Concerted conservation and restoration efforts focus on saving gorilla populations in the wild and their habitats. However, gorillas remain on the brink of extinction, and continue to face severe threats.
In 2006, the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) requested the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences, in partnership with the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), and in consultation with the gorilla range states and GRASP members, to develop a gorilla conservation agreement, to be implemented via a regional, transborder Action Plan.
The agreement, which came into effect in June 2008 and has so far been signed by six of the ten gorilla range states, provides a legal framework that will reinforce and integrate conservation efforts.
The agreement aims to consolidate efforts of national and international, governmental and non-governmental organisations working for gorilla conservation. Their activities include anti-poaching campaigns, reforestation efforts, development of eco-tourism, community development projects in the regions bordering the areas protected for gorilla conservation and programmes of reintroduction of orphaned gorillas into the wild. Many of these organisations and governments are part of GRASP, one of the three main YoG partners together with CMS and WAZA.
A regional Action Plan for gorillas and their habitats was drafted in 2007/2008 and later adopted at the first Meeting of Parties to the Gorilla Agreement in Rome on November 29th, 2008. The Action Plan includes the national and regional plans developed within the GRASP framework. CMS, GRASP, and the range states will coodinate the implementation.
CMS itself is a GRASP partner and its main contribution in the upcoming years will be to facilitate the negotiation and application of the Agreement and Action Plan. For more than 20 years, CMS has been developing and implementing international and legally binding agreements. These agreements are one of the main conservation tools of the Convention.
The Gorilla Agreement, as well as the projects which will result from its Action Plans, will contribute to promoting the long term survival of gorillas, their forest habitat and dependent human populations. This should in turn help the States concerned to combine conservation and long lasting economic development.
Supporting the implementation of the Gorilla Agreement is the overarching goal of the Year of the Gorilla 2009. This website will introduce a number of high-priority projects, mostly derived from the Gorilla Agreements Action Plans, in 2009. You will have the opportunity to choose from them and donate to the project you like the best.