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Rwanda introduces greenhouse gas monitoring system

KIGALI, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda's Ministry of Natural Resources has unveiled a new monitoring system to cut greenhouse gas emissions due to deforestation and forest degradation.

Adrie Mukashema, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Natural Resources in charge of forests, said Tuesday the greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting scheme is a reflection of Rwanda's commitment to protecting its forests and encouraging sustainable development.

"Even though we have little", she said, "we make sure that what we have is sustainably managed".

The east African country has 700,000 hectares of forest covering 28.8 percent of land in the country.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UFCCC) members developed the Reducing Emissions caused by Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) program in 2008.

Countries wishing to participate in the program are required to develop a national system for measuring, monitoring and reporting emissions and are expected to periodically submit emissions information to the UFCCC.

Rwanda is one of the 10 Central African countries that received funding, 400,000 U.S. dollars, from the Congo Basin Forest Fund to develop a reporting system.

The country has been working on a REDD+ reporting system since last May and it will be sent to the UN for approval later this month, according to officials.

Donat Nsabimana, one of the six experts who created Rwanda's preliminary REDD+ plan, presented the framework to a group of environmental experts meeting in Kigali on Tuesday.

The UN REDD+ program is meant to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, and sustainable management of forests, Nsabimana explained.

Officials said the country will undertake study to assess the negative impacts of forestry on the environment and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

Whereas forests are essential to stabilizing climate change, they can also be part of the problem due to deforestation and forest degradation, according to experts.

Forestry is said to contribute to 17.4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries.

Nsabimana said his government should establish a reference, or base, forest emission level, based on historical emissions in Rwanda so as to be able to assess Rwanda's greenhouse gas levels.

Currently, there is no base emission level for measuring. He said the ministry also needs to define which forests it will be measuring.

After Rwanda's emission measuring program is approved by the United Nations, it will rely on a multi-pronged approach of land- use planning, land tenure rights, and involvement of the private sector to ensure the forestry industry is not raising Rwanda's greenhouse gas emissions.

Nsabimana said 6 million U.S. dollars was needed to implement Rwanda's REDD+ plan for three years against 2 million U.S. dollars pledged by the government.

Rising temperature in Rwanda is also a cause for concern and a motivating factor behind Rwanda's commitment to the UN's REDD+ program.

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