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On Monday the 20th June 2016, at La Palme Hotel in Musanze(Rwanda), GVTC held its regular meeting with chiefs warden park of the Greater Virunga Landscape(GVL), shared by DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda, three member countries of the Transboundary Collaboration, GVTC staff members, and other stakeholders and policy-makers including the International Gorilla Conservation Programme. During this meeting, park wardens shared conservation experiences and discussed the interventions implemented within their respective countries and protected areas, as well as challenges they are facing in their mission. Their recommendations and inputs given by participants will constitute a precious document to be submitted by GVTC to the next GVTC Board meeting.

It should be remembered that the state conservation institutions within the three countries are Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature(ICCN), Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).

The second round of the meeting was held at Kinigi(Musanze), focused on the Regional Technical Committee for law enforcement and security, bringing together GVTC staff members and its conservation partners, namely the country delegates of ICCN, RDB, UWA, IGCP country representatives, Interpol and Directorate of Public Prosecutions from Kampala(Uganda).

The signing of the Transboundary Collaboration Treaty between the three countries has been reported as a crucial achievement opening to other opportunities. We should notice that the ratification process of that treaty is on-going in the three member countries to enhance the cross-border collaboration among the three sister countries and their populations.

A delegation from the Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy in Kigali toot part to the meeting where the park wardens of the Greater Virunga Landscape shared by their respective countries presented to participants and GVTC partners, including the Netherlands Embassy, the conservation context, experiences, performances, and gains of the transboundary collaboration, while addressing challenges they have been facing during the last years to perform their missions. Those challenges are part of recommendations to be capitalized for the improvement of transboundary collaboration.

Law enforcement and security was mentioned as a mechanism able to facilitate joint patrols, information and investigative reports sharing. The park wardens have recommended the continuation of the relevant data collection within the GVL so that those data contribute to the advocacy activities and decision making for the management and conflict prevention in the cross-border areas shared by the three countries. Of course, it was noted that stability, peace and sustainable development are major pillars to promote conservation of natural recourses and tourism.

The Kinigi meeting was partially concluded by the presentation of the draft of the first Annual Conservation Status Report in the GVL to participants who enriched the report with comments for improvement. After that session, two field visits were organized to a water group management in Cyanika, a cross-border station between Uganda and Rwanda, and to joint patrols operating around the Mgahinga National Park (Uganda) which borders with Rwanda and Uganda.

Back to La Palme Hotel, in Musanze, other participants continued their meeting to update the Regional Technical Committee of law enforcement and security, by focusing on the minutes of the previous committee meeting (held from the 3rd to the 4th March 2014). The the minutes were adopted before sharing information on illegal activities by country within the protected areas, and presenting the findings of the study conducted by GVTC during the two last months on the harmonization of policies and legislation to fight wildlife crime in the Greater Virunga Landscape.

GVTC Communication Service.