Huye, 4th May 2016: The Ministry of Natural Resources through the Water for Growth, Rwanda platform organized a three-day scoping workshop for Upper Nyabarongo as an important step in the catchment planning process.
The scoping workshop, which attracted over 60 participants from eight districts in this catchment, aims at discussing the key issues, challenges and opportunities in a bid to draw ways of improving integrated water resources management in Upper Nyabarongo catchment.
During the official opening of the workshop, the Vice Mayor for Economic Affairs in Huye District, Cyprien Mutwarasibo noted that this is a great step towards proper management of Rwanda’s water resources.
“I would like to commend the Ministry of Natural Resources and our partners from the Netherlands for this initiative. For a long time now, we struggle with people who degrade our resources by engaging in some economic activities such as illegal mining. It is indeed time to plan better and find lasting solutions,” he said.
Mutwarasibo also emphasized the need to sensitize the population about sustainable use of available resources, adding that more efforts should be made to achieve this goal. Enforcement of existing environmental legislation is key to protect our natural resources and to use them sustainably.
The Deputy Team Leader of Water for Growth, Rwanda, Rob Nieuwenhuis, also said that catchment planning needs to be a highly participative process, in order to achieve a sense of ownership among local and central government, as well as other stakeholders in the catchment.
He said that during the three-day workshop, participants will also learn about development of a high level strategic plan in an integrated process with the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).
“A sound plan for sustainable land and water management, with a broad ownership among catchment stakeholders, is key to the provision of sufficient water of suitable quality to current and future water users,” Nieuwenhuis said.
MINIRENA’s Deputy Director General for the Water Resources Department, Vincent de Paul Kabalisa pointed out that the Upper Nyabarongo catchment has critical water resources that must be managed properly for effective use. He encouraged participants to be very active in this workshop and ensure that the integrated water resources approach is promoted.
The workshop is facilitated by the Netherlands Commission for Environmental Assessment (NCEA), an independent expert body which provides advisory services on environmental and social impact assessment in the context of international cooperation.
Gwen van Boven, the Technical Secretary of NCEA asserts that IWRM and SEA are not possible if done from top to down.
“It has to be participatory and this kind of workshop brings people together from the district level which is very crucial. A good participatory process enables people to understand why some decisions are taken hence creating ownership,” she added.
Water for Growth, Rwanda is a four-year, joint Rwanda-Netherlands initiative aiming to improve the effective management of water resources in Rwanda. The programme is led by the Government of Rwanda and supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN). Water for Growth is working across four demonstration catchments of Muvumba, Upper Nyabarongo, Nyabugogo, and Sebeya – to pilot governance frameworks and develop land and water management solutions tailored to their specific contexts.