IGCP’s priority has always been to build and enhance the professional capacity of the institutions with which it works, to help them improve the effectiveness of their conservation and park management. This involves assisting the park management authorities with a range of activities, from the training of park staff to the restructuring of the institutions responsible for protected areas.
Within this framework, IGCP has helped to develop stronger tools for monitoring and planning of protection and management activities. Helping the park authorities to function effectively against a backdrop of social, political and economic turmoil is a crucial facet of this work.
During the war in DRC, the Kinshasa-based government has been unable to provide financial support to the parks under rebel-held control in eastern DRC. While closed to tourists, the parks can generate no income. The park authorities (ICCN) would currently be unable to operate without basic IGCP support for field-based staff.
Requested by the Rwandan park authorities (ORTPN) to help rebuild operations in the aftermath of war and genocide, IGCP helped to develop Action Plans for all the parks, facilitate a restructuring of the ORTPN headquarters and elicit support from partners.
Following the habituation of gorilla groups for tourism, staff from the Uganda Wildlife Authority have been trained and equipped to guide, interpret and manage gorilla tourism. Park staff from all three range states have benefited from various joint training programmes.
IGCP raised funds to purchase additional land bordering Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, thereby extending gorilla habitat and enabling the Uganda Wildlife Authority to create a buffer zone in areas vulnerable to human encroachment and illegal activities. The land will also enable local communities to develop tourism-related enterprise and generate financial benefits for themselves.