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On the 12th July 2016, at GVTC Headquarters, GVTC held a meeting with two staff members of the Center of Excellence in Biodiviersity (CoEB) & Natural Resources Management of the University of Rwanda. Mrs Beth Kaplin, the Acting Director of the CoEB, and Mrs Jeannette Batamuliza, the Director Assistant, were invited by GVTC to share the CoEB experience in collaboration with its nodes to ensure sustainable management of the region’s rich biodiversity.

In his remarks, Dr Georges Muamba Tshibasu, the Executive Secretary of GVTC, welcomed guests from Rwanda University and pointed out the GVTC is currently implementing its one center of excellence to ensure that roles and responsibilities entrusted to it by the three state partners are well fulfilled. Among those roles, he mentioned that GVTC has to generate, analyze and share information among stakeholders, researchers for a sustainable conservation of natural resources and biodiversity within the Greater Virunga Landscape. The Executive Secretary completed his remarks by wishing a fruitful collaboration and partnership between GVTC and CoEB to exchange experience and expertise in the implementation of the center of excellence for a sustainable conservation within the Greater Virunga Landscape.

Mr. Benjamin Musole Nyange, the GVTC Information analyst, took the floor and explained to GVTC guests, the content of the GVTC Center of Excellence that is being implemented, by focusing on the different steps or phases that have been achieved to ensure that stakeholders, researchers, and other partners in conservation will make profit of the center of excellence which is supposed to become a real clearing house set up by GVTC.

Mr. James Byamukama, the GVTC Program Manager, presented the links between the Annual Conservation Status Report in the Greater Virunga Landscape with the Center of Excellence to promote the monitoring and the conservation of key species within the landscape.

Mrs Beth Kaplin, the Acting Director of CoEB, explained how CoEB is working in partnership with the Ministry of Education in Rwanda, as well as with RDB, REMA and with other nodes involved in natural resources management and biodiversity conservation. Mrs. Beth Kaplin reminded that there are several centers of excellence within the region and each institution should know exactly what kind of center of excellence to implement and for what purpose. She focused on researches conducted by academic institution which have to fuel the center of excellence in terms of data collection, information analysis and sharing. She concluded by encouraging GVTC initiative to set up a center of excellence and accepted the collaboration between CoEB and GVTC, since GVTC will probably become one of the CoEB nodes.

It should be noticed that GVTC has been collaborating with academic and research institutions within the three countries to implement programs and conservation interventions for a sustainable development and improvement of living conditions of the populations living along the protected areas in the Greater Virunga Landscape.

GVTC Communication Service.