On Monday 27th, 2017, GVTC, in partnership with the consortium institutions on NICHE Project from Search for Common Ground, Vrije Uniniversiteit Amsterdamn and Ghent University, organized a 3-days workshop on the above mentioned project at Muhabura Hotel, in Musanze(Rwanda). Participants to this workshop are from state conservation institutions from DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda; academic and research institutions from the three countries and the Netherlands, as members of the NICHE consortium.
The Netherlands Initiative for Capacity Building in High Education (NICHE) will enable GVTC to extend its network with education and research institutions, among them Ruhengeri Institute of Higher Learning (INES-Rwanda), Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation (ITFC) of Mbarara University of Science and Technology(Uganda), and Observatoire Vulcanologique de Goma (DRC).
Through the NICHE Project, GVTC will also establish collaboration arrangements with training and educational providers at post-secondary school level, namely University of Goma (DRC), University of Rwanda/College of Agricultural Management(KCCEM), Rwanda; Makerere University, School of Forestry, Geographical Studies and Tourism, Uganda.
The above mentioned partnerships with education, research and training institutions will facilitate the achievement of the NICHE objectives and outcomes aiming at strengthening their capabilities within the Greater Virunga Landscape (GVL), as well as achieving coordinated development and provision of education, training and research services in natural resources management and conflict resolution, and mediation over the management and sharing of these resources, with demonstrated impacts on the stability and inclusive growth in the GVL. To achieve those outcomes, special attention should be given to the management of Forest and Parks wildlife, water, lands, oil and mining resources.
The3-days NICHE workshop aims at (1) sharing ideas and expectations on the project with GVTC network partners; (2)introducing the project partners and their expertise to key stakeholders; (3) introducing the project to key stakeholders and jointly discuss ideas and expectations; (4) introducing baseline instruments and start baseline data gathering; (5) conducting joint planning of project activities for the first year.
The welcome remarks were given by Dr Georges Muamba Tshibasu, the GVTC Executive Secretary, who recalled the major challenges to be overcome to ensure the sustainability and rational use of the natural resources contained within the Greater Virunga Landscape(GVL), in particular biodiversity loss, wildlife crimes, demographic pressure on protected areas, climate change effects, various conflicts over the access to natural resources for the survival populations living alongside the parks, persistent armed conflicts, the growing population density in a context of poverty, etc. Dr Georges Muamba Tshibasu thanked the initiative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who included in its cooperation programs with DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda, the capacity-building projects for human resources in natural resources management and biodiversity conservation, through GVTC and its partners in the field.
On behalf of the Mrs. Belise Kariza, the Chef Tourism Officer of RDB, and Chairperson of the GVTC Board, Dr Tony Mudakikwa thanked the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the support provided to GVTC to organize this workshop. Indeed, he pointed out that GVTC has become a well established intergovernmental institution offering opportunities for the enhancing of the natural resources and ecosystems management. Dr Tony mentioned how the conflict resolution within the GVL may sustain local population’s efforts for socioeconomic development within the region, since natural resources management is one of the key of stability and peaceful world in the future.
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