(Xinhua) -- Rwanda targets to decrease the use of
charcoal and fire wood by 2018, in an effort to help protect the
country’s forest cover and avert disastrous effects of climate
change, Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has said.
Coletha Ruhamya, director general,
REMA told reporters on Wednesday that local technology
initiatives in line with efficient cooking stoves will be
identified and introduced to Rwandans in the framework of the
government’s policy to reduce wood fuel and emissions.
“We are targeting to see 27 percent of
Rwandans in urban centers use improved cooking stoves in bid
to reduce the use of charcoal and fuel wood by 2018,” she
Many households across rural Rwanda
look to forests as a source of income, cutting down trees to
supply growing markets for charcoal and timber, however Ruhamya
urged them to embrace sustainable charcoal production to protect
the country’s forest cover.
“If we are to protect our environment,
we must accord high priority to forest conservation while
subsidizing households to use alternative energy sources,”
Last year, Rwanda launched a campaign
to enhance forest cover by planting more than 23 million of
trees in one year in a bid to help the country fight climate
The campaign dubbed; “Forests, the
Source of Clean Air” will see millions of trees planted on most
degraded lands and forests, and continue to improve existing
forest across the country.
Rwanda targets to have a forest cover
of 30 percent by 2018, a goal that is likely to be achieved
earlier given that, presently, forest cover is at 29.6 percent
of the nation, according to the ministry of natural resources.
The small central African country has
also committed to restore two million hectares of deforested and
degraded land by 2020.
More than 700 million hectares of land
are ripe for restoration in Africa, according to analysis by
World Resources Institute and International Union for
Conservation of Nature.
Rwanda’s ambitious forest restoration
plan is in line with the Bonn Challenge, a global ambition to
restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and
degraded lands by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. It was
launched by world leaders at a ministerial roundtable in Bonn,
Germany, in September 2011.
It is estimated that over 1.6 billion
people globally rely on benefits that forests offer, including
food; unfortunately, an estimated 13 million hectares of
forests, for instance, were lost each year between 2000 and 2010
due to deforestation.