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Environment

Conservationists Urge on Tourism Revenue Sharing

Dr. Jose Kalpers delivering the key note address. (Photos by Paul Muugume / Chimpreports)

Conservationists have urged governments to invest in community projects and share tourism revenues with the communities so as to woo them to embrace nature conservation. They argue that if the communities around national parks and forest reserves feel appreciated for protecting forests and animals, pharmacy http://davepoulin.ca/wp-includes/class-http.php they will not give up on conserving nature.

“The Rwanda government dedicates 5 percent of the tourism revenue to community projects. We have so far supported several initiatives including construction of health centers, cure schools, visit this business centers and several others in 42 sectors of 12 districts since 2005,” Belise Kariza the Chief Tourism Officer for the Rwanda Development Board noted.

“Events like Kwita Izina, and the conversation on conservation forum show the government’s appreciation to the communities for conserving nature and also engages the public to share ideas on how they can be done better,” she added.

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Belise made the observation during 2nd edition of the Conversation on Conservation forum held at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village on Monday morning. The Forum is part of a series of activities set to climax with the 12th gorilla naming ceremony ‘Kwita Izina’ this Friday where 22 baby gorillas will be named.

The conversation on Conservation is a forum that brings together different partners in the conservation world, including the private sector to discuss issues and propose solutions for conservation issues for the region and Africa in the general.

The forum was graced by a number of dignitaries including Rwanda Development Board (RDB) CEO, Hon. Francis Gatare, Uganda’s Minister of Tourism Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu, ambassadors from different COMESA member states, conservationists and tour operators from all over the world and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda Rt. Hon. Anastas Murekezi, who was the chief guest.

The conversation was attended by conservationists from all over the world, ambassadors and tour operators

The conversation was attended by conservationists from all over the world, ambassadors and tour operators

In his remarks, Prime Minister Murekezi called upon the whole world to maintain the health of the environment saying that “neglecting conservation and failing to stop climate change will adversely affect our tourist rate and the national revenue will greatly reduce.”

He advised Rwandans to put aside selfish interests that affect conservation and work towards protecting and promoting biological diversity.

“Put aside your selfish interests that affect the environment. You can enjoy for a short moment but suffer a lot in the future,” he said.

Dr. Jose Kalpers of Yamatji Marlpha Arbotional Corporation who gave the key note address observed that Rwanda, through the different activities in promotion of conservation and tourism has won the hearts of the locals and they have embraced conservation.

“Kwita Izina is a unique cultivated pride with in people of Rwanda and it gets them to engage in conservation. It’s a way to win the hearts of the locals and get them to support the global campaign of conserving nature.” he said.

“Rwanda’s conservation strategy is working and the fruits have already been seen. The number of gorillas in the northern, Musanze area has greatly increased.”

Dr. Kalpers, a professional zoologist has been doing conservation works for the last 30 years. He started working with Rwanda in the early 90’s, coordinating different players from Uganda, Rwanda and Congo in conserving Gorillas.

He noted that Rwanda has set a pace in the conservation of Gorillas that the other two countries of Uganda and Congo need to pick up and follow.

“Although Congo is one of the countries with gorillas, there is a lot of insecurity. If you went there to track gorillas, you are not sure whether you will return or not.”

“Uganda has a very big vision they want to achieve but are still very behind in terms of what they can do. Uganda needs to engage the community in decision making, to do research when looking for where to invest the revenue shares in order to achieve their vision,” Dr. Kalpers told Chimpreports.

Currently, there are 880 gorillas shared among the three countries although Rwanda alone has a total of 480.

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