The country’s commitment to protecting its diverse biodiversity has led to several ambitious and impactful nature preservation initiatives. Below, in no particular order, we delve into eight of Rwanda’s top multi-billion nature conservation projects.

Green Gicumbi project

Also known as “Strengthening Climate Resilience of Rural Communities in Northern Rwanda’’, the $32 million project is being implemented by the Rwanda Green Fund-FONERWA in collaboration with Gicumbi District and other stakeholders to strengthen the climate resilience of vulnerable communities in Gicumbi District.

Also funded by GCF, Green Gicumbi serves as a pilot project to be scaled up across the country. The six-year adaptation project comprises four key components; watershed protection and climate resilient agriculture; sustainable forest management and sustainable energy; climate resilient settlements as well as knowledge transfer and mainstreaming.

Transforming Eastern Province Through Adaptation project

This project intends to restore over 60,000 hectares of drought-degraded landscapes into climate resilient ecosystems through reforestation, agroforestry, restoration of pasturelands, and erosion control measures in seven districts of the Eastern Province of Rwanda, namely Kirehe, Kayonza, Gatsibo, Ngoma as well as Bugesera districts.

The six-year-project is funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with $33,7 million. An additional $15,8 million was mobilised as co-financing from the Government of Rwanda and other project executing entities. It is being jointly executed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda through Rwanda Forestry Authority (RFA) and Enabel, the Belgian development agency, as executing entities.

Green Amayaga project

This Rwf31.9 billion landscape restoration project seeks to restore the natural forests of Amayaga in Rwanda’s Southern Province and benefit up to 1.3 million Rwandans in the districts of Kamonyi, Ruhango, Nyanza and Gisagara.

Launched in October 2020 in Nyanza District, for six years, the initiative aims to promote biodiversity, foster ecosystem services, increase agricultural productivity and reduce the vulnerability of people and ecosystems to the adverse effects of climate change.

The project is funded by the government of Rwanda at 77 per cent through the Ministry of Environment while the rest consists of grants from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Landscape Restoration and Integrated Water Resources Management in Sebeya and other Catchments project

This Rwf22 billion project was initiated in a bid to improve livelihoods and conservation in Sebeya and other catchment areas for improved natural resources management, according to officials.

Sebeya catchment spans four districts (Rubavu, Rutsiro, Nyabihu and Ngororero) covering some 336 square kilometres. The river has a history of bursting its banks during rainy seasons, destroying properties.

The project will be implemented by Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority (RWFA) in collaboration with International Union of Conservation of nature (IUCN), Netherland Development Organization (SNV), and Action for the Protection of the Environment and Promotion of the Agricultural Sector (APEFA), with funding from the Dutch Embassy in Kigali.

Landscape Approach to Climate Proof the Rural Settlement Program of Rwanda project

The $31.2 million project is under implementation from 2022 to 2028. It will be implemented by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority in partnership with the Rwanda Housing Authority, Meteo Rwanda, and the Local District Councils (Kirehe and Gakenke).

It aims to put Rwanda’s Rural Settlement Programme (Imidugudu) on a climate-resilient pathway to secure the programme’s development gains in the face of uncertainties emanating from climate change and contributes to the country’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. It seeks to provide technical skills, more accurate and relevant short to long-term climate information, tools, plans, methods, and institutional and policy conditions to create and sustain climate resilient livelihoods for select communities, benefiting a total of 2,211,600 people (50 per cent women).

Project to manage volcano-related floods

The ongoing project focuses on four districts: Burera, Musanze, Nyabihu, and Rubavu. However, an expanded program has been devised to encompass Rutsiro, Ngororero, Gakenke, and Muhanga.

The extensive project, which requires Rwf494 billion, has already secured $50 million (approximately Rwf58 billion) from the government for initial studies and essential groundwork, according to Environment Minister Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya.

The project aims to mitigate the devastating floods triggered by volcanic activity. The government aims to bolster its efforts in safeguarding residents and protecting properties from destructive disasters by undertaking it.

Volcano Community Resilient Project

The objective of the project is to strengthen climate resilience, reduce the risks of flooding, and improve the management of natural resources and tourism assets in the Volcanoes Region of Rwanda.

The project invests in flood risk reduction, ecological and catchment restoration and livelihood improvement areas. The project will be implemented in 5 years and the overall required investment financing for the program is estimated to be over $ 300 million for its full implementation targeting funds from various partners namely WB, EIB, NDF, and GCF. Project activities are coordinated by the Ministry of Environment.

Five Kigali wetlands restoration project

The $12 million investment aims to rehabilitate five wetlands that have capacity to mitigate floods in Kigali City. These include Gikondo, Rwampara, Rugenge-Rwintare, Nyabugogo and Kibumba.

The rehabilitation of five degraded wetlands in Kigali City could, directly and indirectly, benefit 220,500 people who are at risk of flooding and water crises. They are being rehabilitated under the Second Urban Development Project (RUDP II).