With about 80 percent of Rwanda being rural, close to 90 percent of the population depends on natural resources for their livelihood, including land, water, minerals, ecosystems and forests. These resources contribute about 7 percent of gross domestic product.
To facilitate national development and poverty reduction the country has developed two national development strategies: Vision 2020 and the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy.
WAVES in Rwanda
These two strategies recognize the role of natural resources in development as well as the growing pressure on existing resources. Rwanda is keen to become a center for green growth and investment, with sustainable use of the environment at the heart of all development plans. Natural capital accounts are an opportunity to use data and evidence on values and trends to inform these strategic plans.
Based on the relevance for development goals, contributions to growth, economy-wide planning and data availability, land, water and mineral accounts have been accorded first priority.
Land and water accounts can add value by providing indicators and trend analysis to help in tracking performance toward sustainability, land allocation, service delivery, and productivity targets.
NCA can help to identify trade-offs or potential constraints as Rwanda grows. NCA can also contribute to accountable governance by increasing the quality, credibility and consistency of the statistics and analyses that support national development plans and targets.
The Story So Far
Rwanda’s natural capital accounting work enjoys support from government, research institutes and nongovernment organizations. It is being carried out in several phases: Phase 1 consisted of preparing a scoping study that focused on sector priorities and a detailed work plan for the implementation phase. Based on this study, the national steering committee chose to focus on land and water as priority accounts, with additional exploratory work toward minerals accounts.
Phase 2 started in 2015 and consists of activities to build natural capital accounts for priority sectors. It is expected to last three years. The Netherlands Statistics Agency contributed its technical expertise and experience to the process of developing the first draft land accounts.
During the implementation phase, government officials from key agencies, other organizations from outside government, technical consultants and the country coordinator are working together to collect the data that forms the accounts and to conduct policy analysis.
Rwanda`s work on natural capital accounting has spurred significant interest and demand to expand on the solid analysis carried out on the land, water, and minerals accounts. The accounts have been integrated into several areas of the government including the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. This systematic accounting for natural capital is informing the revision of the Land Use Master Plan and the State of Environment Report.
WAVES lead government agencies
The Rwanda Natural Resources Authority and the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority under the Ministry of Natural Resources, together with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
Country steering committee
Members include representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Rwanda Environment Management Agency, the Ministry of Infrastructure, National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, Rwanda Development Board, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.