The EU has been a long-term partner in Rwanda’s efforts to tackle climate change - a 4 million euros programme run by GCCA has focused on registering land and formalising ownership, especially for women. Of the 11 million parcels of land registered so far, the majority have been registered to women. Registration also encourages climate-smart investments by farmers who look after their land better, avoid deforestation and protect against soil erosion.
“If people feel secure on their land, they will invest in it more, they can use it better,” says Dr Emmanuel Nkurunziza, Director General of the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development. “If you ask people to look after their own land, they will do it willingly.” We need to determine who owns which land and then give them authentic documents to attest those rights, he adds. “We believe that when ownership is established we reduce the level of conflicts because we know who owns what, so if there is a problem we are able to intervene”. Once they have documents they feel secure, they invest more in the land.
Farmer Thomas Iyamuremye from Rwaza agrees. “Following the land ownership programme, we can access money to invest in our land, regardless of its size. In protecting the environment, we decide which part of the land to cultivate, which part is for planting trees, and which part to protect from erosion.”
GCCA funding has supported the implementation of the land registration programme, on the premise that if people are allowed ownership and security of tenure of land, they are more likely to invest in sustainable land management. This, in turn, improves the resilience of the land to climate change.
In October 2019 Rwanda will be hosting the GCCA+ Regional Conference on “Climate Smart Africa: Harnessing the Growth and Protecting the Gains”.