On Tuesday, July 31, 2018, at the Hill View Hotel Lake Kivu, in Gisenyi (Rwanda), GVTC organized a meeting for the members of Landscape Management Committee and Technical Working Group (TWG) to reflect on the 2017 Conservation Status Annual Report in the Greater Virunga Landscape (GVL).
The members of this committee are from the Authorities of Protected Areas, Academic and Research Institutions of the three member countries of GVTC, i.e. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda and Non-Governmental Organizations whose mandate is conservation.
During this meeting, Mr. James Byamukama, the GVTC Programs Manager, reminded the participants that the tool for measuring the continuous efforts of improved conservation, deployed by partners within the GVL, is the Annual Conservation Status Report (ACSR) that GVTC published since 2015. The discussions were fuelled by the results of researches carried out by GVTC as well as the work done by the Technical Working Group whose mandate is to collect, analyze and generate results or data that are subsequently validated by the Landscape Management Committee.
Particular emphasis was placed on the flagship species of the GVL, which are Mountain Gorillas and Elephants, selected to serve as ambassadors, icons or symbols for a defined habitat, with regard to a certain concern, campaign or environmental cause.
The purpose of this meeting was to present the draft of research results to the members of the Landscape Management Committed while the expected results include the revision and adoption of the results; the identification of the following ACSR steps, and the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders.
Improving conservation within the GVL faces some challenges or threats, including illegal poaching activities, charcoal use, multiple use of wood, encroachment of protected areas for agriculture expansion, habitat change for wildlife, climate change, population growth and its pressure around the protected areas, armed conflicts, Human-Wildlife conflicts, etc. These various challenges are mapped, for the most part, in the research results presented to the participants and discussed by them.
At the end of the presentations, participants split into three working groups so that they may comment deeply on the research findings and provide useful recommendations for the purpose of refining the next Annual Conservation Status Report in the Greater Virunga Lanscape.
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