In 2014 UNESCO placed the whole international Wadden Sea of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands on the World Heritage List recognizing the crucial importance of the site for the survival of migratory birds on a global scale. The three Wadden Sea countries have now an enhanced responsibility to strengthen cooperation with other countries for the conservation of migratory birds, especially along the East Atlantic Flyway.
In 2012 the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) launched two projects with focus on monitoring and capacity building in close cooperation with the Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB) project. Monitoring activities are saveguarded until 2018 with a next total census of the East Atlantic Flyway in 2017. Capacity building projects will be carried out and saveguarded until 2017.
The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI)
The Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea is a vast coastal wetland comprising tidal flats, islands, salt marshes and other habitats, stretching over 450 km along the North Sea coast of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. At almost 10.000 square kilometres in extent, it is one of the largest wetlands in the world. It has enjoyed a protected status for more than 20 years and is jointly managed by the Trilateral Cooperation for the Protection of the Wadden Sea.
The Coast of West Africa
The coastal zone of West Africa supports some of the highest concentrations of migratory birds in the world, and is therefore a priority zone for the conservation of migratory birds. A large proportion of these birds depend on a network of critical sites along the flyway to enable them to complete their migrations successfully. Some of the most important sites for migrants are found in West Africa between Mauritania and Sierra Leone, where there is a high level of marine productivity. Many migratory bird species are sharply declining and becoming increasingly threatened with extinction. Currently 12% of all migratory bird species are considered globally threatened or near-threatened.
Birds in the Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea is of outstanding international importance for birds as a staging, moulting and wintering area, especially for migratory waders. According to the Ramsar Convention the Wadden Sea is essential for the existence of at least 52 populations of 41 migratory waterbird species that use the East Atlantic flyway and which originate from breeding populations as far away as northern Siberia and Northeast Canada. Only in the Wadden Sea they will find enough food to complete their journeys of thousands of kilometres.
|Every year more than 6.1 million birds may be present in the Wadden Sea at the same time, whilst on average 10 to 12 million birds use the Wadden Sea each year on migration between their northern breeding grounds and their wintering areas in Europe, Africa and even further afield.|
In 2009 UNESCO placed the Dutch-German Wadden Sea on the World Heritage List recognizing the crucial importance of the site for the survival of migratory birds on a global scale. 2014 the Dansih Wadden Sea joined the World Heritage Wadden Sea. The three countries have now an enhanced responsibility to strengthen cooperation with other countries for the conservation of migratory birds, especially along the East Atlantic Flyway.
Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative
The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative has thus been launched to put this into action. In the first instance, two projects have been developed under the initiative that together aim to increase capacity for migratory bird conservation and monitoring along the western seaboard of Africa. The projects, which run from 2012 - 2015 will at least continued until 2018 and are funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Dutch Ministry of Economic affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The aims of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative are to support the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the region, to obtain more detailed monitoring data and to develop a long-term perspective for the cooperation of the Wadden Sea with countries along the whole flyway.
Collaboration with BirdLife, Wetlands International and AEWA
The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative is working in close collaboration with other migratory bird conservation projects and initiatives in West Africa, notably the BirdLife Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB) project of BirdLife Intenational funded by MAVA Foundation, implemented in collaboration with Wetlands International and other partners and The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA). For the future the Initiative aims for sustain- able cooperation with partners and international projects along the whole East Atlantic Flyway by further enhancing and integrating the flyway perspective into the work plan of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation.
Capacity Building — Several national capacity building courses and a regional flyway workshop have been organized in close connection to the development of a capacity building concept for the East Atlantic Flyway. There were also be awareness activities and small-scale flyway management initiatives. A framework for future cooperation with partners along the flyway will allow further activities. The East Atlantic Flyway Guide has been developed in 2015 and will be distributed along the African Atlantic coast in 2016.
Monitoring — Within a framework for integrated flyway monitoring along the East Atlantic Flyway, a regional monitoring strategy for Western Africa has been developed. Practical pilot activities with bird counts and training in monitoring gave input for the development of a strategy to gain a sustainable and cost-effective monitoring system along the flyway in future. A simultaneous total count of all key sites organized by the local partners in West Africa has been carried out in January 2014 and will be repated in 2017.
|Location of capacity building (red dots) and monitoring activities (coloured countries) along the East Atlantic Flyway (2012-2016)|
The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative has met with national and regional agencies in West Africa in order to develop strong partnerships, including partners engaged in the Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB) project of BirdLife International and Wetlands International. The close collaboration with the CMB project and other important partners will improve future cooperation and the vision of a joint management of the East Atlantic Flyway. In future also partnerships with Arctic countries are foreseen to improve the protection and monitoring of the northern breeding areas for migratory birds.
Vision Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative
Vision Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative
The aim of the flyway vision is to guide the implementation of the request of the World Heritage Committee at the inscription of the Wadden Sea as a World Heritage Site in 2009 to 'the States Parties of Germany and the Netherlands to strengthen cooperation on management and research activities with States Parties on the African Eurasian Flyways, which play a significant role in conserving migratory species along these flyways.'
The vision should thus:
- strengthen cooperation across the flyway on the conservation, management and research of migratory birds depend on the Wadden Sea;
- be ecologically sound, cost effective and feasible;
- have full endorsement of the Trilateral Wadden Sea cooperation, other flyway states and relevant stakeholder.
The vision shall be adopted at the 12th Trilateral Governmental Wadden Sea Conference in 2014 together with a formal endorsement by other relevant partners in conjunction with a framework of cooperation and plan of action for its implementation. The Plan of Action (a rolling document) will subsequently take account of the results and outcomes of current and planned activities within the flyways for which the Wadden Sea plays a major role, especially activities of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI).
The International Wadden Sea of The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark is of outstanding universal value for global biodiversity, especially for migratory birds. Yearly millions of migratory waterbirds stop over in the area to build up energy for their onward journeys between the Arctic and Africa. They depend on the presence of suitable safe breeding, resting and non-breeding sites. International cooperation and coordination are mandatory to provide the right conditions for them along their flyway.
The State Parties of the Wadden Sea World Heritage will mutually support, advance and communicate a sustainable and long-term management of the East Atlantic Flyway to improve the living conditions for migratory birds together with partners along the flyway on an equal and shared basis. This engagement will stimulate cooperation among other flyways for migratory bird conservation. Coming generations will thus continue to enjoy and admire the Wadden Sea World Heritage site when it is occupied by millions of birds, whilst such an appreciation will be fostered elsewhere along the flyway, connecting people and reminding us of our global shared responsibility to conserve migratory species.
|Migratory birds find lasting refuge along the East Atlantic Flyway from northern breeding areas to their key Wadden Sea stopover and to the African coastline, and inspire and connect people for future generations.|
In human societies across the world - even far back in history - migrating birds have played an important role in the perception of nature. People recognise the periodic coming and going of birds and are in awe of their incredible feats of endurance. In the African-Eurasian region millions of migrating birds fly long distances between their breeding and non-breeding grounds, for instance between the Arctic and Southern Africa, or Central Siberia and Western Europe. Migratory birds are ambassadors connecting countries and people, ignoring our own political and social barriers. Flyways encompass the whole life cycle of migratory birds and include essential sites for breeding, resting, moulting and feeding. This requires conservation and management to take place at the flyway scale, recognising the ecological connectivity between critical sites along the flyway.
Every year, the Wadden Sea in Northern Europe serves as a central hub and cross-over point for some 10-12 million migrating waterbirds of the East Atlantic Flyway, moving between the Arctic and Africa. At this critical stop-over in their long voyage, many bird species, often in huge flocks, refuel on the tidal flats and shallow waters of the Wadden Sea, forming a lively and magical spectacle. The presence of these migratory waterbirds attracts many visitors to the area, bringing significant economic and cultural benefits.
For more than 25 years the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation has been active in promoting wise use management of the Wadden Sea and migratory birds benefit from the implementation of nature protection targets and plans of the Trilateral Cooperation. However, nearly half of the trilaterally monitored migratory bird species in the Wadden Sea have declining trends in numbers. Factors threatening protection and conservation efforts can be found within the Wadden Sea itself and along the flyway. Thus there is a permanent risk of the Wadden Sea losing vital parts of its ecology, character, attraction and economic and cultural value.
