|Friday, 23rd September, 2011||
By Herbert Ssempogo
A treaty to guide the trans-border management of flora, fauna and other tourist attractions between Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo is in the offing.
The three countries are currently involved in consultations regarding the implementation of the Greater Virunga Trans boundary Collaboration (GVTC).
When it is finalized, the respective Governments would jointly solve trans-boundary problems such as poaching and illegal hunting. Others are rebel activities within the protected areas, human-wildlife conflicts and wildlife diseases among others.
It would also pave way for joint activities such as monitoring and research, development of new tourism products, community conservation interventions and awareness creation activities.
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in the DRC, Mgahinga Gorilla, Bwindi Impenetrable, Queen Elizabeth, Semliki and Rwenzoril Mountains National Parks in Uganda are the areas, which the treaty could cover.
The main parties under the Greater Virunga Trans-boundary Collaboration are Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Institute of Congo for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN).
According to a Uganda Wildlife Authority statement, absence of the collaborative treaty has affected fundraising efforts for the activities of the Trans boundary Secretariat. It is in Kigali, Rwanda.
“Most donors are not comfortable with funding a partnership that has not been officially recognized by the respective governments,” the statement read in part. However, Uganda will soon hold a stakeholders meeting to be followed by a Cabinet Paper.
Rwanda, which is reportedly ready, awaits Uganda and DRC to complete their consultative processes.
“DRC on its part reported that that they had finalized consultations on the draft Treaty, and were awaiting cabinet approval of the Treaty,” it said.
In 2008 the Netherlands Embassy in Kigali provided funding worth 4 million euros to the Collaboration for a 4-year project in spite of the absence of a formal treaty. It is meant to cater for the community conservation component of the trans-boundary Strategic Plan.
The funding, which was solicited for together with support from International Gorilla Conservation Project (IGCP), focuses on exploring ways in which lives of people near protected areas could be improved.
UWA, RDB and ICCN pledged to contribute some funds towards trans boundary work by facilitating meetings held in their respective countries and supporting the Secretariat.