Trade: Joint Committee to advocate for Rwanda Environment Management Authority representation in National Trade Policy Forum

February 7, 2014. Kigali, Rwanda.

The Rwanda National Reference Group members holding their Fifth Meeting at SPORTS VIEW Hotel in Kigali on this day of 19th March 2014, organized by Rwanda Civil Society Platform and CUTS International, deliberating on the theme "Mainstreaming Climate Change in Agriculture and Trade Processes, Striving to promote food security through climate Smart Agriculture and Policy Coherence".

Having analyzed the linkages of trade policies with food security and climate change in Rwanda;

Considering that climate change is altering agricultural and trade patterns by increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events consequent to lower yields, increase of crop diseases, reduction of water resources and floods causing food insecurity to the Rwandan population;

Basing on the findings of the study commissioned under the promoting climate change, food security and trade linkages in East Africa Community (PACT- EAC Rwanda project;

Realizing that Rwanda's relevant policies and strategies favoring climate change as across-cutting issue, have not been mainstreamed;

Conscious of Rwanda's commitment to international climate change Policy Obligations and their Implication to Trade Competitiveness;

Aware that Rwanda is currently revising her Trade Policy providing an opportunity for inputs from all stakeholders;

Basing on the views and concerns of national stakeholders including representatives from the Government, private sector, civil society organizations and the media;

The Rwanda National Reference group members identified the following key challenges to be addressed:

  • The link between Climate Change and Food Security is well documented and articulated, and the link between Food security and Trade. However, the linkage between Climate change and trade is yet to be documented.
  • Existing policies and strategies which are positively contributing to agricultural productivity also contribute to enhanced resilience to climate change. However, Trade is not perceived as a Climate Change factor/driver in Rwanda policies.
  • Rwanda trade policy (Point 2.4) discusses the relationship between Trade Policy and other Policies and Strategies (agriculture, mining, export crops, industry, tourism etc.) but ignores Climate Change component.
  • The key forum for trade policy discussion is the National Trade Policy Forum (NTPF) where many institutions are represented. However, Climate Change departments are not represented in this forum. There is need to promote a coherent approach in the NTPF by including climate change departments, which is currently only included under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Rwanda environment Management Authority (Climate Change Mainstreaming).
  • There is no holistic policy in Rwanda and East Africa that integrates Trade, climate change and food security.
  • There is lack of proper coordination among institutions responsible for climate change, agriculture and trade policies.
  • The Rwandan population is not fully aware of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.

It is in light of the above challenges that members constituting the Rwanda National Reference Group made the following recommendations to stakeholders, partners and policy makers:

General Recommendations:

  • RNRG to improve the understanding of the climate change and trade linkages among stakeholders detailing the life risk impact on the population to enable holistic policy responses at the national level.
  • RNRG to build multi-stakeholder networks to facilitate development and implementation of Climate change policy responses in trade sector through the wide consultation and collaboration with the relevant stakeholders.
  • RNRG to commend the work of ACCORD -Rwanda that is requested to share with NRG the recommendations of the previous meetings.
  • RNRG and all stakeholders represented in the National Trade Policy Forum should be consistent and active in their participation to ensure an inclusive revised new trade policy addressing Trade, climate change and food security linkages.

Specific Recommendations:

  • RCSP to organize a national debate on Climate Change, Food security and trade linkages.
  • RCSP to take the Lead in evidence based advocacy campaign to have a holistic policy in place addressing agriculture, climate change and trade linkages.
  • RCSP/EACSOF to enhance public and private dialogue to find solutions including climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.
  • RCSP/EACSOF to enhance further research and documentation on the linkage between trade and climate change.
  • The Ministry of Finance and Economic planning to allocate Budget on climate change integration as a cross cutting issue.
  • Ministry of Trade and Industry to mainstream in the National Trade Policy measures that maximize opportunities and minimize costs arising from the interface between trade and climate change for sustainable development.
  • Ministry of Trade and Industry to document Climate Change and Trade linkages for mainstreaming climate change into the National Trade Policy.
  • The Ministry of Trade and Industry to Integrate Climate change bodies in policy formulation forum – National Trade Policy Forum (NTPF).
  • The Ministry of Natural resources to ensure National Policy coherence between climate change and trade policy and FONERWA to provide support funds to implementing agencies.
  • The Ministry of agriculture to ensure that farmers respond to meteorological forecasts, planting of resilient crops with appropriate technology and adapt to climate change.
  • The Ministry of Local Government to mainstream and integrate climate change (adaptation measures) in agriculture and trade processes, through imihigo of districts.
  • The Ministry of infrastructure to enhance clean energy production to reduce carbon emissions, appropriate storage facilities and road networks for easy access to markets.
  • The Media to be at the forefront in the advocacy campaign to mainstream climate change in agriculture and trade processes.

The Rwanda National Reference group members elected an advocacy committee to monitor the implementation of the outlined recommendations. The advocacy committee is comprised of the following members:

  • FORONGO Janvier, Executive Secretary of RCSP
  • SEBAHIZI Prudence, EACSOF Coordinator
  • MUSEMINARI Marcel, Media group Representative
  • John Mwesigye, MINICOM
  • Florence Mujawimana, MINAGRI
  • Hon. Senator Perrine Mukankusi, Parliament Representative
  • Christine Murebwayire, Private Sector Representative
  • Experts to be determined by EACSOF
  • The advocacy committee will agreed on the Advocacy Action Plan the on-going advocacy campaign on Mainstreaming Climate Change in Agriculture and Trade Processes.

    Done in Kigali, 19th March 2014

    NRG Members