“Population, Health and Human Settlements
” is the second chapter in the Rwandan government’s Rwanda State of Environment and Outlook
. The chapter highlights the Rwandan government’s recognition of the interconnections between population, health, and environment, noting that population “can influence the state of the environment” and pose strains “on available public infrastructure, limited land, and natural resources.” The chapter examines Rwanda’s population growth and distribution, the state of “environmental health” in rural and urban areas, and health indicators relating to child and maternal health and HIV/AIDS. It goes on to describe government strategies to “improve settlements and human welfare.” “As population pressure is one of the key drivers of environmental degradation and poverty,” the chapter’s authors write, “the implementation of the population policy, especially aspects that address high fertility rates, gender and reproductive health, migration and human settlements” is increasingly important.
The Des Moines Register‘s “Renewal in Rwanda” site hosts a series of articles by IRP Fellow and former Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar Perry Beeman “examining Rwanda’s efforts to build an eco-friendly economy.” Accompanied with interactive maps, photos, and videos, the materials highlight government efforts, share the country’s successes, and describe the vast challenges that lay ahead.
“Renewal in Rwanda” is particularly focused on Gishwati Forest, an area Beeman visited while in Rwanda, and the impacts of its ongoing conservation program on local communities. “Gishwati Area Conservation Program has as much to do with saving the lives of villagers—by sparing them from deadly mudslides and providing them jobs—as it does restoring a once-mighty forest,” writes Beeman in the article “Fighting for an African Forest.” Beeman also calls attention to the program’s more controversial aspects, noting that reforestation efforts would require relocating an estimated 5,000 families.