KIGALI, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda is committed to restoring land that have been degraded by human encroachment and charcoal burning, the Rwandan minister of natural resources said here on Monday.
"Rwanda is delighted to put in much effort in this ambitious target. Deforestation and land degradation are among the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions globally," said Vincent Biruta on the sidelines of the national environment and natural resources stakeholders joint sector review meeting in Kigali.
"Restoration of forest cover will help us protect our natural resources, promote biodiversity and sustainable development goals in our country and contribute to our carbon reduction targets," he added.
Biruta said the country targets to plant more than 23 million of trees in 2017 alone.
According to the ministry of natural resources, forests cover 29.6 percent of the country land and Rwanda seeks to have a forest cover of 30 percent by 2018. About 714,102 hectares of the country's landscape are expected to be entire forests reserves before 2020.
The country's Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy was launched in 2011 as one of the key steps to a sustainable, secure future and to ensure the country is prepared for the risks associated with climate change and population growth.
Rwanda is among only 20 institutions globally accredited to access the international Green Climate Fund from which the government will leverage substantial funding for climate change adaptation projects.
In 2008, Rwanda passed a law that banned the importation and use of polythene bags, while possession or smuggling them into the country attracted heavy penalties.