$90m needed for conservation project

Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are mobilising funds to the tune of $92m, for managing Virunga-Bwindi gorilla trans-boundary.

Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are mobilising funds to the tune of $92m, for managing Virunga-Bwindi gorilla trans-boundary.

Tom Sengalama, the regional coordinator of the Kigali-based Greater Virunga Trans-boundary Collaboration Secretariat, said the amount is the total budget reflected in the organizations’ 10-year Trans-boundary Strategic Plan (TSP).

However, the countries have so far manage to raise US$ 6m only.“We need more money because we have a big challenge but we are working on different strategies to raise it,” Sengalama told The New Times.

The trans-boundary protected area includes; Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in DRC, Mgahinga and Bwindi National Parks, both in Uganda.

“The rest of the money to implement different aspects of the strategic plan is being solicited through fundraising, but there are no clear promises.”

He said that fundraising was an on-going process of negotiating with different donors. 

This partnership among field staff from the three countries started informally 15 years ago until 2006 when the 10-year strategic plan was developed and agreed upon.

In 2008, a secretariat was established to coordinate the implementation of the strategic plan with offices in Kigali, but it is only early this year that the three countries’ line ministers met in Kigali and signed a ministerial document recognizing the secretariat as an inter-state agency.

Benefits for this cooperation include, harmonised landscape planning and management, harmonised tourism policies, coordinated monitoring of illegal activities, joint fundraising for conservation as well as improved monitoring of wildlife across the three countries.

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