Message from UNEP Deputy Executive Director on the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda Thu, Apr 12, 2012

Today, we remember and honor the lives and families destroyed 18 years ago in Rwanda.

The United Nations Environment Program stands in solidarity with the Rwandan people and admires their resilience and the enormous strides they have made in recovering from the appalling tragedy of 1994.

We are all aware that after 1994, Rwanda faced many challenges, ranging from overcoming poverty and developing sustainable energy resources to land and ecosystem degradation

However today, Rwanda continues to deliver impressive results in economic growth and development built upon a clear understanding of the need for sustainable development

The 'land of a thousand hills' as is commonly known has not only provided homes for returning refugees but has also rehabilitated wetlands, protected areas and other key sites. Even more impressively, it has developed a visionary strategy including the development of renewable energies including hydropower, solar power, and biogas

The environment remains central to Rwanda's vision for prosperity. In this regard, Rwanda is now an internationally renowned nation for its strong and positive environmental policies. Despite enormous challenges they have seized multiple opportunities presented by Green Economic policies. A case in point is the construction of the rainwater harvesting banks and bio-digesters under the Poverty Environment Initiative Project. Rwanda is even more famous for making these policies a practical reality in improving its citizens' lives

In line with this year's theme, "learning from history to shape a bright future", I believe Rwanda has learnt from its dreadful experiences.

To this end, Rwanda has made remarkable strides in health, education, transport and environmental protection and has done much to promote regional stability and good governance.

As a result of these efforts, Rwanda was two years ago chosen to host the biggest global celebration for positive environmental action - World Environment Day. We salute the People and Government of Rwanda for these remarkable initiatives!

As I conclude, allow me to say that in remembering and honoring the victims of the 1994 genocide, we at UNEP reaffirm our partnership with the Rwandan people as they continue to build a peaceful, prosperous and Green future.

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