicker changes to the EAC and keep in mind sectors that need reinforcement or more attention. According to Peace Basemera, who is in charge of negotiation and commerce cooperation at the Rwandan Ministry of Commerce, it is necessary to control pollution let off by large trucks on Rwandan roads and other countries of the EAC.

“Old and used cars are more pollutive. The job of the Rwandan Environmental Office (REMA) is to consider the condition of vehicles, their year of manufacture, and the degree of noxious gas emissions. Moving forward, the most important thing for us is to focus on having a healthy environment and a strong economy that does not hurt the world in the process,” she said.

She stated that Rwanda is the first country in the EAC to push for the use of non-polluting vehicles fewer than eight years old.

Traffic in Kigali, Rwanda

“We anticipate that we will reform our commercial laws so that they reflect a respect for climate change,” she added.

Expert Basemera also cleared up the worries of those agricultural workers who don’t have access to a large enough market for their products, like corn, beans, grains, bananas, and rice. She suggested that they should group themselves into co-operatives and should sell their products within the state institution, the RGC (Rwanda Grains and Cereals Conservation). This would spare them from selling off their precious harvests too cheaply.

“It is now possible to grow food and be sure that there is a market for the products. Those in charge of local markets should follow up on this, as it factors into their allocations,” Basemera recommended.

For international commerce expert Jean-Bosco Kanyengoga, (one of those who conducted the study on climate change, food security, and commerce), says it is necessary to achieve productivity and make a profit, all while using methods of transport and transaction that respect the environment and reduce gas pollution. Within the EAC, there is a desire to work together and to respect the international conventions and those that the EAC has just ratified.

Rwanda, Africa, plantains being sold

“In this respect, Rwanda respects its ratified commitments. It is at the forefront when it comes to respecting the conditions that were put into place. They have forbidden plastic bags. They have opted for clean cities and green disposal of waste. These things are not yet common in the other countries,” he revealed.

Like some other countries, notably Kenya, Rwanda decided to forbid the most polluting types of vehicles within its borders.

Kanyengoga said that they are going to put devices in vehicles to reduce the air pollution they produce.  Overall, technology in the country has been brought more up-to-date, allowing businessmen, businesses, and the general population to act more sustainably. Kanyengoga also pointed out Rwanda has the potential to sustainably maintain food security and divide resources amongst the population.

Has your community attempted to integrate its sustainability initiatives into those of the larger region? If so, how? Is your city part of regional sustainability efforts? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments area below. 

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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