Gov`t re-affirms support for Virunga Treaty

KIGALI - The Minister of Trade and Industry, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, has re-assured activists of the government’s commitment to support the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) to attain a legal status.
REASSURED; Monique Nsanzabaganwa (File photo)
REASSURED; Monique Nsanzabaganwa (File photo)

KIGALI - The Minister of Trade and Industry, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, has re-assured activists of the government’s commitment to support the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) to attain a legal status.

Stakeholders are in the country to review the treaty establishing GVTC, a body that aims at conserving, managing environmental resources and promoting tourism in protected areas of Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC, especially the Virunga Park, which is home to hundreds of the only surviving mountain gorillas in the world.

The Virunga area is shared between the three countries. 
About 20 delegates from the three countries are meeting in Kigali to discuss and finalize the Draft Treaty for the institutionalisation of a fully-fledged GVTC Secretariat.

“I want to re-assure you that we intend to engage all the concerned parties to ensure that this treaty becomes operational” Nsanzabaganwa told participants.

Apophia Atukunda Muhimbura, a representative from Uganda Wildlife Authority, who also doubles as president of the GVTC, said that when the draft becomes a treaty, it will institutionalise a mechanism of joint management of the Greater Virunga between member states.

“When the treaty acquires legal status, we will be able to engage in trans-boundary law enforcement activities, fundraise for a common goal and contact donors to develop the project for tourism attraction,” Muhimbura said.
She also highlighted the challenges faced in managing the trans-boundary protected areas.

When the experts approve the draft, it will be forwarded to the Justice Ministers in the respective countries and then passed on to the Heads of State for approval.

Among the stakeholders who attended the meeting was John Gara, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rica Rwigamba, Head of Tourism and Conservation at RDB, as well as Ugandan and DRC Ambassadors.

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