09 Aug Policy Brief on Responsible Tourism to Great Apes launched at the inaugural Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC)
The 1st IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) convened from 19th to 23rd 2022 at the Kigali Convention Center. The aim of the conference was to increase the understanding of the vital role Africa’s protected and conserved areas play in conserving biodiversity and delivering the ecosystem services that underpin human well-being. The conference attracted a total number of 2,400 delegates from across the world. We are delighted to share with you an important milestone that we accomplished at the congress – launching of the Policy Brief on Responsible Tourism to Great Apes. We are thrilled that the policy brief was featured among the first day’s APAC highlights bringing further attention to the importance of this critical issue for the future of great apes, and biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in Africa.
Launch of the Policy Brief on Responsible Tourism to Great Apes.
On 19th July 2022, in collaboration with International Gorilla Conservation (IGCP) and Africa CSOs Biodiversity Alliance (ACBA), we launched the policy brief on Responsible Tourism to Great Apes at a side event at the ACBA pavilion, which filled up with over 40 delegates from Europe, USA, and 16 countries in Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Madagascar, DRC, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. The side event was moderated by Mr Frank Turyatunga, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Director, Africa Office and attended by representatives from government, science, veterinary, public health, conservation, tourism and the business sectors.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Andrew Seguya, Executive Secretary of Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC). He spoke about the Great Ape viewing guidelines and the importance of enforcing them in the conservation of the great apes.
During the event, we had presentations from the authors of the policy brief, IGCP Director, Mr. Wellard Makambo representing Ms. Alyce Mbayahi introduced the policy brief; and CTPH Founder and CEO, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka gave a presentation about the species of great apes and their distribution across Africa, threats to the great apes including zoonotic diseases and how it can be addressed through Responsible Tourism using the One Health approach, the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place while visiting the great apes, as well as, scientific research conducted on tourists interacting with gorillas and perceptions of their great ape tourism experience before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On top of enforcing great ape tourism guidelines in the 13 out of 21 countries in Africa with great ape tourism, stakeholders were urged to support both tourism and non tourism dependent livelihoods.
There was also a panel discussion with conservation and tourism experts. These included Mr Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Development Board; Mr Nelson Guma, Chief Warden, Bwindi and Mgahinga Conservation Area, Uganda Wildlife Authority; Dr. Emmanuelle Normand, Country Director, Wild Chimpanzee Foundation; Mr Praveen Moman, Founder and CEO, Volcanoes Safaris and Mr Manzi Kayihura, Executive Chairman, Wilderness Safaris Rwanda.
The event concluded with signing of the policy brief by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Board Chairperson, Prof Panta Kasoma, followed by the panelists, officials and stakeholders as an indication of endorsement of the recommendations and actions to conserving Africa’s Great Apes.
We would like to thank our partners, IGCP and ACBA, all speakers, officials and delegates that made this event a success. We would also like to thank Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) that funded the CTPH team that participated at the IUCN APAC in Kigali, Rwanda.
We apologize that the technology did not allow us to livestream the launch. However, we will soon share a video of this momentous event.
Through advocacy, we plan to support other countries with Great Ape tourism to adopt these Responsible Tourism guidelines. Please consider making a donation to help us achieve a secure future for mountain gorillas in Uganda and other great apes in Africa, thank you very much for your support.