RDB’s Rica Rwigamba pledges to reinforce legal framework to enhance Virunga Transboundary Collaboration, as new chair
The Rwanda Development Board’s (RDB) Head of Tourism and Conservation, Rica Rwigamba, recently took over as new chairperson of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC).
GVTC also stands as a Mechanism for strategic, transboundary, collaborative management of the Greater Virunga Landscape in three counties namely; Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was set up to effectively conserve and manage the rare mountain gorillas and their habitat. The institutions that manage it include; the Rwanda Development Board, Uganda Wildlife Authority and Congolese Institute of Conservation and Nature-ICCN as they are the parc authorities in the different countries. A Technical Executive Secretariat has its headquarters in Kigali and ensures the running of activities of this collaboration.
The head of Tourism and Conservation in RDB, Rica Rwigamba takes over as GVTC Chairperson following the end of the term of her colleague, Dr. Wilungula of the Congolese Institute for Conservation of Nature (ICCN).
Rwigamba mentioned that she would work on law enforcement to ensure better management of the wildlife ecosystems in the region. “I will strengthen the achievements we have already registered. I will work towards having a legal mechanism like a treaty signed by all the countries to enhance collaboration,” she said.
“We can enhance tourism development in the Virunga area by diversifying our products as a region so that we increase length of stay in this very rich landscape that we share,” she added.
In 2012 alone, Rwanda received 28,483 visitors for gorilla trekking only. The Greater Virunga Landscape is estimated to have 880 Mountain Gorillas, which accounts for almost half of the total number of the primates in the world.
Note to the editor:
Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration is a Mechanism for strategic, transboundary, collaborative management of the Greater Virunga Landscape. Set up by ICCN, RDB and UWA with their partners in the region, it started with ranger collaboration to protect mountain gorillas in Mgahinga, Bwindi, Virunga and Volcanoes NPs in 1991. Later it has expanded in scope (tourism, community conservation and research and monitoring). The area also now extends to central and north Virunga (DRC), Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki NPs (Uganda). The Executive Secretariat sits from 2008 in Kigali to coordinate and link stakeholders on behalf of the Protected Area Authorities.