A platform across African Great Lakes for community testimonies on environmental challenges and solutions fostering accountable and participative natural resource management

Transboundary Collaboration: Reducing Conflicts between Congolese and Rwandan Fishermen

Lake Kivu is located in the Great Lakes region, it is a fluid border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Rwanda, the majority of which is on Congolese territory. This lake has a considerable fishing potential and supports Congolese and Rwandans fishing communities. The same lake is also full of methane gas and plays a very important role in regulating the climate in the surrounding area. Its geographical position facilitates trade on and transport on water, as well as forms an important touristic site due to is amazing natural beauty.

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Distrust and fading collaboration between groups, especially between fishermen still cause loss of materials and human lives and becomes a constant source of conflict on Lake Kivu for both stakeholders. This makes the cross-border management and exploitation of its natural resources difficult. It is important to note that the recurrent conflicts between the Congolese and Rwandan fishermen are mainly due to aspects of safety and fishing regulations. In order to solve these conflicts on Lake Kivu, ACRN and COPEILE looked for mechanisms and strategies to bring the two parties together.

The aim was to strengthen collaboration and bring back the peaceful coexistence between the Congolese and Rwandan fishermen: thus enabling a better joint management of the resource and operations, all in accordance with the laws of both countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Rwanda.

Several approaches and field visits were carried out to advocate a better collaboration between fishermen and also between authorities in cases of arrests of fishermen, theft and seizure of fishing gear by both parties. Sometimes these steps lead to solutions but we are still far from resolving all the conflicts that affect the sustainable management of the lake.

If you want to know more about how local and transboundary actors are trying to solve cross-border disputes you can read here the French report of the meeting held in Goma on the 16th of September between Congolese fishermen and commercial operators of Lake Kivu, the fishermen’s committee for Integral Development (PCID) and the Rwanda organization ACNR, with the support of IDPE and COPEILE.

Josué KAMBASU KATSUVA MUKURA

Sec. Exécutif de COPEILE et Représentant des Pêcheurs de Vitshumbi

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