United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

DRC, Rwanda and Uganda pledge to protect

The Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC), Rwanda and Uganda have launched an initiative to create a transboundary biosphere reserve to safeguard the very rich biodiversity they share, which provides the habitat of the great apes, particularly mountain gorillas.

In a declaration signed 4 February during the Third World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Madrid, the DRC’s Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, José Endundo, and Uganda’s Minister of the Environment, Jessica Eriyo, pledged to “examine sustainable development approaches to ensure the safeguarding of this unique biodiversity” in the Albertine Rift transboundary region and to “promote at the same time the socioeconomic and cultural wellbeing of the human communities living there.” Their counterpart from Rwanda, who was unable to attend the meeting, has signed the same pledge.

The new biosphere reserve project includes areas that are already under protection such as the Volcans biosphere reserve (Rwanda); Mgahinga gorilla game reserve (Uganda); Bwindi impenetrable national park and World Heritage site (Uganda); Queen Elizabeth biosphere reserve and national park (Uganda); Semliki national park (Uganda); Rwenzori Mountains national park and World Heritage site (Uganda); Kibale national park (Uganda); and Virunga national park and World Heritage site (Democratic Republic of Congo).

The projected biosphere reserve will receive support from the Spanish government for its creation. It will be an addition to the two transboundary reserves already established in Africa within UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme network: the W region, set up in 2002 between Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger, and the Senegal River Delta biosphere reserve, founded in 2005 by Senegal and Mauritania.

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Author(s): UNESCO / BPI -  Publication Date: 05-02-2008

© UNESCO 1995-2008 - ID: 41776