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On Saturday the 21st March 2015, , the Consultations on the Draft Treaty on the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration on Wildlife Conservation and Tourism Development in the three partner states, i.e. Rwanda, Uganda & the Democratic Republic of Congo ended at Grand Legacy Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda.

This Treaty project will provide GVTC with its legal personality in the coming days started ten years ago and experts from the three countries have been working on it to harmonize comments and recommendations submitted on the 23 articles of the Treaty during the previous sessions. The consultations which took place in Kigali from the 19th to the 21st March at harmonizing those comments and recommendations and each partner state sent its delegates. Those experts are from different Protected Areas Authorities of the Greater Virunga Landscape including the Rwanda Development Board (RDB-Rwanda), Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA-Uganda) and Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN-RDC). The experts’ works has been backed by the strategic support from other experts delegations of the ministry of justice, ministry of foreign affairs, ministry of tourism and antiquities, as well as experts from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Regions (ICGLR) and the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL).

The three partner states has sent their delegations at those high level consultations and the negotiation process took place in a atmosphere of conviviality where the consensus were favored by moderators and facilitators. This way of working has been fruitful to reach the expected results. The draft of treaty project includes preamble, definition of key concepts, the purpose and the scope of implementation, principles, objectives and membership quality, rights and obligations of partner states, etc. The three day sessions at Grand Legacy Hotel in Kigali have focused on such matters to harmonize comments and points of view of experts from the partner states.

During the consultations, experts worked hard to harmonize comments on the institutional framework conceived by treaty, including the Board, the Executive Secretariat hosted by Rwanda and currently managed by Dr Georges Muamba Tshibasu. The Executive Secretariat of GVTC is a mechanism aimed at implementing the decisions and policies made by the Board for sustainable conservation and the communities’ livelihood improving in the Greater Virunga Landscape.

In conclusion, the Treaty final provisions have been discussed and amendments were submitted thanks to the spirit of consensus which led the consultations. Experts agreed on the fact that they will work hard on the final document so that Line ministers of the partner states may endorse it. This treaty is of great importance and the three countries will sign it in a near future to allow GVTCC and its partners to go ahead in the implementation of conservation initiatives in the Greater Virunga Landscape for the benefit of the communities of the three countries.

At the end of these three day-consultations, Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi, Chef of Tourism Department at RDB Rwanda, President of GVTC Board and Chairperson for these consultations thanked all the experts from the three countries for their active participation as well as the work they performed. The consultations ended the evening of Saturday the 21st in an optimistic and enthusiastic way. Experts and organizers as well as facilitators were decided to continue their collaboration and stimulate their states to work for more commitment for a sustainable conservation and the development of the tourism in Rwanda, Uganda and DRC.

GVTC Communication Service.


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