"The EU has been supporting parks in Africa for over 20 years, with support for Virunga dating back to 1988 – with this year marking the 30th year anniversary. “Subsidies have allowed us to launch the programme and cover the cost of R&D work, which is difficult to do in these conditions,” said de Merode, adding that EU grants can act as a catalyst, drawing in complimentary and instrumental investment from private foundations, such as the Buffet Foundation, being the second largest donor of funding after the EU, and public lending institutions alike.
"For the European Commission, the Virunga Alliance has proven to be a challenge, though one with successes that can be championed and learned from. “Providing an alternative economic pattern that can stabilise a region is fascinating,” said Chantal Marijnissen, Head of Unit for Environment, Natural Resources and Water at DG DEVCO. “We can see which pieces we could take and replicate in other countries."