The Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) was invited to participate in LEAF Project workshop (Lakes Edward and Albert Integrated Fisheries and Water Resources Management), organized in Rubavu (Rwanda),from the 14th to the 15th March 2017, by LELSAP, Zero Basin Initiative to contribute to the roadmap aiming at implementing the new LEAF project. Representatives of GVTC at this workshop were namely Dr Georges Muamba Tshibasu, the Executive Secretary, and Benjamin Nyange Musole, the Information Analyst.
LEAF is a transboundary project shared by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda, with the coordination hosted by NELSAP-CUP in Kigali.
The main objectives of this workshop were as follows: (1) identify area for possible technical support or partnership with other organizations in data collection, fisheries survey, etc.; (2) discuss the need for data and information systems of fisheries; (3) discuss the eventual partnership support with other institutions.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of GVTC, Dr Georges Muamba Tshibasu, presented GVTC as an intergovernmental organization between DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda, covered by the treaty signed between the above-mentioned countries on the 30th October 2015. Dr Georges Muamba Thibasu focused also on GVTC objective to coordinate the collaboration and management of the Greater Virunga Landscape (GVL).
He then outlined the initiative for sharing information to efficiently support the management of the Lake Edward, by allowing and facilitating the implementation of some projects and initiatives aiming at natural resources management and biodiversity conservation. In this regard, GVTC is working on two axes: (1) technical framework for concerted management of Lake Edward on the Semliki River, in DRC.
This lake is so strategic in regard to natural resources and biodiversity, and is shared by DRC and Uganda;(2) a data collection on water resources within the landscape in collaboration with OVG(Observatoire Vulcanologique de Goma) and Institute of Tropical Forest(ITFC/Uganda) for the Lake Edward. In addition, GVTC has supported the INES-Ruhengeri Laboratory with equipment to improve the water quality within the region. Through this support, a database on water quality and quantity has been developed and will be housed by the GVTC Center of Excellence in Kigali(Rwanda).Finally, the GVTC Executive Secretary emphasized that the collaboration between GVTC and other regional organizations will provide them with tools to achieve the objectives of LEF project.
The presentation of GVTC was followed by other focused on (1) the LEAF components: (a) development of fishing and management of natural resources; (b) integrated management of water resources; (c) management and coordination of the project; (2) Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on the geographical situation of Lake Edward, problematic of fishing, data collection, results, and challenges; (3)NaFIRI Institute/Uganda on the existing fisheries data collection.
In their recommendations, participants suggested that GVTC as an intergovernmental framework contribute to the LEAF project in the following areas: (i)support the harmonization of ttransboundary laws for the fishery in lakes Albert & Edward; (ii) support the regulation of governments on fishery and biodiversity conservation in this area; (iii) support the development of information system (data collection tools), data to be stored and shared; (iv) support the expansion of water database applicable for both Lakes;(v) coordinate with FAO and other third parties in the implementation of mobile technology tools for data collection and the expected database.
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