Rwanda’s Gishwati-Mukura landscape has been named among the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
It was named alongside 23 other reserves from around the world during a Session of the International Co-coordinating Council of the Man and Biosphere Programme held on Wednesday October 28th, 2020.
The Gishwati-Mukura landscape located in Rwanda’s Western Province joins the Volcanoes Biosphere Reserve in north-west Rwanda, which was also approved as a Biosphere Reserve in 1983.
The rehabilitation of the Gishwati-Mukura landscape and the creation of the national park was made possible under the Landscape Approach to forest Restoration and Conservation (LAFREC) Project implemented by Rwanda Environment Management Management Authority (REMA) with the support of the Global Environment Facility through the World Bank
“This is a tremendous achievement as it raises the conservation and sustainable management of the landscape. It provides opportunities for surrounding communities to make sustainable products branded as made in a biosphere reserve hence making them more competitive on a global market” said Juliet Kabera, the Director General of REMA.
It is also an opportunity for education and research for sustainable development and conservation as well as for sustainable tourism, she added.
The Director General of REMA encourages the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to maximize the benefits of the national park which is now upgraded to a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Biosphere reserves help to better understand and manage changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, as well as protect biodiversity.
They also provide local solutions to global challenges and promote innovations in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity
Gishwati-Mukura made up of two forests – Gishwati and Mukura – was established as a legally protected area by approving it as the country’s 4th National park in 2016.