Addressing inequalities and accelerating SDGs
Protecting the planet and the people

Volcanoes National Park Expansion Program in Rwanda, Africa – improved conservation and tourism as a catalyst for community and economic transformation

Rwanda Development Board

Volcanoes National Park (VNP) is part of a unique transboundary protected area located in Rwanda (Africa). It is globally important to 1 of only 2 remaining populations of the endangered Mountain Gorilla endemic to the Virunga Massif. Despite 10 years of success in protecting Gorilla and building a successful sustainable tourism program, a number of complex ecological, social, economic and development issues exist which need to be addressed to ensure the well-being of Rwandans and their natural heritage. In response, the Government of Rwanda is advancing a legacy program at an estimated cost of $US250 million in which improved conservation and tourism will serve as a catalysts for community and economic transformation. By mobilizing government, NGO and private sector partners, Rwanda will expand VNP by 3740 hectares and create a land use buffer zone of 6620 hectares. The Expansion Program benefits will be significant. In support of conservation, VNP will increase by 23% resulting in a 15-20% increase in Gorilla population and a 50% reduction in infant Gorilla mortality. In support of sustainable tourism, a 15-20% increase in Gorilla viewing opportunities and a doubling of direct tourism revenues (to $34 million USD by 2024) through increased visitation of 10% per year. The quality of life for more than 18,000 Rwandans living in the area will also be improved through investment in modern housing, social infrastructure, and delivery of skill development and job creation.