In 2009 UNESCO acknowledged the protection efforts of the Trilateral Cooperation and the significance of the Wadden Sea for migratory waterbirds on the African-Eurasian flyways by inscribing the Dutch and German Wadden Sea on the World Heritage list. The Danish Wadden Sea applies for World Heritage status in 2014. According to the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value adopted by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, the Wadden Sea '… is a key site for migratory birds and its ecosystems sustain wildlife populations well beyond its borders.' (criterion ix).The statement continues with 'The clearest indicator of the importance of the property is the support it provides to migratory birds as a staging, moulting and wintering area. Up to 6.1 million birds can be present at the same time, and an average of 10-12 million each year pass through the property. The availability of food and a low level of disturbance are essential factors that contribute to the key role of the nominated property in supporting the survival of migratory species. The nominated property is the essential stopover that enables the functioning of the East Atlantic and African-Eurasian migratory flyways. Biodiversity on a world wide scale is reliant on the Wadden Sea'. (criterion x)
This trilateral joint flyway conservation vision has been drawn up to interpret and fulfil the UNESCO request. It will form part of the trilateral policy and should subsequently be extended within the Wadden Sea Plan. As flyways span continents and countries, all potential partners along the flyway will be invited to share and join the vision.
The recognition that international cooperation between countries along the flyways is essential has already led to the creation of a number of international environmental treaties/instruments, of which the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement
(AEWA) developed under the framework of the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) is the most relevant for the WSFI. AEWA’s geographic range includes the whole East Atlantic Flyway, whilst the trilateral Wadden Sea state parties are also Contracting Parties to AEWA.
The flyway vision foresees effective implementation of the UNESCO request in terms of future cooperation, communication, coordination, management and implementation strategies through, focused activities guided by a framework of cooperation and a plan of action.
The vision draws on and is guided by the following elements:
- The Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation is aware of its global responsibility to protect and manage migratory waterbirds on a flyway level. The World Heritage designation has highlighted the need for flyway conservation at the global level both within the African-Eurasian Flyways and elsewhere.
- The Wadden Sea plays its most significant ecological role within the East Atlantic Flyway, which embraces the western coastlines of Africa and Europe to the Arctic. This flyway has therefore been identified as the primary focal region of the WSFI, bringing maximum conservation impact for Wadden Sea waterbirds from coordinated action. Close contacts with other flyways for information and experience exchange will be encouraged and maintained.
- An efficient network of World Heritage sites working actively together including the Wadden Sea, Doñana National Park, Banc d´Arguin and Arquipelago dos Bijagòs will strengthen the World Heritage approach and stimulate these sites to maintain their value as essential elements within the entire flyway.
- In close cooperation with the African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement, the Wetlands Convention (Ramsar), the Convention on Migratory Species and other relevant instruments the vision will encourage implementation of internationally agreed migratory bird conservation objectives and activities.
- Close and practical cooperation and communication between governments, science, civil society and NGOs is crucial for flyway conservation. Communication, joint conservation and research and, awareness-raising, especially of the economic values of flyways, stand to promote effective flyway conservation.
- The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative will integrate all trilateral flyway projects and activities under the coordination of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat. The Initiative will play an important role within global flyway conservation frameworks.
The Wadden Sea countries share migratory birds with countries along the East Atlantic Flyway. Although the Trilateral Cooperation will focus on the conservation of Wadden Sea birds outside the Cooperation Area, it will have wider benefits by also improving the management and conservation of other bird species and critical sites.
The Wadden Sea: Weak link in international flyway?
The Wadden Sea is proving to be a weak link in the East Atlantic Flyway, a migratory bird route from the Arctic region down the coasts of Europe and Africa to South Africa. Bird counts have revealed that the more dependent a migratory bird population is on the Wadden Sea, the less successful conservation of the species tends to be. Migratory birds breeding in the Wadden Sea are particularly vulnerable, although some fish-eating species are actually faring better in recent years.
These data were revealed by a census of migratory birds conducted in 2014 on the East Atlantic Flyway. This is the first time that birds have been counted along the entire flyway as part of a single study.
Unique population census
In the 2014 census, some 1,500 birders in 30 countries counted almost 15 million individual birds. This unique census was the first simultaneous count of birds at such a huge scale. The data of this integrated census were compared with all the individual surveys that had taken place since 1980. Following a year of research, the analysis of all these data has just been completed.
It has been known for some time that a number of migrating Wadden Sea bird species are not doing well. However, this latest research reveals that the Wadden Sea is also scoring poorly within the international context of the East Atlantic Flyway. Migratory birds only spend a part of the year in the Wadden Sea region, spending the rest of the year in countries beyond this region, such as in Africa, or in Scandinavia and the Arctic. The researchers have discovered that in many cases, the stronger the ties (feeding, resting, breeding, etc.) of a species to the Wadden Sea, the less successful the species is likely to be. Examples are the Eurasian oystercatcher and the pied avocet.
The study did not answer the question of why the birds in the Wadden Sea region are doing so poorly, but based on the results of earlier studies, the researchers think it is likely that local factors, such as predation, flooding in breeding areas and depletion of food sources play an important role.
In the framework of the WSFI monitoring activities along the Easst Atlantic Flyway also a strategy on waterbird and site monitoring and a framework and programme outline for integrated monitoring of Wadden Sea and other migratory have been published.
This research was commissioned by the Wadden Sea improvement programme Programma naar een Rijke Waddenzee (PRW) as part of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI). The WSFI is a partnership involving a wide range of stakeholders, in the three countries bordering the Wadden Sea and throughout the further regions covered by the flyway. Partners include the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), Wetlands International and nearly 30 other local, regional and international partners. The WSFI is coordinated by the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat.
Capacity building Jeta island, Guinea-Bissau,
Capacity building of DJOTCHETCHENGLAR, local association in Dapak,
Jeta Island, Guinea-Bissau
In October 2017, ODZH was contacted by the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat to present a proposal for a conservation project that linked migratory waterbirds. It was developed and presented as a capacity building project of the DJOTCHETCHENGLAR association in Dapak-Jeta. After its presentation, it was accepted by the secretariat mentioned above and continued at the signing of the contract between the parties. Soon the first payment of the amount of 4,500 Euros was made corresponding to 90% of the total budget of 5,000 Euros, equivalent amount of 3,325,000 FCFA.
Activities carried out
Due to the holidays at the end of 2017 construction work was delayed and began in January 2018. The delivery of the work to the local community was made on March 12, 2018. During construction three missions were carried out for the Dapak-Jeta.
The first took place on January 6, 7 and 8, 2018 (see photos below), and the objective was to deliver materials for the construction of the environmental centre to the community and to begin work. It also aimed to sensitize the two fishing communities established in Bote - in front of the nesting of terns and seagulls. The members of this first mission were vice-president of l´ODZH (Joãozinho Sá) and its executive director (Francisco Gomes Wambar).
|Building preparations||Discussion on details|
|Making the bricks||Framing|
The second mission was carried out on 16 and 17 February 2018 by the Executive Director of ODZH and the objective was to sensitise the local community about the importance of the centre and to monitor the progress of the works, i.e. to verify the construction status of the centre with regard to the contract with the Wadden Sea Secretariat (see photos of the centre below).
|Environmental centre (front)||Environmental centre (side)|
The third mission took already place on 11, 12 and 13 March 2018. This was intended to make delivery to the Environmental Education and Communication Center Dâpak the local association, sensitize the fishermen of the two boat camps and also carry out lectures at the basic school of Bote (see photos below and on the cover and in the annex). Associated with these activities, a visit was made to the president of the Caió Fishermen's Association on 12 March, one hour before boarding in Jeta, in the port of Caió. On the way home, a conference was also held with students from the 7th grade at Caió Secondary School on 13 March 2018, from 10:00 to 11:30. This initiative comes after the realization that a number of fishermen living in Caió pass by the Bank of Dapak during their fishing trips.
