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Mr. Fidele Ruzigandekwe, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) performed a mission held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 17-19 September 2015 which followed the UNEP’s invitation addressed to GVTC and a request to make a presentation on the transboundary collaboration in one day event held on 18 September 2015, in the premises of the African Union located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This event, known as the “Fridays of the Commission” was organized by the United Nations’ Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) and focusing on the petition by Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security to the United Nations General Assembly, requesting that September 9 be declared “World Great Apes Day.”

GRASP is a unique alliance of 100 national governments, United Nations agencies, conservation organizations, research institutions and private companies, with a mandate to ensure the long-term survival of highly endangered great apes species and their habitats in Africa and Asia.

The petition by Sierra Leone will be discussed in the context of the Decision of the African Union EX.CL/Dec.832 (XXV) on African Wild Flora and Fauna Conservation and Illegal Trade in Wildlife and the decisions of the Brazzaville Conference on Illegal Exploitation and Illicit Trade in Wild Flora and Fauna in Africa.

September 9 is the date when over 30 nations committed to countering the threats facing great apes by signing the Kinshasa Declaration on Great Apes in 2005. Sierra Leone is a charter partner of GRASP, which was specifically asked by its respective Government to take the lead on building political consensus on the petition.
In this event, GRASP was represented by its Program Coordinator, Mr. Douglass Cress and the event was chaired by H.E. Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the AU Commission.

GVTC Communication Service