IN 2011, Rwanda adopted a Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy to become a developed, climate-resilient, low-carbon economy by 2050. To achieve this goal, the government and its stakeholders are striving reduce emissions, adapt to climate change and foster resilience.

Rwanda is a low-income country that remains highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, further complicating the path to achieving its ambitious goal of becoming a high-income nation by 2050. According to the Climate Risk Country Profile of the Rwanda (2020) from the World Bank, the impacts of climate change play negatively on the country’s efforts to achieve sustainable development. While the country has experienced robust economic growth leading to a decline in the poverty rate from 39.1% in 2014 to 38.1% in 2017, the World Bank notes that Rwanda remains highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to its heavy dependence on rainfed agriculture, as well as the need to improve its road networks, the health sector and the management of water resources.

Rwanda’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) update also notes that the country is increasingly experiencing the impacts of climate change. Over the years, the precipitation has become increasingly intense and the variability is expected to increase by 5-10%. Records of temperature increases show that between 1971 and 2016, the country recorded average temperature increases of between 1.4°C and 2.56°C. These changes in temperature and rainfall are said to be the main drivers of climate and weather disasters that negatively affect Rwandans and the economy in general, including storms, lightning, droughts, floods, landslides and storms. These climate-induced disasters result in damage to infrastructure, loss of life and property including crops, soil erosion and water pollution, among others.

According to the Rwandan ministry in charge of emergency management, Rwanda experienced about 3,309 disasters during the period 2011-2019. In 2018 alone, the country recorded 254 deaths related to climate-induced disasters and the loss of 15,910 homes and 13,337.21 hectares of damaged crops. In 2020, disasters caused 298 deaths and 414 injuries, among other losses. The 2015 National Risk Atlas estimated the economic cost of assets vulnerable to landslides and earthquakes at 100.3 billion Rwandan francs.

Due to this situation, Rwanda has learned that climate projections are important for future planning and for adapting to climate change. The climate system is very complex and therefore looking only at past trends and expecting the situation to stay the same would be misleading and over-generalizing. For Rwanda, investing in globally recognized climate models to project future climate is important to come up with strategies, plans and actions that meet future needs and support the goals of achieving a sustainable and climate resilient economy in the future. ‘coming.

One of the action programs of the green growth and climate resilience strategy is “Climate data and projections”which was designed to keep climate change records and provide data to help the country prepare for a warmer world through new technologies and capacity building.

Access to climate data and projections is essential for Rwanda to respond to climate change using evidence-based policymaking and planning. Therefore, a number of institutions have come together to track and manage climate-related data, including the Rwanda Meteorological Agency (Météo Rwanda), the Ministry of Education, the Environment Management Authority of Rwanda, the Rwanda Green Fund and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). . This joint effort includes regular measurements, weather forecasts, data management, information sharing, and climate knowledge and education.

Work is underway to strengthen Rwanda’s capacity to advance the national adaptation planning process and is being implemented by Meteo Rwanda and the Rwanda Environment Management Authority. One of the activities carried out under this partnership is climate change projections for Rwanda at different time scales such as 2030, 2040, 2050 and 2080. These projections will be used to develop climate risk assessments and to inform policy makers and planners of likely future climate risks.

In addition to this innovative project, here are three other initiatives that allow Rwanda to better understand its climate today and to predict more precisely its evolution in the future.

1. Rwandan Climate Change Observatory

The Rwanda Climate Change Observatory is a world-class project launched in 2011 by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with MIT to measure climate change on Mount Mugogo in terms of greenhouse gases (GHGs), meteorological parameters, other climate change factors as well as building skills in the storage, processing and archiving of GHG data from different sectors.

The Climate Change Observatory is part of WMO’s Global Atmosphere Monitoring Network which measures greenhouse gases and air quality. As the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Atmosphere Monitoring Station, it contributes to an international network of observing systems supporting the global response to climate change.

This initiative has strengthened research on climate change and atmospheric science, provided education opportunities for Rwandans and trained them in effective maintenance and analysis of climate data.

2. Invest in Meteo Rwanda climate prediction and modeling

The Rwanda Meteorological Agency (Meteo Rwanda) provides accurate and timely weather and climate information services for the safety of people, property and for the socio-economic development of the country. The agency collects, collates and accesses weather data from weather stations across the country. The data is analyzed in parallel with data from other sources to generate the weather forecast of different time ranges (nowcasting, short-term, medium-term and long-term forecasting), with the aim of supporting socio-economic development.

Given the importance of weather and climate data in responding to climate change, significant investments have been made to build the capacity of Meteo Rwanda. This was done through an investment from the Rwanda Green Fund called “Strengthening Rwanda Weather and Climate Services to Support Development”. This initiative provided new monitoring equipment and increased technical skills which led to the improvement of the range of weather and climate information available to inform decision-making at all levels in Rwanda,

This project installed climate change and air quality monitoring infrastructure and provided training to inform decision-making and enforcement activities. The infrastructure provides data to regulators and is used as a research tool in higher education institutions. Data is now being provided to climate modellers to increase modeling of the consequences of climate change in Rwanda and across the region.

3. Build a national network Air quality index

Rwandans can now access real-time air quality information through a new website and mobile application launched by the Ministry of Environment, the Rwandan Environment Management Authority and the Rwanda Meteorological Agency.

The National Air Quality Monitoring System provides air quality data at twenty-three sites across the country. The air quality monitoring system was developed under the Air Quality and Climate Change Monitoring Project, which was funded by the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA). It was designed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and implemented by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority and the Ministry of Education.

The system provides a real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) for each station in numeric and color coded form. The system highlights the dominant air pollutant that is responsible for the air quality degradation during the reporting period for each station. It will help Rwanda to compare ground observation data with satellite data through remote sensing technology to verify their accuracy.

The system enhances the existing field-based air quality monitoring network in Rwanda by providing online access to each station’s pollution readings as well as data management, including data sharing mechanisms. data.

Visit the Air Quality Monitoring System here:

Website: www.aq.rema.gov.rw

Mobile app (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=rw.gov.rema.aqi

Learn more about Rwanda’s efforts to use data to shape the future on

www.meteorwanda.gov.rw.