It has to be stated that for the first mission of Jeta, the ODZH used the Wetlands International car as a logistical means to the port of Caio, where construction materials (such as cement bags, zinc, iron, wood and others) from this center was kept. Later the material was embarked in a pirogue and landed next to the place indicated by the community to do the construction of this center. Already the second and third missions have been used by public transport to reach the port of Caió. In both missions transport was hired as logistics means to reach Dapak and return to Caió. And in summary, the aim of this final report is to provide a synthesis of the results obtained during the implementation of the project entitled: Strengthening DJOTCHETCHENGLAR Association Dâpak-Jeta.
This was justified by the ecological importance of the region and the need to strengthen the capacity for action in the conservation of the colony of nesting terns, gulls, one of the most important sites in West Africa and the world today, making it essential to involve various stakeholders in their conservation and protection. The methodology applied in this work and discussion groups required here to work with specific groups, as it is a membership site: camping fishermen in small communities, boat surroundings and chair fishermen in the fall, dinghy students primary school and high school in Caió.
Environmental education and communication centre built in Dapak, the local community sensitised and more involved in environmental conservation and the nesting site, including mudflats, which are important for shorebirds, pelicans and other waterbirds. DJOTCHETCHENGLAR has strengthened the capacity for action in Dâpak through the construction of the center, which has already become a point of reference for the community and for visitors, fishermen and conduct fishing activities in the area. And over 80 fishermen sensitized on the conservation of the nesting site in the coastal zone of our wetlands region; informed of the existence and importance of the center built with support of Wadden Sea Secretariat, which will serve for activities in the field of environmental education in the region.
Students, teachers of basic school of Bote sensitized to the conservation of wetlands, the importance of the area for the reproduction of terns, and gulls in Africa and the world by the two palaver made in the primary school of Bote and the high school of Caió and finally, the sea as a resource of primary choice for their livelihoods and their development.
The implementation of this project has not only strengthened the capacity of the local association DJOTCHETCHENGLAR through the field of environmental conservation, but has also allowed a great interaction between ODZH and the local community as well as with the fishermen of the Dapak Bank. A new environmental education programme between the local association, ODZH and different educational institutions in the region and other countries, which can serve as a mechanism to disseminate its enormous potential in terms of ecotourism and actions, and in increasing the visibility of conservation actors in this area of the country.
Through this ODZH report thanks the Wadden Sea Secretariat for trusting the organization to invite it to submit a proposal for a modest project that has a great contribution to the preservation of the regional environment, global and local development. The request came at a time when the organization had virtually nothing. Today, the realization of this project increases our visibility and our responsibility towards our partners. On the other hand, there is an increase in the level of trust in the fullness of our members.
It has made possible and will also allow greater interaction with different fishing communities and educational institutions for which the centre will serve as a base to support environmental education activities in the region. In a modest way, we address our thanks to Wetlands International and Coastal Office Planning who supports us with the car, printing, technicians in our environmental education and communication activities in Guinea Bissau, therefore, our gratitude.
|Two palaver sessions at the Bote school|
|Meeting with fishermen||Chat session|
|A chat session with high school students from Caió|
Restoration of migratory waterbird habitats, Togo, April 2017
Report of the project to support the restoration of migratory waterbird habitats in the Togo coastal strip: case of the Agbodankopé wetland area in the Prefecture of Lakes / Togo
1 - Background and justification
Togo has officially twenty-two sites for counting migratory waterbirds, including the IBAs (Important Bird Conservation Areas) of the coastal strip. However, new sites have been identified but in the absence of an appropriate monitoring plan, they are almost entirely invaded by fishermen who are developing alternative activities such as market gardening and agriculture through practices that are very harmful to the water birds that pass through this zone. These practices include the almost total invasion of certain wetlands in the locality for agricultural activities, the use of various chemicals such as herbicides, insecticides and pesticides.
Indeed, overfishing with non-recommended equipment led to a considerable drop in the yields of the Agbodankopé Fishermen's and Fish Farmers' Association and fishermen from other villages in Agbodrafo Township in the Lakes Prefecture.
In addition, in their fight against poverty due in particular to a galloping demography added to an anarchic urbanization in the locality, the populations transformed some of these sites into sand and gravel extraction quarries.
Faced with this alarming situation, it is necessary that the said Association be truly supervised in the exploitation of the mangrove relics that still exist in the environment so that it adopts the good practices of migration corridor in habitat management in the coastal strip of Togo.
It is with this in mind that this proposal for a micro-project for funding is being submitted to the Wadden Sea Flyways Initiative (WSFI) Secretariat to enable the NGO JPR to support beneficiary communities in addressing the habitat degradation challenges of migratory waterbirds in the Agbodankopé wetland area.
2 - Objectives
2.1 General objectives
Contribute to the implementation of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) in Togo
2.2 Specific objectives
- To sensitize the members of the Association of fishermen and fish farmers of Agbodankopé and riverside villages on the sustainable management of waterbird habitats in the coastal strip of Togo;
- Train members of the Association and fishermen from neighbouring villages in best practices for sustainable management of the migration corridor and in compliance with the National Action Plan for Integrated Water Resources Management (PANGIRE) and other relevant strategy documents and action plans adopted at national and international levels.
3 - Procedure
In accordance with the project document, the activities took place in three main stages, namely the exchange trip with the administrative and local authorities of the project area, the awareness workshop, the training workshop and reforestation.
3.1- Exchange trip with administrative and local authorities
In order to involve all the actors concerned in the implementation of this project, an exchange trip with the first administrative officials of the Prefecture of the Lakes, starting with the Prefect, was organized on 1 April 2017. It was a tour that led a delegation from the NGO JPR successively to the offices of the Prefecture of the Lakes, the Prefectural Director of the Environment and Forest Resources of the Lakes, the Royal Palace of the Chief Canton of Agbodrafo and the village chiefs of Agbodankopé and surrounding villages (5 in total).
In each office where the interviews took place in the villages visited, the Vice-President of JPR, Mr AZALEKO introduced the purpose of the mission. In turn, Mr. AHIABOR NUVI Kossi Nopéli, Communication Officer of the NGO JPR, presented the project to the interlocutors. The discussions shed more light on the multifaceted and multidimensional roles of migratory birds not only in the food chain but also in the conservation of biological diversity and thus in sustainable development.
An awareness-raising tour was carried out on 22 April 2017 for the direct beneficiaries of the project, the members of the Association des Pêcheurs et Piscicultures d'Agbodankopé as well as the representatives of the fishermen and the Development Committee offices at the base of the surrounding villages. As during the exchange trip, nearly 2000 people were made aware of the same theme, namely the multifaceted and multidimensional roles of migratory birds and the need to conserve them in a sustainable manner.
The session was also attended by the Secretary General of the Prefecture of the Lakes, representing the Prefect, the Chief Canton of Agbodrafo and the Chiefs of the village of Agbodankopé and neighbouring villages.
In order to support the members of the Association des Pêcheurs et Pisciculteurs d'Agbodankopé and other villages in the project area to integrate the sustainable conservation of migratory waterbirds into their daily lives by adopting good farming practices and restoring the habitats of these species in the coastal strip of Togo, particularly in the marshy area between their village and Lake Togo, a training in organic agriculture was organized on July 26, 2017. The course was held in the Public Primary School of the village of Agbodankopé punctuated by a mangrove restoration phase.
On this occasion, JPR had the support of the Association "REVODD" (Association of Volunteers for Sustainable Development) based in Lomé.
The aim of the training is to encourage these communities to practice organic agriculture to support their fishing activities and to strengthen their fishing tools so that they, in turn, relay information and new wetland management techniques to their peers.
This training consisted, among other modules, of an exchange of experiences between these various actors on site preparation practices and the production of organic boards. It took place in two phases: classroom theory and field practice.
4 - Results
- Nearly 2,000 people including fishing professionals (fishermen and pond fishermen), farmers and market gardeners from Agbodankopé and riverside villages were sensitized;
- A 3 hectares strip has been planted with mangroves to restore migratory waterbird habitat in the Agbodankopé swamp area;
- Thirty (30) fishermen from the Association des Pêcheurs et Pisciculteurs d'Agbodankopé and neighbouring villages were trained in composting methods and organic farming practices.
