Gathered in Kibuye, Rwanda from 20-22nd February 2013, the team of Greater Virunga Protected Areas’ chief park wardens vowed their commitment to strengthen the transboundary collaboration in conserving the Greater Virunga landscape-a network of seven contiguous national parks bordering Rwanda, DR Congo and Uganda. The meeting’s aim was to draw a general planning for the multiyear Netherlands’ funding of Euro 3,9million obtained through Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration-GVTC.
“We gathered field staffs so that we plan efficiently on how to use the 3-year phase II grant we received from the Netherlands Embassy Kigali to support our conservation efforts” said Teddy Musabe, GVTC Deputy Executive Secretary while opening the meeting.
The concerned parties agreed on key priorities for this grant which ends in 2016. A stress was put on water quality and quantity management and provision in the landscape, to speed up the treaty process and legalization, foster tourism and Community-private partnership, build capacity of partners in extractive industries as well as finalizing the MoU on transboundary gorilla tourism.
Chief Park wardens expressed their satisfaction. "It is of vital to plan based on field needs “said Olinga Moses chief warden in Semuliki National Park of Uganda. Present from Uganda also are Pontius Ezuma and Christopher Masaba from Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation area. Dr Muamba, ICCN head of cooperation and Mushenzi Norbert and Ephrem Balole both senior officials of Virunga National Park were representing the Congolese side while Francois Bizimungu and Prosper Uwingeli of RDB were leading Rwanda side.
The national parks forming Greater Virunga massif are: Virunga of DR Congo, Volcanoes of Rwanda, Mgahinga, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Queen Elisabeth, Rwenzoli and Semuliki of Uganda .
Born from informal collaboration and now toward being formalized by the three countries through a treaty, GVTC as a branch of Uganda Wildlife Authority, Rwanda Development board and Congolese Institute for Conservation and Nature, has successfully gathered the three countries to create sustainable peace of wildlife in the Greater Virunga massif.
“Political disputes will end one day but conservation will never end” said Dr. Cosma Wilungula, chairman of GVTC Board and Director General of Congolese Institute for Conservation and Nature.