UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
GREAT LAKES: Communities, environment threatened by conflict
NAIROBI, 6 April (IRIN) - Five leading development and conservation agencies have expressed grave concern over the fate of Great Lakes national parks and the communities that border them due to incessant conflict in the region.
In a statement, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), CARE, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned that human lives, livelihoods and rare animal species - including the mountain gorilla and northern white rhino - were at risk from growing insecurity.
Consequently access to many protected natural areas throughout Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda was limited "with dire consequences for humans and animals alike".
Insecurity had also frightened away tourists, depriving governments and local communities of a lucrative source of revenue, the statement said.
"As protected natural areas are shut down one by one, the plight of the communities bordering these parks becomes even more desperate," said Sylvie Wabbes of WWF. "Rebel groups use these parks to hide and as military bases. So what incentives do local people have to protect the parks?"
The statement noted that throughout the region, war and refugee movements had resulted in a significant destruction of the environment, and that only some measure of peace could reverse the situation.
"Africa's most precious natural areas are in extreme peril," Jon Mitchell, East African regional director of CARE, warned.
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 17:05:22 +0300 (EAT) Subject:
GREAT LAKES: Communities, environment threatened by
 From: IRIN - English <email@example.com>
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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