During the ongoing “Water week”—19-23 March 2012, to celebrate the World Water Day, the government of Rwanda has adapted a new policy on water management and conservation as a way of having water play a major role in the country’s development, during a one-day conference at Kigali Serena Hotel on March 22, 2012.
International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of fresh water resources.
As though last year the focus of World Water Day was on: Water for Cities, this year it is: Water and Food Security. Thus, at national level, the theme of this year’s World Water Day celebration is: “Managing Water resources for Sustainable Food Security” loosely translated in local (Kinyarwanda) dialect as Dukoreshe Amazi Neza, Tunihaza Mu Biribwa”
The Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Stanislas Kamanzi presided over the event which attracted key development partners, NGO’s and civil society organizations involved in water resource management.
Mr. Kamanzi said that the new policy brings clearly addresses government efforts to implement strategies on increasing access to water, using water sources for economic development while tackling issues of climatic changes.
The minister said that the new policy will enable Rwandans to step up their involvement in reserving water sources, and focus on the use of water as a valuable natural resource which can contribute to the development of the country.
“We have opted for an approach that recognizes water as a finite resource and which promotes the coordinated management of water, land, and related resources in order to maximize the economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. In other words we are proposing the approach of Integrated Water Resources Management” Kamanzi said.
Kamanzi also noted that mineral excavation activities in Rwanda need to be monitored so as to reduce the risks of exposing water sources to pollution and proper mining tools should be used to reduce the rate of land degradation.
Minister Kamazi (right) shares an opinion with stakeholders
Key development partners, who participated in the meeting, promised to support the government of Rwanda in implementing the new policy on water management.
Dr. William Logan, the Deputy Director of the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM) – an organization engaged in water science and policy projects, said that the Rwanda has all the water it needs but this must be managed well.
Logan said that there are three things which Rwanda needs to do to attain its objective, namely; have great leadership at the top with collaboration among ministries, Build the knowledge base and Willingness to delegate authority downward, so good things can happen at the local and catchment level.
“We shall support Rwanda, in all ways, through capacity building and also get involved in laying strategies that will enable the policy get disseminated at all levels” Logan promised.
Local NGO’s participants also welcomed the new policy and stated that this is timely and addition effort to stressing the need to managing water in the country. Norbert Habinshuti, an official of Japan International Cooperation (JICA), said that the new policy will back up the existing rural development programs and create a clear understanding of the need to preserve water sources and manage them so as to improve the lives of communities.
The meeting was sponsored by the ministries of Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Agriculture, and key partners- USAID, UNICEF, Global Water for Sustainability, and United Nations-Rwanda; as part of the ongoing Water Day week campaign launched in Rwanda from March 19- 23.
See details in the Hope Magazine April Edition…