The main issues of humanitarian concern in Rwanda are floods, landslides, and refugees from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Conflict in eastern DRC has pushed some 20,000 refugees into in Rwanda on top of an estimated 55,000 refugees already hosted in the country, of whom 95 per cent are Congolese.

Since 1996, Rwanda has been economically developing at a fast rate, reducing levels of poverty by 12 per cent, improving access to water, food, and basic services. However, 52 per cent of the population still lives on less than $1 a day and access to medical services is still limited. The country remains vulnerable to food insecurity and rates of child malnutrition remain high.

Humanitarian coordination

The Government of Rwanda is responsible for aid management and coordination through its External Finance Unit (EFU) within the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN). An Aid Coordination Unit (ACU) was set up under the guidance of the UN Resident Coordinator to provide technical support and policy advice on aid coordination, harmonization and alignment at the national level.

The Rwanda Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) is the main coordinator for Disaster Management in Rwanda. There is a Disaster Management Task Force (DMTF), a coordination group involving Government authorities, UN agencies and I/NGOs. The Ministry of Health (MOH) oversees and coordinates nutrition interventions. The National AIDS Commission (CNLS) under the MOH oversees and coordinates HIV and AIDS activities. Refugee assistance and relief response are jointly coordinated by MIDIMAR and UNHCR. There are no humanitarian clusters in Rwanda.

The UN in Rwanda

In Rwanda, the Resident Representative of UNDP also serves as the UN Resident Coordinator. The Resident Coordinator’s function facilitates and coordinates United Nations operational activities and provides leadership and guidance to the United Nations system in the country. Priority areas are highlighted in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2008–2012 including: strengthening good governance and capacity for reconciliation and security; improved health for all; improved disaster preparedness and response, as well as functioning safety nets and self-sustaining mechanisms for vulnerable groups; increased equal access to and completion of quality basic education; and sustainable and improved management of the environment, natural resources and land. Rwanda’s Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) provides a medium-term framework for achieving the country’s long-term development aspirations as embodied in the Rwanda Vision 2020 and the Millennium Development Goals.