By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Sep 26, 2011 (IPS)
Government policies are seldom lauded, yet Rwanda’s forest policy has resulted in a 37-percent increase in forest cover on a continent better known for deforestation and desertification.
Rwanda’s National Forest Policy has also resulted in reduced erosion, improved local water supplies and livelihoods, while helping ensure peace in a country still recovering from the 1994 genocide.
Now Rwanda can also be known as the winner of the prestigious Future Policy Award for 2011.
“Rwanda has sought not only to make its forests a national priority, but has also used them as a platform to revolutionise its stances on women’s
rights and creating a healthy environment,” said Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement.
She issued a statement for the award ceremony in New York City last week just days before her death from cancer in Nairobi Monday at the age of 71. “Rwanda has been a very divided country since the 1994 genocide but this policy is helping to bring peace and value to the people,” said Alexandra Wandel, director of the World Future Council, which administers the Future Policy Awards.
The World Future Council is an international policy research organisation based in Hamburg, Germany that provides decision-makers with effective policy solutions.
“Our aim is to inspire other countries to adapt these successful policies to their individual needs.” said Wandel told IPS. Continue reading