World Environment Day & Kwita Izina
Many Species, One Planet, One Future
“Raising global awareness of biodiversity conservation as we give names to our gorillas”
The Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony is an annual event hosting thousands of international, regional and local visitors in an effort to raise awareness of the plight of Rwanda’s endangered mountain gorillas. For decades, international conservation organizations, donors and concerned individuals have made substantial resources available to the gorilla conservation cause and continue to do so. Each year the birth of newborn gorillas is celebrated in an exciting event at the foot of the Virunga mountain chain.
As we celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity we raise public awareness of the importance of biodiversity and its protection from underlying threats, as well as the significance of establishing interconnections between biodiversity, conservation and climate change. Furthermore, as we continue to celebrate the birth of newborn mountain gorillas we want to use this opportunity to urge Rwandans and international community to engage in environmental protection and bring an end to the loss of biodiversity and look for innovative solutions and approaches to reduce threats to biodiversity including the majestic mountain ranges in which our gorillas live.
The remaining home range of the endangered mountain gorillas is limited to the Virunga Massif, a chain of volcanic mountains shared by Rwanda, DRC and Uganda. Rwanda is home to about one third of the 820 mountain gorillas left in the wild. The remaining population of mountain gorillas has only survived thanks to the renewed efforts of national conservation authorities and the local populations and the support they have received from the international community. In 2005 the inaugural Gorilla Naming Ceremony was launched and has been held and so far 103 baby gorillas have been named. And during this sixth annual Kwita Izina, names will be given to eleven (11) mountain baby gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park. This year’s event will be held on June 5th 2010 on World Environment Day.
Rwanda is enthusiastic and honored to host the World Environment Day (WED) which is commemorated every year on 5th June. The world Environmental Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972. The UN dedicated this day to appreciate and celebrate the benefits, roles and resources that come with raising global awareness of the environment. World Environment Day is the foremost vehicle through which worldwide awareness of the environment is stimulated and celebration of this day is an opportunity to generate political, economic and social attention and prompt action. In line with celebration to mark the World Environmental Environment Day, Rwanda has for the last consecutive 16years been dedicating a National Environmental Week which normally begins from 31st May to 5th June on annual basis. Rwanda has been selected by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the host country for World Environmental Day 2010. Rwanda is thus privileged to host internationally, World Environment Day in conjunction with the celebration of the annual Kwita Izina Ceremony under the theme “Biodiversity-Ecosystem Management and Green Economy”
World Environment Day is designed to give a human face to environmental issues, empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development, promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.
Traditionally, the World Environment Day in Rwanda has always been celebrated as the day to conclude the National Environment Week. During the Week, that starts with the community work commonly known as ‘Umuganda’ to announce activities that mark the week, all districts of the country carry out environmental restoration activities while guided by the international theme for World Environment Day. WED 2010 will be the 38th year Rwanda celebrates WED and the 17th time Rwanda commemorates the National Environment Week.
Merging World Environment Day 2010 & Sixth Annual Kwita Izina
On Saturday June 5th 2010 Rwanda will host the World Environment Day as well as celebrate the sixth Kwita Izina Ceremony through her agencies REMA and RDB respectively. By declaring 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, the international community hopes to draw the attention of the public and funding agencies to the plight of the environment. As a country that has been in the forefront of environmental management and gorilla conservation we heartily welcome the proclamation of the International Year of the Biodiversity as it creates an opportunity for Rwanda to showcase our achievements in promotion of sustainable tourism and environmental management efforts
The national theme for this year is “Raising global awareness on biodiversity conservation as we give names to our baby gorillas”. Under this theme, we shall celebrate the efforts of all those that have contributed to the sustainable use of our environment and to the welfare of our wildlife. We are expecting over 500 key personalities in environmental protection, management, wildlife conservation and business to attend the event.
The World Environment Day and Kwita Izina ceremony are aimed at ensuring the future sustainability of our environment and Rwanda’s mountain gorillas and will provide an opportunity for all those who care about the environment and mountain gorillas to contribute to this common effort.