GCF NAP Project -Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the National Land Use and Development Master Plan 2020-2050 (NLUDMP).

9 September , Kigali, Rwanda REMA in collaboration with GGGI_Rwanda & National Lands Authority under the GCF NAP Project have commissioned the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the National Land Use & Development Master Plan 2020-2050 (NLUDMP).

GCF NAP Project Manager Liliane Mupende welcomed the participants  and said  “this SEA Mission will be carried from 5-13th Sep 2022, based on the SEA process & procedures determined by the general guidelines for Strategic Environmental Assessment in Rwanda that recommends 2 phases: a scoping study & a SEA study . In the workshop to review & validate the inception report for the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for National Land Use and Development Master Plan ,the consulting firm NEMUS gave a detailed presentation of the SEA background, proposed approach and their workplan.

The government of Rwanda has prioritized the need to effectively climate proof policies, strategies & initiatives across all sectors. To achieve this, Rwanda has reaffirmed its commitment to integrate Environment & Climate Change (ECC) across all sectors toward attaining green economy. The institution of Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) is amongst the ECC mainstreaming tools that Rwanda has embarked on as a pathway to integrate environmental sustainability considerations into policy and strategic decision-making.

The Strategic Environmental Assessment will be carried out across City of Kigali ,Southern Province ,Western Province ,Northern Province ,Eastern Province ,Muhanga District ,Karongi District with key partners including Rwanda Local Government , PSF ,REG , RDB ,Ministry of Agriculture ,  Rwanda Water Board, and civil society

During the workhsop there were  28 participants from We Do Green, MININFRA, UR-Young Water Professionals, ARCOS, NISR, RDB, NEMUS, WASAC, RMB, NLA, COK, RAPEP, MINALOC, RUPI, REMA, Meteo Rwanda, Rwanda Women’s Network, EUCL.

In 2020 the National Land Use and Development Master Plan 2020-2050 (NLUDMP) was endorsed with an aim of guiding the optimal use of land with the main target of:

  • Finding the best balance sheet based on spatial and economic analysis
  • Generating specific guidelines for implementation
  • Designing a new and updated spatial structure for the nation considering that all settlements, urban, rural, big or small, are part of the national spatial puzzle, including Kigali and secondary cities

The objective workshop aimed to review and validate the inception report and share/provide the inputs into to preliminary scoping report. The workshop started with short opening remarks by Liliane Uwanziga Mupende from Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). In her remarks, Liliane thanked everyone for having come to the workshop. According to her, Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for NLUDMP is a strategic process in climate proofing and environmentally proofing key strategies and policies of Government of Rwanda.

Theogene Ngaboyamahina from REMA also added remarks “From this workshop with partners, we will provide active report which should guide crosscutting action that will help to implement NLUDMP.”

Afterwards, Pedro Bettencourt from the consultancy firm NEMUS started the project presentation. His presentations started with a general introduction of SEA for NLUDMP.

He said that the SEA is part of Green Climate Fund project on national adaptation planning and readiness support, which addresses the critical gaps in disaster reductions and planning, and it will also seek to build floods resilience capacity and enhance Rwanda’s capacity to respond to climate change. He continued by saying that our objective of the workshop can be summarized as:

  • Looking at the implementation effect on the environment of the NLUDMP (2020-2050) & DLUPs (2021-2034)
  • Looking at relevant environmental, natural resources and climate change-related constraints
  • Looking how the masterplan contribute to enhance the state of environment in Rwanda to build climate resilience and to promote low carbon development

Next, he looked through some environmental, socioeconomic context of Rwanda. He highlighted the soil erosion, saying that 42% land areas in Rwanda are highly susceptible to landslides, and also mentioned dense hydrographic condition. In socioeconomic aspect, he mentioned about the population distribution per urban and rural areas, as well as the expected population growth of Rwanda.

Then he explained the development process and major steps in SEA. Firstly, in scoping stage, relevant data and information were collected including policies, plans, and programmes that are related to NLUDMP strategic issues. Then in assessment stage, after the analysis on current situation/trends (by Critical Decision Factors (CDF)), opportunities, and risk, the planning and management guidelines were set.

He explained that CDFs are the key points in SEA, and they are the intersection of three major issues as follows:

  • Strategic Issues: NLUDMP and DLUP’s strategic objectives and guiding principles for thematic areas and their potential with environmental implications
  • Environmental and social factors: selected relevant factors, given the decision-making context and scope and scale of the NLUDMP
  • Strategic reference framework: environmental and social macro-objectives established in policies, plans

The thematic areas of NLUDMP lays in eleven points – Population, Urbanization, Settlements, and Housing; Spatial Economy; Agriculture; Environment and Natural Resources; Tourism and Conservation; Transportation; Infrastructure; Public Services; GIS database and National Base Map; Legal Analysis Report; Implementation, Compliance, and Monitoring strategy and guidelines.

Pedro continued the presentation highlighting the key environmental and critical issues related to NLUDMP. The drivers of environmental change are population/economic growth; climate change; agriculture; industry/mining; and tourism. The environmental challenges that must addressed SEA are land scarcity and competition over land; soil erosion; integrated management of water resources; climate change/adaptation/risk reduction.

After that, he pointed out every CDFs again, elaborating evaluation criteria and indicators for each CDF that will be significantly addressed in SEA. The five CDFs are as follows:

CDF 1: Environmental qualification and people’s livelihoods

CDF 2: Territorial competitiveness

CDF 3: Food security, risk reduction and climate change adaptation

CDF 4: Natural resources and Biodiversity conservation

CDF 5: Land use Governance

On his final remarks, Pedro mentioned four aspects to be highlighted – Aspects related to social justice, challenges of climate change and disaster risk, land use governance, and transboundary effects.

After the presentation delivered by Pedro, the comments and questions session continued, with the participation of the attendees. Some valid questions and topics related to thematic areas, participation of local people/authorities and women, community engagement, deep assessment on specific vulnerable areas, and knowledge sharing on community ownership, were shared and discussed.

Uwijuru Christophe Michel from NLA gave comment “Next report must be structured based on the thematic area with more immediate relation”. An agreement was made to strengthen the link between CDFs and thematic areas, so that they complement every key issue.

Andrew Ndahiro from Rwanda Women’s Network added his comment on the necessity of the participation of women in the process. REMA and NEMUS team said that they are making effort but will put more effort for the participation of women representatives.

David Musonera from the City of Kigali mentioned that “more discussion should be made on the protection of waterbodies, wetlands, and forests”

Emmanuel Sindikubwabo from We Do Green added his comment on community ownership, saying “Component on knowledge sharing particularly on community ownership should be added and community awareness should be improved.”

Afterwards, based on the discussion points that were shared during the comment session, every participant reviewed the CDFs and provided their input together. Under every attendee’s agreement and participation, some corrections were made on terminologies, and some criteria and omitted points that should be considered were added under each CDF. For the specific or detailed parts that need more discussion or correction, there will be arrangements for 1-1 meetings between the focal people.

In her closing remarks, Liliane from GGGI shared some points for the way forward. The team will have more discussion regarding stakeholder engagement, and additional verification will be made through 1-1 meetings. The missing references will be complemented by sharing critical documents to incorporate all the information together. Also, the related project documents will be shared to the individual attendees so that they can add comments that were not addressed properly during the meeting, and further validation of the comment and recommendations will be proceeded.