Wetland and waterbird surveys & training, Equatorial Guinea,
13-22 March 2017
WETLAND AND WATERBIRD SURVEYS & TRAINING, EQUATORIAL GUINEA
13-22 March 2017
Equatorial Guinea has never participated in the IWC and has remained a significant gap in the IWC network. In recognition of this and based on a request by the government of Equatorial Guinea, WSFI supported and organised a 3-day training course and field surveys to the main coastal wetlands of Río Muni, the continental zone of the country, which has a 265km coastline. Equipment was also donated to enable surveys to be carried out in the future, including binoculars, 2 telescopes with tripods and a camera.
Bridled tern, island of Annobón
A training course was held in Bata, opened by Santiago Francisco Engona Osono, State Secretary for the Environment. Participants were drawn principally from the ministry, including personnel responsible for coastal wetlands. There were 12 full-time participants. The course aimed to build awareness about the importance of coastal wetlands and waterbirds, and to introduce practical knowledge to enable identification and monitoring. The course comprised one day of training in Bata followed by two field visits to the Río Campo Natural Reserve in the north and the Río Muni Estuary Natural Reserve in the south. Both field days experienced significant delays mainly due to the immense amount of paperwork needed for conducting any kind of field exercise. At the sites, training surveys were conducted by walking stretches of coastline and stopping at access points. Both sites present administrative, logistical and security challenges for monitoring, and only small sections of the sites were visited, the emphasis being on training. The Río Muni estuary is extensive, and would best be counted by boat.
Noddies on breeding cliffs on the island of Annobón
The trainer and three participants then visited the island of Annobón, which is situated more than 500km southwest of Bata. Here, fairly complete surveys were carried out of the whole coastal zone on 19th March by boat, and of Lagoa Mazafim, the country’s largest freshwater lake, on 20th March. The trainer and one other participant also visited coastal wetlands of Bioko on 22nd March.
Participants in Punta Embonda at northern coast of Equatorial Guinea
Capacity for conducting wetland / waterbird surveys in Equatorial Guinea is low; this was the first training course of its kind to take place in the country. It is hoped that a small network will carry out surveys in the future, and an IWC Coordinator is now in place. The data from visits to wetlands of Bioko and Río Muni do not present any remarkable information. However, the data from Annobón is significant, noting the high importance of the island for breeding noddies. Although birds had not started breeding yet, they had started to gather at their breeding sites. Black Noddy Anous minutus was more numerous (3,890) than Brown Noddy Anous stolidus (750). The surveys also confirmed the presence of Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides on Annobón (first recorded there in 2016) and a breeding population of Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus.
Participants at Rio Muni
Principal participants: Tim Dodman, Santiago Martín, Honorato Toka, Santiago Biyang
Relaunching World Heritage nomination of Bolama-Bijagós, Guinea-Bissau, 16-19 February 2017
Relaunching the process for World Heritage nomination of the Bolama-Bijagós Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau
The Bijagós Archipelago, a complex of islands, mudflats and shallow waters off Guinea-Bissau, is one of the foremost sites for nature along the western coast of Africa, whilst its islands also have rich and varied cultural traditions. The site has been recognised for its international importance under various mechanisms, including as a Man and Biosphere Reserve.
However, Guinea-Bissau’s application to nominate the area as a World Heritage Site (WHS, a process that was launched in 2005) was unsuccessful. Although the evaluation team clearly recognised the international values of the site, there were issues with integrity of the site, noting the presence of plantations, shipping lanes and various potential threats, whilst no management plan (a requisite for all WHSs) was presented.
Ilha João Vieira in the south of Bijagós
Given that the importance of the site was not in doubt and noting the potential varied benefits of securing World Heritage status, the government of Guinea-Bissau has decided to relaunch the process for nomination of the archipelago as a site under the World Heritage Convention. Various partners are willing to support Guinea-Bissau in this process, including the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) and the MAVA Foundation, which provided resources for this first relaunch workshop, which was held at the IBAP (Instituto da Biodiversidade e das Áreas Protegidas) Casa do Ambiente e Cultura on the island of Bubaque in February 2017.
|Opening of the workshop||Lively discussion|
|Casa do Ambiente e Cultura||Handing over Flyway Guide to Minister of Environment|
The government’s commitment to the relaunching process was evidenced by the presence of the Minister of Environment throughout the workshop. Participants listened to valuable presentations about the previous nomination as a WHS and evaluation results, the current status of the archipelago as a biosphere reserve and objectives of a MAVA Foundation project to support the nomination. Examples were also presented from the Wadden Sea and the Banc d’Arguin, both WHSs along the East Atlantic Flyway, highlighting the link between these sites and the Bijagós through migratory birds – one of the key nature values of the archipelago. Both sites clearly valued their World Heritage status.
Mangroves on Ilha de Orango
Participants were also presented with various scenarios for a new nomination as a WHS, which would likely focus in the first instance only on the nature values of the site. There were options to consider to the whole biosphere reserve as a WHS, although this would mean including areas such as plantations and shipping lanes, which could be problematic for the nomination. Alternatives were to nominate the protected areas within the archipelago as the WHS or to focus on the marine areas. No decisions were taken, but there were rich discussions and debates, which will all feed into the nomination process over the coming years. The alternative time schedules and deadlines to reach nomination targets were also presented and discussed.
Participants of the workshop in Bubaque
The importance of involving local communities within the nomination process was noted, an aspect that perhaps did not receive sufficient attention during the first application. The WSFI and MAVA would be supporting a follow-up workshop to inform and gauge the input from communities from all chiefdoms / key islands within the archipelago. All partners are committed to ensuring consensus for the new nomination.
Photos by G. Scheiffarth, T. Dodman and G. Lüerßen.
Wadden Sea, Banq d'Arguin and MAVA team after the workshop in Bissau.
Building capacities in the Atlantic Moroccan Sahara in waterbird identification, Morocco, 23-28 January 2017
Building capacities of local associations in the Atlantic Moroccan Sahara in waterbird identification and monitoring
By Pr. Sidi Imad Cherkaoui (Trainer), Moulay Ismail University, Meknès, Morocco
|Participants and members of the Association Nature Initiative at Dakhla Bay (Ramsar and IBA site)|
|Participants and members of Association Réseau Khnifiss at Khnifiss National Park (Ramsar and IBA site)|
R1. Two groups belonging to two NGOs representing local Associations trained in Bird ID and monitoring
With the financial support of the WSFI, two trainings on the identification and monitoring of waterbirds were organized from 23 to 28 January 2017 in the Moroccan Atlantic Sahara for the benefit of two local NGOs: Réseau Associations Khnifiss and Association Nature Initiative of Dakhla.
The two NGOs are leading local civil societies in the Sahara and advocate for the protection of protected areas including Khnifiss Lagoon and Dakhla Bay, both of which are considered IBAs and Ramsar sites of great importance for migratory waterbirds, the promotion of ecotourism and environmental education and the monitoring of wildlife.
Trainings took place in the two national parks that benchmark the targeted wetlands. The beneficiaries were mainly university students and / or voluntary members of both NGOs. Participants were interested in birdwatching, ecotourism and conservation. Among them, there were also local fishermen, preserve wardens and ecotourism guides.
In total, 26 participants attended the training in Khnifiss Lagoon including three officers of the National Park staff and 12 participants in Dakhla, making the total beneficiaries 38 individuals (8 more persons than expected), demonstrating the interest of the civil society in wetlands and bird conservation locally.
Both associations recognize the importance of maintaining a regular monitoring of the birds at the level of these two key wetlands as well as in all the wetlands of the Moroccan Atlantic Sahara region which represents a key stopover area for thousands of migratory birds using the East Atlantic Flyway. As a result, they are committed to contributing to the winter censuses of waterbirds in accordance with national and international guidelines and are grateful to WSFI for providing them with the opportunity to be trained by an expert in bird identification and initiated in waterbird counting methods.
The trainings were carried out according to the programs, which can be downloaded here.
R2. A guideline of waterbird and wetland monitoring developed
A guideline document in Arabic was developed and disseminated.
R3. Two telescopes and 6 Binoculars distributed
One telescope and 3 binoculars per NGO were bought and will be distributed soon.
