CABINET APPROVES RATIFICATION OF THE UNEP/CMS AGREEMENT ON THE CONSERVATION OF GORRILAS AND THEIR HABITATS(GORILLA AGREEMENT)
The Gorilla Agreement is a legally binding instruments developed under the United Nations Environment programmes (UNEP) based convention on Conservation of migratory species of Wild Animals (CMS)
Uganda ratified CMS convention on 1st August 2000 and currently represents Eastern and southern Africa on the standing committee of the convention. Uganda is also Vice Chair of the Standing Committee of African Eurasian water bird Agreement which is just like Gorilla Agreement, an agreement signed under the convention on migratory species.
The gorilla agreement aims to conserve and restore the highly endangered primates’ species in East, Central and West Africa through formulation of action plans by parties for each of the 4 sub species covering education, research, forest protection, management, tourism and capacity building.
Cabinet therefore approved the signing of the gorilla agreement because Uganda is a contracting party and an active member and leader to the United Nations Convention on migratory species. It’s an obligation under this convention that range states conclude species specific Agreements to conserve migratory species in their respective territories. Ratifying this agreement is therefore Uganda’s fulfillment of her obligations under convention on migratory species.
Uganda is home to more than half of the remaining population of mountain gorillas and some of these migrate to Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and back to Uganda. This agreement provides a much needed framework for resolving disputes that may arise out of the migration of gorillas particularly safety of gorillas, revenue sharing, trans boundary conservation cooperation among others.
Signing this agreement will further demonstrate Uganda’s commitment to the conservation of mountain gorillas which is a flagship species for Uganda’s tourism. This will raise the country’s profile to the United Nations Community and this will promote tourism and conservation efforts in Uganda.
As a party to the gorilla agreement, Uganda will be eligible to access a strong international partnership of experts, government and non-government conservation organizations, range states, donor agencies, global law enforcement agencies, united nations and its affiliated initiatives, assuring the best available knowledge and support of multiple conservation actions and efforts in conserving the mount gorillas.
Uganda would be eligible to make official interventions at UNEP gorilla agreement meetings, determine the budget and work plans as well as the revision of action plans and cooperation with partner organizations and other treaties.Currently Uganda remains an observer in these meetings yet Uganda’s neighbors who have less gorilla numbers have always used these meetings to project themselves as the home of gorillas. This has had implications for marketing Uganda as a mountain Gorilla destination. Ratification of the new agreement now puts us as a country at a vantage point.