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Cablegate: Rwandan Views On Climate Change

VZCZCXRO7830
PP RUEHGI RUEHRN
DE RUEHLGB #0830/01 3381441
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041441Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KIGALI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6487
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP 0125
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0329

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KIGALI 000830

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAGR EAID ECON RW
SUBJECT: RWANDAN VIEWS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

REF: A. KIGALI 531
B. KIGALI 740

KIGALI 00000830 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) SUMMARY: Many Rwandans are aware of the negative
impacts of climate change on their country and are taking a
proactive approach, both domestically and internationally, to
mitigate against those impacts. The government of Rwanda
(GOR) is aggressively promoting "clean and green" energy (Ref
A), conservation and reforestation. Resources are limited
and the challenges great. Rwanda supports the African common
position on climate change, but sees this in terms of
partnerships and investment. It would use "adaptation" funds
to transform agriculture and help rebuild the country's
degraded ecosystems. END SUMMARY.

Impact of Climate Change on Rwanda
----------------------------------
2. (U) A November 25 report by the Stockholm Environment
Institute (SEI) on the economics of climate change in Rwanda
indicates that climate change could cost the economy an
estimated 1 percent of GDP annually by 2030. The impacts of
climate change are cross-cutting and have affected
agriculture, health, energy and degradation of eco-systems.
The report estimates that the risk to the rural population
from malaria could increase by 150 percent by 2050, adding an
additional economic burden to the country.

3. (U) The Director General of the Rwanda Environmental
Management Authority (REMA) Dr. Rose Mukankomeje told
dEtyOe:BL", early warning systems,
introducing of crop species resistant to environmental
stress, developing renewable and environmentally friendly
energy sources and pursuing aggressive reforestation and
afforestation programs.


Green and Clean Energy
----------------------

4. (U) On August 15-19, government officials told visiting
EEB Senior Economic Advisor Joan Wadelton they are working to
make Rwanda 100 percent "clean and green" by 2012 (Ref A).
In addition to using methane from Lake Kivu as a new source
of power, The GOR is aggressively seeking to develop the
country's hydro electric and geothermal resources. Solar
power and biogas are being introduced to rural areas, remote
from the electrical grid. On October 28 the GOR approved a
U.S. private sector-sponsored biofuels project in eastern
Rwanda. Run by American-owned Eco-Fuel Global and
British-owned Eco-Fuel Positive, the project will develop
jointly 10,000 hectares of marginal land for production of
jatropha and build vegetable oil extraction facilities to
process jatropha oil and jatropha seed cake (used as
fertilizer). Eco-Fuel Global estimates the project will
produce between 4-5 million gallons of biofuel annually
(after eight years, when the jatropha trees reach full
maturity), about 10 percent of Rwanda's current diesel
consumption (Ref B).

Let's Plant some Trees
----------------------
5. (U) In December 2009, the GOR will begin an extensive
reforestation program to expand Gishwati forest in
west-central Rwanda and connect it by a 50-kilometer
tree-corridor to the 1,000 square kilometer Nyungwe forest to
the south. Gishwati forest lost 99.4 percent of its forest
Qthe south. Gishwati forest lost 99.4 percent of its forest
cover between 1986 and 2001 and is now less than 1,200
hectares in size. The first phase of the project aims to
relocate 100 farming families and reforest 400 hectares of
farmland. Ultimately, up to 5,000 families will be affected
by the reforestation project. (Note: In land-poor Rwanda,
reforestation projects inevitably require massive, and
unpopular, relocation of local farmers. End Note).

6. (U) Rwanda's national development plan, Vision 2020, calls
for an increase in forest coverage of 3.5 percent by 2012 and
another 20 percent by 2020. Last month the GOR dedicated
umuganda (one day of national service per month required of

KIGALI 00000830 002.2 OF 002


all Rwandans) to "national tree planting week." According
to Minister of Environment and Land (Minister of Environment
and Natural Resources until December 2) Stanislas Kamanzi,
the goal of the event was to plant up to 20 million trees on
18,000 hectares throughout the country.

What Rwanda Wants out of Copenhagen
-----------------------------------
7. (U) The GOR and Rwandan civil society support the "African
common position" on climate change. Kamanzi told the press
November 11 that Rwanda "believes the world should seriously
embark on reducing green house gasses, adopt green
technologies and other production practices that are
environmentally friendly." However, rather than talking in
terms of compensation, Kamanzi said the focus should be on
cooperation and partnerships, in which polluting countries
would help developing countries implement climate adaptation
programs to cope with the negative impact of climate change.
"The issue of compensation shouldn't be a condition. People
have to go in a synergistic manner in making sure that this
(climate change) is dealt with and avoid going into a blame
game," he added.

8. (U) A November 25th declaration by the Rwanda Climate
Change Network (a coalition of Rwandan civil society
organizations) called for "transparent, representative,
accountable and easy to access adaptation assistance,
mitigation programs to support implementation of clean
renewable energy and sustainable low carbon development, and
financing and capacity building to support adaptation and
mitigation programs.

COMMENT
-------
9. (SBU) President Kagame set the stage for Rwanda's
proactive stance on combating climate change in his public
statements at the UN in September. Rwanda is not waiting for
international assistance to begin to implement low carbon
sustainable development. Projects in renewable energy and
reforestation are well advanced. Rather, Rwanda seeks
partners, both public and private, to help adapt its
agriculture to climate change, invest in renewable energy,
replant its forests and repair its environment. Still among
the poorest countries in the world, Rwanda would benefit from
more flexible assistance programs and active private sector
investment supported by OPIC, EXIM and USTDA (as in the case
of Contour Global's methane and Eco-Fuel Global's biofuels).
This could make the climate change challenge a win-win for
Rwandan and American investors by encouraging more investment
and mutually beneficial trade. END COMMENT.
SYMINGTON

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