R.4 A supplementary set of 10 illustrated (WSFI) guides of waterbirds were disseminated by SPANA Morocco to the two NGOs, and the use of the guide was well understood.
|Impressions of the workshop|
II. Communication and visibility
The two training activities were covered by the local media, and photos were posted on the association websites and social media. Below are the electronic links to communication activities related to the project:
|Pr. Sidi Imad Cherkaoui talking to Maroccanean TV|
III. Waterbird census
Waterbird censuses were carried out at 7 different wetlands. A scientific paper is being prepared for a peer-reviewed journal using the census results for this winter and the past years to show the protection effects on waterbird trends in this geographical part of Morocco and the importance of maintaining long-term censuses in order to draw the best conservation measures and assess the response of waterbirds by comparing the relative abundance and species richness trends by sites and guilds.
|Wadden Sea birds in Morocco|
Pan-African Ornithological Congress 14, Senegal, 15-21 October 2016
CONGRES PANAFRICAIN D’ORNITHOLOGIE
LE COMITE D’ORGANISATION
s/c Direction des Parcs Nationaux
B.P. 5135 - Dakar - Fann
République du Sénéga
'International cooperation for the protection of waterbirds along their flyways' and Direction des Parcs Nationaux “Cooperation”
|Project title:||Support to organize the Pan African Ornithological Congress (PAOC14) in Dakar, Senegal|
|Partner:||International Cooperation for the Protection of Waterbirds along their Flyways (WSFI)|
|Agreement holder:||Direction des Parcs Nationaux Senegal|
|Country/region:||Dakar - Senegal|
|Amount granted:||2,000 Euros|
|Project starting date:||1 January 2016|
|Reporting period:||15 July 2016|
The Pan African Ornithological Congress (PAOC) is an international conference organized regularly in Africa on ornithological matters. It is held every four years in an African country. It therefore concerns all regions of Africa with ornithological interest. Senegal has always been a great ornithological field within the region and also plays key roles for migratory birds along the East Atlantic flyways.
In this context, after the thirteenth congress in Arusha, Tanzania, the choice focused on Senegal to host from 16-21 October 2016, the 14th Pan-African Ornithological Congress. Senegal devotes a long tradition of sustainable and integrated management of birds and their habitats. Indeed, Senegal is marked by a political will which early led to the ratification of international conventions on migratory species (CMS), wetland of international importance (Ramsar), the conservation of biological diversity (CBD) among others and the establishment of a network of protected areas, some of which are essentially of ornithological vocation.
Due to the challenges to make the different activities happen (kick-off) such as a functional website, launch of the congress and organising logistics among others, we quickly contacted the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat through the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) for support. From the valuable support provided, we were able to start the activities linked to the congress (PAOC14):
1. THE WEBSITE
One of the key challenges was a functional Website. With WSFI support we were able to hire one of the staff from the administration who is knowledgeable in IT to support the congress with the creation of the Website.
He did manage to host it in their system after obtaining all the software from another source (via PAOC13). To make him very motivated, it was decided to support him with a small subsistence for his time and a bit of his transport as the duties related to the PAOC were a bit demanding.
The Webmaster was very dedicated to the task and also for the delivery, even though the Website did face some difficulties to be very functional, especially for registration and making payments online. By now we are very confident with the progress made.
2. OFFICIAL LAUNCH
Early this year, with the WSFI support and co-financing from Direction des Parcs Nationaux Senegal, significant progress was made towards the realization of the activities planned to organize the Pan African Ornithological Congress (PAOC14) in Dakar, Senegal.
Finally the launch was officially done on the 17th June 2016, chaired by the Secretary General of the Ministry in charge of Environment (MEDD). The launch participants comprised key stakeholders: donors, embassies, universities and volunteers from local NGOs. We also had our International Partner Organizations such as Birdlife International, Wetlands International, PRCM and IUCN among others. The local NGOs were also present. (See list in annex).
During this official opening we had 3 key presentations from the Wildlife Department Deputy-Director with a warm welcome, followed by Colonel Abdoulaye Ndiaye on the PAOC background and also on the plans and the next steps. Major Adja Sy from the PAOC Secretariat presented the TORs of the different commissions and the plan of action. The last speech was the official declaration of the Secretary General of the Ministry to launch the congress.
During the launch, around 100 participants took part to this event and it was widely covered by several media (TV, radio, newspapers – see below). This kick-off linked to the activities has also successfully engaged with other relevant processes and initiated important support from governments under the framework of PAOC14.
3. MEDIA COVERAGE
The launch was an important event, and was covered by several media. Beside the national newspapers, around fifteen (15) journalists in charge of the different local TV and radio stations were also involved. In the evening and the following days the news was everywhere in the different media (see different links in annex). Two big banners were made to support the communication aspects.
The Secretary General, in her speech, congratulated the task force for the work done since 2014 as part of the preparation of this important event. She spoke of the importance of the PAOC 14 nationally and internationally as well the choice made for Senegal to host this important event. It will be the first time for Senegal to host such an international congress linked specifically to birds.
She thanked the different partners who supported this workshop to launch the congress such as PRCM, Wetlands International Africa, Birdlife International and the MAVA Foundation and of course the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat through the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI), which was the first to provide this important support. She reiterated her gratitude for their support and assistance in the conservation of biodiversity.
From this important event a clear Road Map has been endorsed and should also be updated before the next committee meeting.
|Official opening participants and guest of honor the Secretarary General of the Ministry in charge of the Environment|
Relatório do projecto de conservação da avifauna da reserve integral do ilhãu dos pássaros, Angola, Julho 1016
|REPÚBLICA DE ANGOLA
MINISTÉRIO DO AMBIENTE
INSTITUTO NACIONAL DA BIODIVERSIDADE E
ÁREAS DE CONSERVAÇÃO
A principio, o Projecto de Conservação da Avifauna da Reserva Integral do Ilhéu dos Pássaros era apenas um desejo de protecção da Reserva Integral do Ilhéu dos Pássaros que se encontra sobre uma forte pressão antropogénica. Se nada for feito, este espaço que representa um habitat importante para as aves residentes, como para as aves migratórias poderá degradar-se ao ponto de perder a sua importância avifaunística.
Portanto, este Projecto não podia materializar-se sem o envolvimento de duas pessoas que disponibilizaram do seu tempo e perícia para sua realização, os senhores Tim Dodman e Gerold Luerben. De facto, o senhor Tim Dodman ajudou-nos a desenhar o Projecto, contribuindo com a sua larga experiência e perícia na preservação e conservação das aves aquáticas ao longo da costa oeste africano. O envolvimento do senhor Gerold Luerben foi primordial na finalização do Projecto para a sua submissão ao Secretariado da Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative, a quem agradecemos imensamente, e sobretudo na pessoa do Responsável do Secretariado, o senhor Rüdiger Strempel.
De facto, aproveitamos da ocasião para agradecer todas as demais pessoas que envolveram-se pessoalmente para a materialização deste Projecto, tanto a nível nacional como a nível internacional. Deve destacar-se aqui os conselhos prodigados pelo senhor Chris Rostron da Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) para a construção do Observatório das aves.
A Reserva Natural Integral do Ilhéu dos Pássaros, com 1,7 km2, foi criado em 1973 , pelo Decreto Provincial n°55 de 21/12/73. O principal objectivo desta Reserva era de preservar a biodiversidade avifaunística da baia Mussulo e manter em condições naturais e primárias o habitat das aves aquáticas para fins científicos. Contudo, apesar do seu estatuto, o Ilhéu dos Pássaros nunca beneficiou verdadeiramente do seu estatuto, tendo sofrido vários tipos de pressões antropogénicas.
De facto, ao longo dos anos as pressões antropogénicas tendem a aumentar neste meio, pondo em risco o equilíbrio do meio e a sobrevivência das aves aquáticas neste habitat. A instalação de alguma comunidade de Pescadores e Colhedores de Mabangas (Arca senilis) é um dos maiores riscos, tendo em conta que esta comunidade tende a crescer cada ano. O desenvolvimento da península do Mussulo é uma das maiores pressões, isto porque, a Reserva sofre dos efeitos secundários deste crescimento, podemos destacar a deposição de lixos por parte de alguns moradores da península na Reserva e os passeios com as lanchas motorizadas a volta do Ilhéu. Ao lado destas duas situações mais impactantes, têm outros tipos de pressões não negligenciáveis, tal como a acumulação de lixo trazido pelo movimento das marés.
