The Council of Ministers of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) held its 1st meeting at the Serena Hotel Kigali, Rwanda 5th April, 2018. This crucial meeting was preceded by the GVTC Board of Directors meeting held on the 4th April 2018 at Serena Hotel to examine the working documents submitted to the Ministers for approval.
The meeting was attended by Hon. Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities of the Republic of Uganda, Hon. Vincent Munyeshyaka, the Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Rwanda; Hon. Claire Kamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board and member of the Cabinet; and Mr. José Ilanga Lofonga, the Director General of Forest Resources representing the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Hon. Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Rwanda welcomed the Ministers in his address and official opening of the Council session. The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities of the Republic of Uganda reiterated Uganda’s commitment to the regional transboundary collaboration as an engine of biodiversity conservation in the greater Virunga landscape. The representative of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Democratic Republic of Congo underscored the importance of conservation and called upon Partner States to develop and strengthen appropriate legal instruments that will create conducive environment for transboundary collaboration.
At the end of the meeting, few important recommendations were elaborated, among others, the election of Hon. Vincent Munyeshyaka of Rwanda, as the President of the Council of Ministers and of Hon. Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, as the Raporteur of the Council of Ministers for the two coming years. The Members of the Council agreed upon some practical arrangements to fast track the ratification process of the GVTC Treaty, on the commitment of their respective Governments to support GVTC transboundary collaboration efforts so that the Greater Virunga Landscape may be effectively conserved.
The Members of the Council of Ministers meeting noticed the achievements performed by GVCT during the previous years, through transboundary collaboration that facilitated the increase of mountain gorilla and elephants populations. They also agreed on the importance of commitment of their respective Governments and of other Development Partners to financially support GVTC. In this regard, the next Council Ministers meeting is scheduled in June 2018 to deal with practical policies related to the financial sustainability of GVTC. Indeed, the operations of GVTC as well as the implementation of its projects are largely dependent on financial support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands through its Embassy based in Kigali.
Before the closure of the session, a delegation from the Embassy of the Netherlands based in Kigali joined the Council Ministers Meeting and discussed with the state representatives from the GVTC Partner States.
GVTC Communications Service
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