On Thursday, 4th August 2016, Dr. Muamba Tshibasu Georges, GVTC Executive Secretary accompanied by Ms. Grace Kyomuhendo Byaruhanga, Deputy Executive Secretary for Administration and Finance; Mr. James Byamukama , Programs Manager , and Mr. Juvénal Mukeshimana, Executive Secretary Assistant, were received by Honorable Minister, Professor Kamuntu Ephraim, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities , of the Republic of Uganda.
The objectives of this meeting was to share with the new Minister much more about GVTC background, its mandate and challenges in order to request for his support to find proper solutions. Among the challenges as it was explained by the Executive Secretary of GVTC, a part the Treaty which is not yet ratified by the Partner states which delays its effective implementations, he mentioned: (1)Uncoordinated wildlife and tourism policies and regulations; (2)Presence of several conservation agencies with overlapping mandates but uncoordinated in their implementation leading to conflicts and unsustainable conservation efforts; (3)Corruption within some wildlife and tourism development agencies and institutions which has made fighting wildlife crime very difficult; (4)Financial challenges to implement the Transboundary Strategic Plan, as of now the only source of GVTC Funds is the donors, mainly the Netherlands Government.
Based on the Panafricanisme and regional integration, socio-economic transformation, Honorable Minister used them in the context of GVTC and appreciated the work that GVTC is doing for conserving for this generation and for the future generation. For the issues raised, regarding the Treaty ratification, it was explained that the delay was due to the fact that the cabinet was not in place, now that it is operational, they are going to follow the normal procedures and that they don’t anticipate any problem.
For the coordination, policies and regulations harmonization, they understand the relevance and they support fully the idea of collaboration and coordination of efforts even if they need more information on this issue they commit for working together to overcome challenges
For financial contribution, despite it was clarified before the treaty signing that Uganda would be a member only if there would not be financial engagements during 3years after the Treaty signing, they will try to see if there is a possibility of a voluntary contribution.
For the organs of the Executive Secretariat, they commit to fast-track the setup of all functional organs. For the issue of corruption, they requested GVTC to provide further information, which will allow looking into this matter appropriately.
The Minister emphasized his willing to see GVTC working towards improvement of the welfare of the population around the park and this involves the demarcation of the protected areas, diversification of tourism products which can help to create jobs.
An invitation to attend the ceremony of naming baby mountain gorillas was extended to Honorable Minister, who promised to discuss further internally and that opportunity would be used to hold the Council of the Ministers in Kigali alongside that naming ceremony.
Dr. Akankwasa Barirega, Ag commissioner of Wildlife conservation, Mr. Edgar Buhanga, Deputy Director in charge of planning at UWA and Mr. Sengoma were part of these discussions which took one hour and half at the office of the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities of the Republic of Uganda.
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