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From the 10th to the 11th August, GVTC organizes a validation workshop of Water4Virunga Under Elaboration Project, at Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, in Rubavu (Rwanda). Participants are from different state institutions, non-governmental, research institutes, etc. of the three countries and attained the workshop so that they may interact and exchange their experiences in water management, as well as contribute to the finalization of the Water4Virunga Under Elaboration Project.

The overall objective of Water4Virunga consists of contributing to the regional stability through an improved human security and inclusive growth. Water4Virunga aims also at conflicts transforming by increasing water access and improving the natural resources management within the Greater Virunga Landscape, through improved service delivery and dialogue.

As far as the methodology is concerned, As far as the methodology is concerned, Water4Virunga will apply an approach that is characterized by facilitation of dialogue and collaboration amongst stakeholders, at the appropriate administrative levels in order to decide on financing and joint implementation of water works or agreements and deal with competing water chains.

Water4Virunga will be funded by the Government of the Netherlands, and implemented by a consortium of actors (agencies) under GVTC umbrella which already has expertise in the domains of hydrological studies conducted within the Virunga Massif through financial and technical support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kigali.

Indeed, this project has been designed through a partnership made up by a consortium (MDF Training & Consultancy (Global), Wegeingen University and Research, Witteven + Boss and the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP)). The current project is focused on a concept that has evolved over the past nine months through discussions between consortium members and other potential partners, among others, the governmental and non-governmental key-agencies actively involved in natural resources management and conflicts mitigation, as well as community based organizations within the region. GVTC projects implementer partners are also invited to the workshop as well as the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kigali which is currently supporting a GVTC tri-annual project “Conserving the Greater Virunga”.

Participants are expected to express their opinions on the way they plan to collaborate with Water4Virunga Project and its holistic perspective in terms of objectives, methodologies, and activities.

Dr. Georges Muamba Tshibasu, the GVTC Executive Secretary, thanked participants for having attended this workshop focused on the validation of a huge and important project “Water4Virunga”. He also recalled the relevance of such a workshop addressing water concerns: water availability both in quality and quantity, water access, etc are strategic and core challenge in the region, and deserve particular attention from our three states(DRC, Rwanda & Uganda) as well as from development partners. As said Dr Georges Muamba, “water is a fundamental element for human life, for wildlife and domestic livestock, forest, ecosystems which provide essential services for human life and for life itself”.

GVTC Executive Secretary recalled that studies and investigations conducted by GVTC in the Great Virunga Massif demonstrated that there is a real concern of water availability in terms of quality and quantity, equal access for local populations living around the protected areas, and those factors have a negative impacts upon hygiene, health, family security, women and girls, sol fertilization, protection of ecosystems. This picture is clouded by an intensive population growth in some parts of the region, poverty, lack of governance in natural resources management, social inequalities, and moreover the climate change; all those factors are actually of concern today.

According to Dr Georges Muamba Tshibasu, the workshop has offered an adequate framework to point out essential issues on water management which is crucial, strategic, and vital. This workshop also allows participants to concert themselves to find out an adequate solutions pathway to the security and stability threats within the region. I cease this opportunity to congratulate the Netherlands for its technical and financial support to the current workshop.

For his part, Mr. Ian Vlaar, the 1st Secretary of the Netherlands Embassy in Kigali, recalled that more than a year, the Netherlands Embassy (in Kigali) decided that its regional program would be concentrated on some activities related to interventions aiming at stabilizing the region. The program is coordinated from the Netherlands Embassy in Kigali, and has the following components: water, food security,
reproductive health, human rights, justice, rule of law, etc. Mr. Ian Vlaar stressed that all regional programs should clearly link with stabilization and that is the reason why the Virunga Massif was selected (for the implementation of Water4Virunga Project) since it was noticed that water is one of the factors which contribute to conflicts, and at the same time, water is also an opportunity which may contribute to solve those conflicts. It is in these terms that the 1st Secretary described the scope and the focus of Water4Virunga Project.

Both speeches were followed by an introduction of participants and their respective institutions, and GVTC was introduced by Mr. James Byamukama, in charge of Programs.

Mrs. Anna Behm Masozera, IGCP Director, took the floor and briefed participants on Water4Virunga Project merits by stating how water may (1) improve life; (2) bring people together; (3) transform conflicts; and (4) contribute to regional stability. Then, Mr. Wellard Makambo, IGCP Program Manager, focused on water problem statement within the Virunga Massif shared by DRC, Rwanda, and Unganda.

. GVTC Communication Service