Evidentemente, os estudos científicos que constituíam o principal fim da criação da Reserva não tiveram a devida importância. Não há registo de estudos ligados às aves aquáticas realizados neste meio. Pois, mesmo se alguns levantamentos esporádicos foram efectuados, mais não existiu um monitoramento ao longo dos anos.
Portanto, perante estas pressões antropogénicas e a falta de informação científica sobre a avifauna do Ilhéu dos Pássaros, havia a necessidade de desenvolver mecanismos de conservação desta Reserva, isto porque se nada for feito, este refúgio das aves, no meio de tanta pressão, poderá simplesmente desaparecer. É nestes termos que este projecto teve como Preservar e proteger os limites da Reserva Integral do Ilhéu dos Pássaros. Portanto, todas acções realizadas foram no âmbito de atingir este objectivo.
De facto, o apoio financeiro e técnico da Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative foi fundamental para atingirmos os objectivos específicos traçados e desta forma proteger o refúgio das aves na baia. O apoio da Wadden Sea foi conjugada com o apoio financeiro e técnico da WETLANDS International que ajudou na realização do primeiro levantamento sistemático da avifauna aquática na costa de Luanda, principalmente na baía do Mussulo. Deve salientar-se que devido às fortes constrangimentos financeiros, o cronograma das actividades não foi respeitado rigorosamente e algumas actividades não foram realizadas como previsto.
2. Realização das actividades
A maior parte das actividades ou acções de maior importância para a preservação da Reserva Natural Integral do Ilhéu dos Pássaros e da conservação da sua avifauna foram atingidas, infelizmente, devido a questões não ligadas à nossa vontade, mas a depreciação da moeda nacional, algumas actividades não foram realizadas como previsto.
2.1. Instalação de Cartaz Informativo
Os pescadores instalados na Reserva Integral e a maior parte de pessoas encontradas neste meio alegam não ter conhecimento de tratar-se de um espaço protegido cujo acesso é totalmente proibido. Tendo em conta esta situação, era importante e primordial instalar neste local um cartaz informativo para chamar a atenção de todas e qualquer pessoa que quisesse instalar-se ou frequentar temporariamente este local. Este objectivo foi atingido com a instalação de uma cartaz informativo (figura 1) para lembrar o estatuto de protecção da Reserva.
Figura 1- Cartaz informativo instalado no Ilhéu dos Pássaros
2.2. Construção do Observatório das aves
O monitoramento da avifauna é factor importante para a conservação das aves na Reserva e em toda baía de Mussulo. Desse feito, a construção de um observatório das aves era um factor primordial para a realização dessa actividade. É óbvio que a instalação de um observatório é igualmente uma maneira de dissuasão para toda e qualquer pessoa que queira frequentar este local. Foi muito difícil e penoso levar a cabo esta actividade, tendo em conta vários constrangimentos, mas com base na sua importância e no impacto positivo que poderia ter na Reserva, finalmente conseguiu-se erguer um observatório na Reserva Integral (Figura 2).
|Figura 2.1- Observatório construído||Figura 2.2- Monitoramento das aves pelo Observatório|
2.3. Incentivar os turistas a deixar Ilhéu dos Pássaros
Os pescadores e colhedores de Mabangas instalaram-se anarquicamente no Ilhéu dos Pássaros ao longo dos últimos cinco anos. Durante as nossas actividades, recenseamos 12 famílias que instalaram-se de forma definitiva neste local. Realizamos dois encontros com as famílias e mantemos um contacto permanente com o Representante das famílias (Figura 3). Realizamos as reuniões com a Administração do Mussulo no sentido de preparar a evacuação dessas famílias. É um processo que estamos a tentar acelerar porque temos que com os tempos, algumas outras famílias venham instalar-se.
Figura 3 - Encontro com o representante dos pescadores
2.4. Sessão de capacitação e troca de experiência
A princípio, pensava-se realizar uma capacitação ao monitoramento das aves aquáticas a nível nacional, mas perante os constrangimentos evocados acima, esta actividade foi restringido à capacitação de alguns estudantes das universidades Agostinho Neto e Metodista de Angola, aproveitando as contagens das aves aquáticas (Figura 4) que contou com o apoio da WETLANDS International.
Figura 4- Grupo deslocando-se para a sessão de capacitação no Ilhéu
3. Despesas financeiras
A questão financeira foi a mais complicada. As despesas sofreram enormemente com a depreciação da moeda local, o Kwanza. De facto, Projecto inicial foi elaborado contando com um orçamento de 7.000 € (Sete mil euros), e recebemos uma primeira prestação de 6.300 €, o que corresponde em “Kwanza”, de acordo com o câmbio oficial★ à 1.169.154 AOA (Um milhão e cento e sessenta e nove mil e cento e cinquenta e quatro kwanzas). Portanto, as despesas tais como previstos no Projecto sofreram enormemente com a depreciação (Tabela 1) , passando à 2.215.000 AOA (Dois milhões e duzentos e quinze mil kwanzas ).
Portanto, a execução das actividades do Projecto foram adiados, havendo a necessidade de encontrar o resto do valor, ou seja 1.045.846 AOA (Um milhão quarenta e cinco mil e oitocentos e quarenta e seis kwanzas). Perante a necessidade de realizar pelo menos as actividades principais, isto é a construção do observatório das aves e a instalação de uma placa informativa sobre o estatuto do Ilhéu dos Pássaros, o Ministério do Ambiente através do INBAC, concedeu um financiamento de 345.845 AOA (Trezentos e quarenta e cinco mil e oitocentos e quarenta e cinco kwanzas). ★Câmbio oficial: 1 EUR = 185,58 AOA
Tabela 1- Despesas por actividades
Valor previsto em euros (€)
Valor actual em euros (€)
★★Compra e instalação do cartaz informativo
Realização da sessão de formação e troca de experiências
Instalação do Observatório no Ilhéu dos Pássaros
Organização de campanhas de sensibilização e remoção de lixos no ilhéu dos pássaros
4. Considerações finais
O Projecto sofreu bastante com a crise e depreciação da moeda local. A realização das actividades tais como previstos foram totalmente modificados tendo em conta a disparidade entre os valores previstos e os valores reais no mercado. Contudo, foram desenvolvidos esforços, com a participação do Ministério do Ambiente através do INBAC, para a realização das duas principais actividades, isto é a construção do Observatório dos pássaros e a instalação da Placa informativa sobre o estatuto da Reserva Integral do ilhéu dos Pássaros. Vamos continuar a desenvolver esforços para a realização das actividades que estão por realizar para garantir a protecção deste importante habitat das aves aquáticas que constitui uma verdadeira rota de migração para as espécies migratórias.
★★Tendo em conta a situação, tivemos que reduzir o tamanho da Placa informativa, para reduzir o valor e investir o resto na construção do Observatório.
Training Tour Guides for Bird Tourism, Sierra Leone, 04 - 10 March 2016
The National Association of Certified Tour Guides – Sierra Leone
Training Tour Guides for bird tourism promotion in Sierra Leone’s coastal zone
Sierra Leone is endowed with wetlands and the training was born out of the need to enlighten members of National Association of Certified Tourist Guides on waterbirds they encounter when touring with tourists.
The training was divided into separate sections:
- Part 1 - provides information on the bird watching itself and the rationale for “bird guide training”.
- Part 2 - offers practical onsite training, including identifying the birds, counting and monitoring of waterbirds, which took place at the Tissana Wetland and Levuma wetlands
A total number of six (6) tour guides were trained instead of the initial five (5) stated in the proposal, the reason being that one of the trainers declined because of another engagement.
The participants have learnt about the conservation of waterbirds in the marine coastal zone, how to monitor waterbirds in the marine coastal areas and how to count them.
