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, CHEPTORIS SAM, Ministry of Water and Environment of the Republic of Uganda who was with Mr. Paul Mafabi¸Director of Environment affairs and Mr. Jackson Twinomujuni, Commissionner of International and Transboundary water affairs. The purpose of this meeting, was based on the fact that in the GVTC mandate as per the Treaty, natural resources of the Greater Virunga Landscape are trans- ministries whether it is in Rwanda, DRC or Uganda. Whereas in DRC all the resources which are in the protected area are under the management of one institution in charge of conservation, in Uganda, the Fisheries department is under the Ministry of Agriculture, Water management is under the Ministry of Water and Environment, and flora and fauna are under the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities. This implies that there is need for GVTC to formally collaborate with all these ministries to find avenues for harmonization of laws and policies in order to get lasting solutions for better management of those resources . In this respect, GVTC shared with the Minister about its background, the mandate, the treaty especially the guiding principles, objectives and obligations of partner states. The GVTC Executive Secretary took the opportunity to share with Honorable Minister the challenges that GVTC faces including:
Differing wildlife and tourism policies and regulations in the 3 member states
Presence of several conservation agencies with overlapping mandates but uncoordinated in their implementation leading to conflicts and unsustainable conservation efforts.
Corruption within some wildlife and tourism development agencies and institutions which has made fighting wildlife crime very difficult.
Honorable Minister highlighted that they strongly support this initiative as it helps to deal with the challenges that they already encountered in their day to day work. After understanding how the uncoordinated efforts undermine natural resources conservation efforts, the Minister commended the development of an MoU in which GVTC and the Ministry would agree on areas of collaboration including sharing of information, monitoring. He said that an implementation plan should be prepared to allow the implementation of that MoU which will have been developed.
Honorable Minister, committed to appoint a focal point who will be in charge of this partnership of the Ministry and GVTC Executive Secretariat. After the internal discussion, the focal point will be communicated to GVTC and on the side of GVTC, Mr. James Byamukama, was nominated to be the focal point on this partnership. The Minister committed to provide full support to GVTC work.
Both the Minister and the Executive Secretary of GVTC were happy for this meeting which took one hour and which was considered as a starting point of a formal collaboration between the two institutions.
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