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Introduction

Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration is a Mechanism for strategic, transboundary, collaborative management of the Greater Virunga Landscape. Set up by ICCN, RDB and UWA with their partners in the region, it started with ranger collaboration to protect mountain gorillas in Mgahinga, Bwindi, Virunga and Volcanoes NPs in 1991. Later it has expanded in scope (tourism, community conservation and research and monitoring). The area also now extends to central and north Virunga (DRC), Queen Elizabeth, Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki NPs (Uganda). The Executive Secretariat sits from 2008 in Kigali to coordinate and link stakeholders on behalf of the Protected Area Authorities.

Milestones

From the informal interactions of park staff across borders to the pending legalization of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration, these are the milestones in transboundary collaboration:

22nd September 2015: Signing of the Treaty the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration on Wildlife Conservation and Tourism Development, in Kinshasa (DRC);

2015: Signing of a 3 year funding agreement (Aug’15-Jul’18) between GVTC and the Ministry of Foreign Trade & Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, through the Netherlands Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda (USD 3,875,000), Kigali 28th August 2015;

2015: Consultations and negations between Experts from the three partner States to harmonize views and comments on the dratf of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration Treaty, at Legacy Hotel, in Kigali, 19th-21st March & 13th-14th May 2015;

2015: Start point of collaboration & partnership between GVTC and Clemson University (USA) aimed at GVTC reinforcing so that it may become an information center of excellence for decision-makers, managers, researchers and other stakeholders for conservation in the Greater Virunga Lanscape;

2014-2015: Active participation into regional and international conferences organized by Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP);

2014: The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) through the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) acknowledged the progress made by GVTC in natural resources and biodiversity conservation in the Greater Virunga Landscape;

2013: Signing of an agreement between GVTC and the Government of Rwanda aimed at establishing the Head Quarters of GVTC Executive Secretariat in Kigali (Rwanda);

2011: Legalization of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration through a treaty signed by the Heads of State of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Uganda. This milestone is the process and signatures are pending;

2010: The Five-year Transboundary Strategic Plan is elaborated and refined;

2009: The Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration is institutionalized through the Inter-Ministerial Boad (DRC, Rwanda &Uganda);

2008: Rubavu Ministerial Declaration for the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration ;

2008: Establishment of a fully functioning Executive Secretariat, temporarily based in Kigali (Rwanda), to coordinate the implementation of the 10-Year Transboundary Strategic Plan;

2007: Procurement of four years of funding from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to implement the Transboundary Collaboration and support revenue sharing and conservation enterprises across the Greater Virunga Lanscape;

2006: Ten-Year Transboundary Strategic Plan authorizing the establishment of a permanent secretariat;

2006: Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding between the three Protected Areas Authorities on the Collaborative Conservation of the Greater Albertine Rift Transboundary protected Area Network;

2005: Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding of Goma on Tourism Revenue Sharing from the Transboundary Gorilla Tourism Groups;

2004: Trilateral Memorandum of Understanding between the three Protected Areas Authorities on the Collaborative Conservation of the Central Albertine Rift Transboundary Protected Area Network.

Mandate

The GVTC is guided by a ten-year strategic plan as well as a five-year implementation plan which sets as a goal the improved conservation of species, habitats, and ecological services contributing to increased socio-economic benefits, through effective transboundary collaboration.

The Executive Secretariat is mandated to raise funds on behalf of the three protected areas to support transboundary initiatives. Currently, the Executive Secretariat is implementing a four-year project funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands specific for enhancing transboundary collaboration, revenue sharing mechanisms and community enterprises.

As dictated by the current strategic plan, the geographical parameters for the work of the GVTC include the transboundary ecosystem of the Central Albertine Transfrontier Protected Area Network shared by eight protected areas including: Parc National des Virunga and Sarambwe Nature Reserve in DRC; Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Semuliki National Park and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

Vision

The Central Albertine Rift Transfrontier Protected Area network together with surrounding landscape conserved sustainably

Goals

Sustainable conservation of the Central Albertine Rift biodiversity for long term socio-economic development through strategic transboundary collaborative management

Objectives of the Collaboration

- Collaboration for improved transboundary conservation of natural resources
- Ensuring improved and coordinated landscape level planning and management of natural resources
- Sharing of skills and expertise
- Benefit and cost sharing across borders
- Ensuring all encompassing research and information management

Governance

- The foundation of the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration is founded on transboundary teams working from the political and policy level to technical level.
- Council of Ministers(policy level)
- Transboundary Core Secretariat(Implementation level)
- Transboundary Executive Secretariat(Technical level)

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GVTC organization structure

Board Members

Directors
- Mrs. Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer/RDB and Chairperson of GVTC Board)
- Dr. Andrew Ggunga Seguya (Executive Director, UWA)
- Rev.Pasteur Cosma Wilungula Bolongelwa (Administrateur Directeur Général, ICCN)

Technical Designates
- Telesphore Ngoga(fRDB)
— Edgar Buhanga ( UWA)
- Joseph Mapilanga (ICCN -RDC)
Advisor:
- Anna Behm Masozera ( ICGP)
Organizational Structure

Staff

- [Dr Muamba Tshibasu Georges, Executive Secretary)
- [Juvenal Mukeshimana, Executive Secretary Assistant)
- [ Mr Fidele Ruzigandekwe,Deputy Executive Secretary for Programs)
- [ Mrs. Grace Kyomuhendo Byaruhanga,Deputy Executive Secretary-Finance & Administration)
- [Mr. Byamukama James ;Programmes Manager)
- [Mr. Benjamin Nyange, Information Analyst)
- [Mr. Ismael Ochen Ochen, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer)
- [Mr. David Karuhanga, Legal Advisor)
- [Mr Pierre Ruhumuriza, Administration and Finance Officer)
- [Mrs. Lea Mukeshimana, Accountant)
- Ms. Elyse Ukobizaba, Programme Assistant
- [Mr Vincent Mukwege Buhendwa, Communications Officer)
- [Mr Emmanuel Uwimana Rugira, Driver and Logistics Assistant)
- [Mrs. Jacquéline Majina, Receptionist)]