Wetlands management and conservation in Rwanda. Case study: Gikondo Wetland

Mbabazi, Scholastica Shumbusho
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Wetland management and conservation is a process that has been applied to numerous degrading wetlands in both developed and developing countries. The Ramsar Convention was the first intergovernmental organization that was established to raise wetland awareness around the world. Wetland awareness has been implemented through policy implementations, government collaborations and public education on the values and functions of wetlands. However, economic development has out weighed wetland benefits thus leading to wetland utilization and exploitation. This has led to the over utilization of these resources resulting in wetland loss and degradation. Rwanda recognized the value wetlands provide especially for a developing economy, thus the management and conservation of Gikondo wetland. This case study, Gikondo wetland, represents the classic example of conservation versus development in a struggling developing country. The study examines the process of relocating an entire industrial area to make way for the conservation of the wetland including the policy processes. The study revealed that the relocation of the industrial area will lead to the conservation of Gikondo wetland thus leading to overall environmental and social sustainability of the country. The management and conservation of Gikondo wetland builds upon a growing body of literature on economic development versus environmental sustainability in developing countries.