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The Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) in partnership with the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has organized today a two-day meetings at Grand Legacy Hotel in Kigali(Rwanda) aimed at the GVTC Treaty comments harmonizing before this treaty may be signed on Saturday by the Ministers of the Three Countries (Rwanda, Uganda & DRC). The comments which are being harmonized were made by Experts from the three countries since 2010 on the GVTC treaty draft to enhance conservation of the biodiversity and improve livelihood of communities in the Greater Virunga Landscape.

Experts attending the meeting are from different ministries of Tourism & Conservation, Justice, Foreign Affairs, etc of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Transboundary collaboration in the Virunga-Bwindi landscape started in 1991 as an informal process involving the park rangers. Later, protected area authorities in the three countries (InstitutCongolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda Development Board (RDB) formerly ORTPN in Rwanda and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in Uganda have strengthened this initiative by signing on January 9th, 2004, a Trilateral Memorandum of Understanding on the collaborative conservation of the Central Albertine Rift Transfrontier protected area network.

GVTC is a mechanism for strategic, transboundary, collaborative management of the Greater Virunga Landscape (GVL). The Greater Virunga Landscape is part of the Central Albertine Rift (CAR) that covers the Eastern part of DRC, the Northern part of Rwanda and the Western part of Uganda. This area has been categorized by IUCN as a high biodiversity hotspot and ranked amongst the highest priority for conservation in Africa.

The objectives of the current meeting are to allow experts of the three countries to harmonize their respective comments on the draft treaty so that Ministers in charge of conservation and conservation may sign the GVTC treaty during the closing ceremony on Saturday 21st March 2015.

Such a meeting is crucial for the conservation initiatives implemented by the state members for conservation in the Virunga Landscape and as well as for GVTC which is provided with a staff from the three states and set up in Kigali (Rwanda) as the hosting country since 2008.

The delegations attending the meetings to harmonize the comments on the treaty draft are from the three countries. Dr Andre Seguya, the Executive Director of UWA and GVTC Board Member was the moderator and represented the Uganda side with other experts, among them Mr. James Lutalo, delegate of The Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities in Uganda.

Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi, GVTC Board Chairperson and Chief Tourism Officer at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB/Rwanda) and GVTC Board Chairperson welcomed participants and Experts from the state members and wished them to perform a fruitful work. It should be noticed that RDB was represented by other experts, among them Télesphore Ngoga and Francois Bizimungu who are also GVTC member Board.

The DRC side was represented by Mr. Albert Sebagenzi, from the Tourism Ministry and other experts from DRC are supposed to attend the meeting this afternoon.
Dr Georges Muamba Tshibasu, who is the current Executive Secretary of GVTC warmly, welcomed Experts and other technical designates from the Protected Areas Authorities of Rwanda, Uganda and Uganda.

These regional consultations on the GVTC treaty signing are sponsored by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of the Norway as well as the International Gorilla Conservation Program.

GVTC Communication Service