The Eastern DRC has been under fire and armed conflict since 90s. The fauna and flora of Virunga National Park are intensely impacted because armed groups target rangers and local communities work for armed groups to use illegally resources. In some areas, local communities are allowed to extract resources (fishing villages) but they don’t comply with regulations. This creates conflict between park staff and communities over resources. More armed conflicts weaken law enforcement.Through a conflict resolution process, a participatory framework was developed, agreed and implemented in Nyakakoma (one of the three fishing villages in Virunga Park) to reduce illegal fishing. All stakeholders (park managers, fisheries and civil society, army and police) were involved and the decrease of illegal fishing was about 50%.
In October 08; with the clash of the war between rebels and legal army, it was impossible to enforce anything as armed people relied on fishing to survive. We kept contact with stakeholders and make sure that the situation is known and monitored. After five months, with political negotiations, stakeholders wished to restart the process and implement the framework. The success of any conflict resolution project in conservation relies on collaboration between stakeholders which improves relationship and communication among them and built trust. But to get to that level; there is need of commitment and willingness from conservation organizations, support and regular contact with stakeholders and monitoring of the situation. Your support to this blog will strengthen the ongoing conflict and community activities!