Rwanda joined with over 160 countries to sign the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Rwanda was represented at the signing ceremony by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo.
The Paris Agreement represents the strong global commitment to promote environmental protection and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The agreement provides the framework for all nations to introduce and strengthen policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and respond to a warmer planet. It also includes a commitment by developed nations to support climate vulnerable countries through finance and technology at a level of $100 billion annually until 2025.
The agreement is the result of years of negotiations that began in Durban in 2011 and concluded at the U.N. Climate Talks held in Paris in December (COP21). The talks were held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and concluded with the Paris Agreement, which was adopted by all parties to the UNFCCC – 196 nations.
“The Paris Agreement is a key platform for a global plan of action that will reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, with the lofty goal of keeping temperature increases below 1.5 degrees. This stronger target is what the government called for at the Climate Talks in December 2015 because we know that anything less ambitious places Rwanda and other vulnerable nations at unacceptable risk of climate related disasters,” Minister Biruta said.
The agreement signed today will assist Rwanda as one of most vulnerable countries to climate change. It will increase the climate finance and technology available to support the country’s climate resilience initiatives, clean energy ambitions and sustainable growth through the development of a vibrant green economy.
Rwanda has a demonstrated track record of environmental protection, evidenced through the ban on plastic bags, conservation of its natural heritage through a series of national parks and protected areas, landscape restoration and the planting millions of trees every year. Rwanda invites developed nations and international organisations interested in supporting its green growth vision to contribute to the country’s fund for the environment and climate change – the Green Fund.
“A key part of achieving our vision is Rwanda’s Green Fund – a ground-breaking environment and climate change investment fund and the largest of its kind in Africa. The fund invests in the best public and private projects that have the potential for transformative change and that support Rwanda’s commitment to building a green economy. The fund has mobilised 100 million dollars to date and is a leading example of the impact that well managed climate financing can have,” Minister Mushikiwabo said while delivering Rwanda’s national statement at the United Nations in New York today.
Minister Mushikiwabo also announced that Rwanda will ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible and called on all nations to execute their climate action plans so that the agreement lives up to the expectations of current and future generations.
“While the Paris Agreement is a historic step in the right direction, we must not be content with today’s signing alone. The real work now begins to ratify and match our commitments with action,” she said.