New AWF office strengthens Rwanda's position as conservation hotspot
The unveiling ceremony was attended by AWF Chief Executive Officer, Kaddu Sebunya, as well as AWF Board Trustees and Former Ethiopian Prime Minister, H.E Hailemariam
Rwanda: The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has opened an office in Rwanda to further cement African leadership and integration in conservation management on the continent.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by AWF Chief Executive Officer, Kaddu Sebunya, as well as AWF Board Trustees and Former Ethiopian Prime Minister, H.E Hailemariam, who emphasized the importance of partnerships between state and non-state actors in conservation efforts.
She also stated that Rwanda has increased its conservation efforts by implementing unique and innovative programmes such as the revenue sharing arrangement with conservation and protected area communities.
The newly opened office will provide AWF with a much-needed presence in the region while also reaffirming its commitment to Rwanda's conservation efforts.
“The opening of this office is a clear manifestation of the importance we attach to Rwanda’s role in biodiversity protection, and an acknowledgement of the huge strides that the government and her partners have made in habitat protection,” AWF’s CEO Mr Kaddu Sebunya said.
Mr Sebunya also praised the government's efforts to lead conservation initiatives from the front by ensuring that communities living near protected and conservation areas are not alienated, but are instead integrated into the protection efforts through a revenue sharing arrangement.
“I believe that this is one area that many other governments on the continent should borrow a leaf from, because no conservation efforts can be successful without the active support and input from the local communities,” Mr Sebunya said.
According to AWF Country Director Belize Kariza, the new office is a clear indication of the organization's growing ties with the Rwandan government.
“We are confident that this partnership will greatly improve our collective conservation efforts around the country as Rwanda continues to provide global solutions to the challenges of conservation,” Ms. Kariza said.
Already, AWF is helping to put Rwanda on the conservation map as a co-convener of the ongoing Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC), which is taking place from the 18th to the 23rd of July at the Kigali International Convention Centre.
“This office will serve as a focal point for Rwanda’s conservation efforts, and its proximity will mean that liaison with government and other agencies focused on conservation will be much better aligned and efficient,” H.E Hailemariam Desalegn, Former Ethiopian Prime Minister said.
“I am glad that our partnership with the government has been cemented further and we will continue to explore new ways of working together for our mutual benefit.”
With over four decades of experience working in Rwanda on endangered mountain gorilla conservation issues linked to regional human livelihood improvement programmes, AWF is proud of its long relationship with the Rwandan government (GoR).
AWF enthusiastically supports Rwanda's 'green growth' socioeconomically linked conservation model, hence our positioning. Our organization's 10-year vision is based on the goal of replicating this model in numerous locations across Africa.