Influencing policy

Influencing policy

IGCP works with the many different stakeholders who are able to influence the survival of the mountain gorillas and their habitat. These include local farmers, park and military authorities, local and regional governments and environmental experts, all of whose activities have an effect on the environment and the natural resources in that landscape.

IGCP regularly meets with representatives from such groups to explain how the national park forests are vital to the people of region, not only in terms of generating tourist dollars, but also in maintaining biodiversity, helping to prevent erosion and ensuring dependable water supplies. Development, humanitarian and relief agencies also affect natural resources, people and the forests. In order to promote better integration of conservation, relief and development activities, IGCP is highlighting the mutual benefits of increased collaboration.

In October 2001, the park authorities from the three countries, including both sides of the political divide between western and eastern DRC, met and signed a declaration expressing their intention to create a full transfrontier protected area, the Virunga-Bwindi Transfrontier Park. IGCP was formally designated as facilitator for this process (see Regional collaboration).

Thanks to the concerted efforts of IGCP at field and political levels, together with other conservation partners on the ground, people are increasingly recognizing the importance of conserving gorillas and their forest habitat.