Tourism is inseparable from a country’s development and growth, therefore, tourism thrives despite the decade long civil war that destroyed Sierra Leone’s most enviable destinations and resources that led to the vacuum of tourism professionals. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm for tourism to yield more benefits witnessed some drawbacks to the tourism product and its development such as:
- Complaints from visitors/ tourists about poor guiding at sites or destinations e.g. a tour guide misleading a group of tourists about the age and significance of the cotton tree
- Lack of trained and qualified tour guides
- Lack of capacity to handle the number of tourists visiting the country
The amalgamation of the above inconveniencies invigorates the need for the tour guide training programme, and therein establishes the National Association of Certified Tourist Guides (NACToG).
The newly formulated ecotourism policy has paved the way to enhance the ecotourism potentials of the country to serve as an economic base for local communities. Domestic tourism is low in terms of receipt and arrival at the tourist destinations but this can be developed by creating specialized packages. Eco-tourists, such as bird watchers, are an underserved segment in the Sierra Leone Tourism market, therefore, empowering the tour guide will create a competitive advantage for Sierra Leone to target that niche.
This project aimed at capacitating the Association in nature studies and hence be able to conserve, preserve, enrich and above all protect our fragile ecological and cultural resources particularly bird populations and their habitats and other biodiversity such as to:
- Prevent the decline and extinction of species in the wild.
- Help, through wildlife conservation, to maintain the diverse natural environment and enrich the quality of people’s lives.
- Sustain the vital ecological systems that underpin human livelihoods, which will in turn make the stay of both domestic and international tourists, memorable and pleasant.
- Acquire knowledge on bird topography
- Know the techniques involved in identifying birds
- Know the importance of birds
- Build the capacity of NACTOG guides on bird monitoring techniques
The Training Workshop
Six (6) participants took part in the training Programme, which took place at Tissana from 4th - 10th March, 2016. The trainers constitute seasoned bird experts in the persons of Mr. Charles Showers, Freelance and board chairman for the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone and Mr. Momoh Bai Sesay the Field Technician for the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, whilst the training Programme was organized by Mr. Alieya A. Kargbo, Chairman NACTOG.
A list of participants and trainers is shown in Annex 1.
Field and theory work
The Training Programme
Threat to Waterbirds
- KaiKokey Island has nests with eggs of the Sacred Ibis; oyster and cockle harvesting at the Island scared the birds away.
- The locals took about two days to do the harvesting on the island, so caused a lot of disturbance for the birds to roost.
Training Course Content
The topography of a bird
This basically dealt with the parts of a bird. To identify birds, you must know the parts of the bird starting with the crown down to the feet. It also enhances accurate description of bird species during identification.
Bird watching techniques: What to look for?
Knowing the colours, where they occur, the shape, call or song, the gait and the silhouette of a bird helps in bird identification.
The importance of birds
Birds can serve as indicators of a healthy environment. The presence of waders, raptors, insectivorous and seed eaters (different species of birds) in the same ecosystem shows how much life forms that ecosystem can support, therefore how healthy, that ecosystem is.
Waterbirds are usually found in and around water bodies and include waders. Such waterbodies can be marine or fresh. They exhibit certain behavioural characteristics like diving as in cormorants and darters, swimming like ducks and geese, wading like greenshanks and herons and chasing receding waves like stints.
People may ask, why count birds? It is important to monitor change in number of birds over a period of time. For example, an increase in species numbers might mean the population is doing great and living conditions for that species is good. A decrease in population might be related to habitat destruction or disease or probably the area where the birds breed has been converted into a farm. Counting birds has resulted in valuable research that has saved species from extinction
How to use and care for bins
A pair of binoculars also known as bins, are very important key equipment used in the study and observation of birds. It facilitates detailed view of bird species thereby enabling factual observation.
It comprises of a couple of prismatic lenses that refract and enlarge the image of the object observed.
Basic care includes cleaning the objective and eye piece lenses before and after use. Keeping the equipment dry as much as possible. Reducing impacts and shocks as this may cause prisms to shift thereby altering image. Some recent models are weather proof to some extent, coated with rubber to make it water resistant.
Monitoring is a conservation tool used to evaluate the population, distribution and therefore how healthy waterbird species level remain over time.
Monitoring techniques include bird counts which can be annual or biannual. The information acquired from such exercises tells you how widely or sparsely distributed species of birds are over a period of time. Thus prompting proper research, especially in particular for waterbird species, many of which are in decline.
How to satisfy your birdwatcher
Sometimes, while waiting for a particular species to appear the guide can engage the tourist in fables, folklore or sacred and other interesting events. Cattle egrets are regarded as cow angels because people think they guide cattle, not actually realizing that they feed on insects that are flushed when the cattle are on the move. The guide must always realize that, the essence of the tour is to get the tourist to come back to him in the future, and not to discourage the tourist.
Field Trips / Site Visit
Tour guides were exposed to the actual practical aspects of observing and identifying waterbird species in their habitats as the tide was receding. Species identified can be found at the end of the report.
Results and next steps
The training has added value to tour guides. Bird identification had been a serious problem for tour guides, since we had been facing serious embarrassment from tourists. Though most tourists are not bird watchers, they do want to know about some common birds that fly over them during the tours they embark on. This training helped tour guide to know the basic tricks about bird watching. It increased the confidence of the trainees and this has led to peer to peer mentoring Programme scheduled for the 1st week of October.
NACTOG will design itineraries for scheduled weekend bird watching tours as part of the next steps. This will help us to be able to identify many birds as bird distinction is a very difficult process to master. To maintain bird related tourism, we will target inbound tour operators, NGO’s and Companies with our bird watching itineraries (half and full day) to market and promote bird watching in the country. To this end, we are proud to tell you that we are gradually making a way to empower most of our membership on the basic techniques for bird guiding.
Overall, the training was a success as tour guides became conversant with identifying birds, including migratory species. It makes you as a tour guide to be versatile. It is an advantage to the tour guide in the event he\ she is asked to identify a bird by a tourist who may not be a bird watcher but who may come across a bird and may want to know that bird.
For this reason we as tour guides will not only be learning about birds, but also mammals and trees in West Africa.
It was recommended that it will be appreciated, if more funds are made available for more tour guides nationwide to get at least the basic training in bird watching.
- In house training to share experience, challenges and success stories.
- Conduct short refresher course on nature guiding and enumeration
- Create a website for NACTOG market and promote bird watching
- Production of bird watching itineraries to be circulated in travel agencies and inbound tour operators
- The training needs birding gears like Telescope, Binoculars, Gps and Field Guides.
They want KaiKokey Island to be protected and regenerate the mangroves.
- There should be an alternative Community Livelihood to protect both sites.
- Training needs certificate and more training in the future.
We acknowledge the support provided by the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative for this training programme. We also like to thank our different partners in Sierra Leone especially the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone for providing the tutors who worked diligently in transferring their knowledge and skills and not forgetting the National Tourist board for the technical expertise and advice. Finally, we thank the trainers and trainees for their participation.
Special Thanks to all who contributed to mobilize the resources and those who provided support for the programme.
Annex 1. List of trainers and trainees and their organizations
|MOMOH B. SESAY||CSSL|
|ALBERT G. WILLIAMS||NACTOG|
Annex 2. List of waterbirds observed during the training
Training: Organic Gardening in Agbodankope, Togo, 2 March 2016
MINISTERE DE L’ENVIRONNEMENT ET DES RESSOURCES FORESTIERES
|DIRECTION DES RESSOURCES FORESTIERES|
RAPPORT NARRATIF DU PROJET DE FORMATION DU GROUPEMENT MARAICHER D’AGBODANKOPE EN MARAICHAGE BIOLOGIQUE
Lomé Le 28 avril 2016
Le Togo est partie des conventions de RAMSAR et de la CMS respectivement le 04/11/1995 et le 01/02/1996. Il a le privilège de respecter les principes et fondements de celles-ci.
En effet il convient d’une part d’éviter, à présent et pour l'avenir, la disparition irréparable et l'empiètement progressif sur les zones humides, qui constituent des ressources de grande valeur économique, culturelle, scientifique et récréative, et remplissent des fonctions écologiques fondamentales en tant que régulateurs du régime des eaux et en tant qu'habitats d'une flore et d'une faune caractéristiques et, particulièrement, des oiseaux d'eau et d’autre part d'assurer la conservation des espèces migratrices qu’elles soient terrestres, marines et aériennes sur l'ensemble de leur aire de répartition.
