The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), yesterday, assumed the chair of the Greater Virunga Trans-boundary Collaboration (GVTC), an initiative established to protect wildlife within the Virunga Massif that covers Rwanda, Uganda and DRC.
The Virunga massif is the home of the Mountain Gorillas.
The handover ceremony took place in Kigali with Uganda’s Dr Andrew Ggunga Seguya passing on the baton to Cosma Wilungula of DRC.
The chairmanship of the body is rotated annually among the three countries.
Before handing over, technical representatives from the three countries discussed the legalization process of the initiative and how development around the communities surrounding the Massif can be undertaken, without compromising the environment.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, urged the incoming leader to be innovative.
“It’s imperative, as a new leader, to come up with something – like new innovations – that will keep the collaboration exciting,” she said.
Nsanzabaganwa pledged continued support from the Government of Rwanda.
Fred Smith, who represented the Netherland’s embassy that funds the initiative, said that the collaboration should be looked at through various perspectives, not only through tourism development.
“Its not only collaborating in economic and tourism, but it also fosters political cooperation between three countries by enhancing security and mutual understanding.”
GVTC is a mechanism that was initiated by three protected area authorities including Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Uganda Wildlife Authority and Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature(ICCN) of DRC, to protect the Massif.