Wednesday, 13 December 2006


MK: Dear readers,
Please find below the press release for the new project that I am managing at UNDP in Rwanda. Right now, it is the biggest project at our country office.

Kigali, December 12, 2006: On Thursday, Dec. 14th, the Ministry of Lands, Environment, Forestry, Water and Mines (MINITERE) will publicly launch a new Global Environment Facility (GEF) project titled “Strengthening Biodiversity Conservation Capacity in the Forest Protected Area System of Rwanda.” The 6-year project, funded by $5.4 million of support from the UNDP branch of the GEF, is being announced during a half-day meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kigali, with partners and stakeholders attending from across the country.

Known as PAB (Protected Areas Biodiversity), this project represents a strongly collaborative effort including national ministries, districts, NGOs and local associations who will work together to strengthen the conservation and management of Rwanda’s extraordinary forested parks. The Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park are globally renown for their unique wildlife - including mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and numerous rare monkeys, birds, and plants – and represent a major commitment by the government and people of Rwanda to the great variety of nature (biodiversity) found in its mountain forests. The global attraction of Rwanda’s wildlife is at the base of an increasing ecotourism, which now represents one of the fastest growing sectors of the nation’s economy. The mountain forests of Rwanda also provide important ecological functions of water catchment, maintaining water supply, preventing soil erosion, and could provide significant hydro-electric power. These services benefit a large proportion of the country.

The project PAB is led by the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA) of MINITERE, in close collaboration with the Rwandan Office of Tourism and National Parks of MINICOM, districts surrounding the parks, community-level associations, and non-governmental conservation organizations, and will be executed with support from the UNDP GEF. This extensive and diverse set of partners indicates the importance of integrating conservation of wildlife and parks with the well-being and support of rural communities.

Emphasis of the PAB project will be on building the capacity of stakeholders at multiple levels to effectively conserve and manage wildlife, the parks, and natural resources surrounding them. In particular, the project will (1) strengthen management of the two montane forested parks through applied research, monitoring and evaluation, (2) increase local and district capacity to plan and co-manage appropriate development activities on lands neighboring protected areas, and (3) strengthen the central government’s institutional capacity to finance, monitor, and manage all protected areas.

In addition to improved forest conservation, the project is expected to result in increased tourism and associated economic activities, better management of trees, bamboo, soils and other natural resources in zones surrounding the parks, maintained water volume and quality essential to the entire nation, and increased income and employment in targeted neighbouring communities.

Thursday’s opening at the Intercontinental Hotel, running from 9am to 12:30pm, will feature opening remarks by the Honourable Minister in Charge of Lands and Environment Patricia Hajabakiga, UNDP Resident Representative Moustapha Soumaré, and the Director General of the Rwandan Office of Tourism and National Parks.

For further information, please contact Jean de Dieu Kayiranga (Information Officer) in Kigali, tel. (250)08505778 or Melanie Kotsopoulos, GEF Programme Analyst (08669000).

1 comment:

  1. Keep up the good work Melanie. It sounds like your program will impact the lives of many people today and in the future.