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For years, Rwanda has been paving a path to green growth by integrating action on climate and clean air into their development agenda. Since 2016, they’ve done this work in partnership with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), standing out as a leader that is tackling short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) on multiple fronts. Among them is that in 2020, Rwanda started extraction and utilization of landfill gas for power generation from partially or fully controlled urban landfills as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), or the national commitment to climate change mitigation. This will reduce methane emissions, avoid carbon emissions from fossil-based electricity use, and mitigate the public health effects of unmanaged waste. The same year, Rwanda began work improving livestock husbandry through more nutritious feed and increased training in improved livestock management as part of the Rwanda Livestock Master Plan. This will both reduce methane emissions and increase the country’s food security through increased yields.
In 2020, Rwanda also became the first government in Africa to submit a stronger climate target to the United Nations, committing to slashing emissions by at least 16 percent by 2030. Rwanda is also phasing out the use of clamp kilns and applying energy efficiency measures in the brick manufacturing industry.
The country has an innovative environment and climate change investment fund, the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA), which invests in public and private projects that help build a strong green economy and provides expert technical assistance to help those investments succeed. Rwanda is also partnered with the Climate Investment Fund to invest in rural off-grid energy solutions, disaster resilience, and climate mitigation.
Rwanda is also a global leader on the Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phase-down under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and efficient cooling. Rwanda further helped kick off the CCAC’s Initiative on Efficient Cooling, which they launched at the G7 Environment Ministers Meeting in 2019 along with France, Japan, and Nigeria.
“Energy efficiency in cooling lacks the serious attention that it deserves. We can save $2.9 trillion in operating costs and double our climate benefits by phasing down HFCs and increasing energy efficiency,” said the former Minister of the Environment Vincent Biruta. “We are a coalition that can act fast and Rwanda stands ready to support the CCAC’s efforts in this regard.”
The 2019 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, named for Rwanda’s capital city where it was agreed upon, commits to phasing down the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a potent short-lived climate pollutant common in refrigerators and air conditioners. This landmark agreement has the potential to avoiding a 0.4 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures and it could not have happened without Rwanda.
"The Kigali Amendment was the result of hard work and a dedication to building a future that our children and grandchildren can be proud of, and one that is worthy of their aspirations,” said Biruta.
In 2019, Rwanda released its National Cooling Strategy, the first phase of the Rwanda Cooling Initiative which is a joint effort between the Government and the UN Environment’s United for Efficiency team. The strategy aims to address the countries’ growing need for air conditioners and refrigeration while maintaining a green growth pathway. It recommends actions to expand access to cooling while conserving resources, including an upper limit on the electricity that can be used by typical refrigerants and air conditioners and the promotion of alternative cooling solutions such as shading and natural ventilation. The Rwanda Cooling Initiative also does market assessments to collect data on the current state and future projections of refrigerant and air conditioners and has a Financial Mechanism to get the private sector the needed support to invest in new efficient cooling technology. Rwanda is also a partner of the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program which works in tandem with the Kigali Amendment by helping developing countries transition to energy efficiency solutions.
Air Quality and Transportation