Kigali feted for banning plastic bags, managing forests

Saturday August 04 2012

At a meeting in Kigali mid this month, MPs and experts from 10 African countries agreed to emulate Rwanda and put in place measures to ensure the conservation of forests on the continent.

They are to further request for private and public funding in support of forest issues.

At a meeting held at the Hotel Chez Lando, the MPs and experts said they would support the decision to place a ban on the importation, manufacturing, sale and use of polythene bags.

Participants at the Inter-Parliamentary Hearing on Forests for People were drawn from Rwanda, Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and Zambia.

At the meeting, Rwanda won accolades for banning polythene bags in the country.

“Rwanda has many big ambitions. We want to be part and parcel of the planet. You don’t need experts to tell you how to clean up your country. We have an obligation to keep it clean and healthy,” Dr Rose Mukankomeje from Rwanda said.


The director of the World Future Council, Alexandra Wandel, and her United Nations Forum on Forests counterpart Jan McAlpine praised Rwanda for being a pioneer in banning plastic bags.

“The WFC commends Rwanda’s policy of banning plastic bags. We encourage more countries to follow suit,” said Ms Wandel who was accompanied by WFC consultant Ina Neuberger and Ansgar Kiene (director Africa Liaison Office).

Ms McAlpine said plastics kill animals and fish, take hundreds of years to decompose and that she would like to see New York city ban them.

Ms Wandel handed the organisation’s Future Policy Award trophy to President Kagame on Monday in recognition of the country’s successful efforts in managing forests.

Last year, Rwanda won the 2011 Future Policy Award. The award celebrates the world’s most exemplary national policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations, and that produce practical and tangible results.

The World Future Council foundation is an international policy research organisation that provides decision makers with effective policy solutions.

Ms Wandel said Rwanda is on course to reach its goal of increasing forest cover to 30 per cent of total land area. Forest cover has already increased by 37 per cent since 1990.

Massive reforestation and planting activities that involve the local population are taking place and new measures such as agroforestry and education programmes are being implemented.

The WFC convened the meeting, in partnership with Rwanda’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Rwanda Natural Resources Authority, Rwanda Environment Management Authority, the United Nations Forum on Forests, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN among other international organisations.