Force est de constater que ces zones connaissent une dégradation de plus en plus croissante due à l’influence des activités humaines mais aussi aux effets néfastes des changements climatiques. Ces situations augmentent d’une part la vulnérabilité des populations riveraines de ce site mais d’autre part nuisent gravement le rôle de transition que joue la zone humide côtière du Togo dans sa mission de conservation des oiseaux d’eau migrateurs.
Dans la perspective de diminuer ou d’annihiler les effets néfastes de la dégradation, l’Initiative Voie de Migration des Mers de Wadden (WSFI) basée en Allemagne à travers la direction des ressources forestières s’est proposée de soutenir le projet« appui a la création d’activités génératrices de revenus par les communautés riveraines des sites nationaux inscrits sur la liste de Ramsar » au profit des maraichers d’Agbodankopé par leur formation en maraîchage biologique et l’équipement des matériels de maraîchage .
La sensibilisation s’était déroulée le 11 mars 2016 dans la cours du chef de village d’Agbodankopé. L’atelier de formation du groupement des maraîchers s’est tenu dans la salle de conférence hôtel les Copains à Aného le 22 mars 2016. Cet atelier visait à renforcer les capacités des maraîchers en maraîchage biologique dans la perspective de la gestion durable de la biodiversité.
Les objectifs visés par l’atelier sont de :
- Sensibiliser les membres du groupement sur la protection des oiseaux migrateurs ;
- renforcer les capacités des membres du groupement à la technique de préparation du compost organique ;
- sensibiliser et former les participants sur le rôle et l’avantage de l’utilisation du compost organique ;
- Les équipements de maraîchage sont remis aux maraîchers
Cet atelier a connu la participation d’une vingtaine de personnes venues du village d’Agbodankopé (voir la liste des participants en annexe).
La clôture de l’atelier et la remise des équipements se sont déroulées sous la supervision de la directrice régionale de l’environnement et des ressources forestières de la maritime et du préfet des Lacs.
I - ACTIVITES MENEES
1.1 Visite de prise de contact
Les activités ont commencé par des visites de prise de contact et d’échange avec le préfet des lacs, les chefs de canton d’Agbodrafon et du village d’Agbodankopé.
Au cours de ses rencontres, le premier responsable de la préfecture des lacs a exprimer sa joie dans la mise en œuvre de cet appui qui vient à point nommer pour aider le groupement maraîcher dans leur activités génératrices de revenu pour diminuer leur vulnérabilité. Il a mis un accent particulier sur l’aspect genre qui constitue la couche la plus vulnérable de la population.
Les autorités locales d’Agbodrafon ont quant à eux remercié les autorités du ministère de l’environnement et des ressources forestières d’avoir apporté le choix sur un village de son canton. Il a émis le vœu d’étendre ce projet sur les autres groupements des maraîchers du canton afin d’augmenter leur activités génératrice de revenu pour diminuer leur vulnérabilité.
A Agbodankopé, la joie a été immense pour les représentants du chef de village et les membres du groupement de la concrétisation du projet d’appui.
1.2 Sensibilisation des membres du groupement des maraîchers « La terre ne trompe pas » d’Agbodankopé
Cette deuxième phase porte sur la sensibilisation des maraîchers sur le thème: « l’importance des oiseaux en particulier ceux migrateurs dans la vie de l’être humain ».
Le développement de ce thème a montré aux maraîchers que l’utilisation des produits chimiques contribue fortement à la pollution des sites et l’habitat des oiseaux en général et en particulier ceux migrateurs qui en pâtissent au cours de leur voyage de migration. A cet effet il convient de leur réserver un site et habitat favorable à leur survie à travers nos activités de tous les jours. Ainsi la pratique du maraîchage biologique dans votre milieu serait un atout pour ses oiseaux migrateurs.
1.3 L’atelier de formation et de remise d’équipements
La troisième phase de ce projet repose sur la formation des membres du groupement « AGNIGBAN MOUBLEAMEO d’Agbodankopé » des maraîchers sur le maraîchage biologique et la remise des équipements de maraîchage. Elle s’est déroulée le 22 mars 2016 dans dans la salle de conférence de l’hôtel Le Copain à Aného.
1.3.1 La cérémonie d’ouverture des travaux
La cérémonie d’ouverture est présidée par Monsieur ABGETI Kossi représentant le directeur des ressources forestières empêché.
Ouvrant les activités, le président du comité villageois de développement (CVD) du village, a souhaité la bienvenue à la délégation et a convié les membres du groupement à prendre cette formation comme une aubaine qu’ils doivent prendre pour développer leur activité génératrice revenu.
Le chef de village a quant à lui saisi cette opportunité pour souhaité la cordiale bienvenue à la délégation. Il a remercié le ministre de l’environnement et des ressources forestière pour avoir pensé renforcer la capacité du groupement des maraichers de son village. A- t- il exprimé sa joie de cette formation qui, d’une part proscrit l’utilisation des produits chimiques qui sont souvent source de contamination et d’autre part invite les acteurs à l’utilisation des matériaux naturels pour engraisser leurs site de production et diminuer les risques de contamination et partant augmenter leur revenu monétaire afin de diminuer leur vulnérabilité.
Pour terminer, il a rappelé que cette rencontre qui entre dans le cadre de la protection de la diversité biologique ne doit pas être la dernière et a émis le vœu que son village reste ouvert pour accueillir d’autre opportunités qui entrent dans le cadre de développent de son village.
Prenant la parole au non du directeur des ressources forestières, le commandant AGBETI a remercié l’Initiative Voie de Migration des Mers de Wadden (WSFI) qui a accepté financé cette formation. Il a aussi adressé ses remerciements à tous les participants d’avoir répondu favorablement à cette rencontre qui est celle du donné et du recevoir. Nous nous convenons tous que les hommes sont au centre de toute forme de protection de la nature mais et surtout il faut accorder une grande importance aux oiseaux qui contribuent en grande partie à la reforestation à travers la dissémination des graines. Ceci dénote combien de fois, les oiseaux participent fondamentalement au bien être des hommes donc ces oiseaux ont besoin de la protection pour assument leur rôle de sauvegarde de la nature.
1.3.2 La formation proprement dit
Elle est subdivisée en deux phases :
22.214.171.124 La phase théorique s’est déroulée en salle.
Les formateurs ont expliqué aux maraîchers ce que s’est que le maraîchage biologique et l’avantage de cette pratique.
Le maraîchage biologique fait appel à l’usage des végétaux et du fumier pour engraisser le sol c'est-à-dire augmenté sa fertilité sans faire appel aux engrais chimiques.
- Le compostage
C’est une dégradation naturelle de la matière animale et végétale (matière organique) contrôlée par un ensemble d’êtres vivants (bactéries, champignons, micro et macro-organismes).
Le résultat de cette dégradation, une fois donnée au sol, se liera à la matière minérale pour donner l’humus qui apportera la fertilité et une bonne structure au sol.
Le compost se pratique ainsi comme andain destiné aux maraîchages (jardins) et pratiqué aussi par les agriculteurs. Il est obtenu par la succession des couches des matériaux secs (carbone), des matières fraîches (azotées) et de fumier. Le tas atteint une dimension de 1,2 à 1,5m de largeur, une hauteur de 1,2 à 1,4m pour une longueur minimale de 1,5m.
- Les avantages de l’utilisation du compost dans le maraîchage
- Avantages biologiques
- fertilisation organique des sols,
- optimisation de l’usage de l’eau,
- respect et sauvegarde de la biodiversité,
- lutte contre la désertification et l’érosion
- Avantages économiques
- alternative peu coûteuse, économie du coût des intrants et du transport,
- relocalisation de l’économie par la valorisation des ressources locales, etc.
- Avantages sociaux
- production d’une alimentation de qualité, garante de bonne santé,
- autonomie alimentaire des individus et stabilisation des populations sur leurs terres,
- revalorisation de la place des maraîchers ou des paysans dans les sociétés,
- création et renforcement des liens sociaux.
126.96.36.199 La phase pratique sur un site maraîcher
Cette phase a conduit les formateurs les apprenants à faire un exemple de préparation d’un compost en utilisant les herbes sèches, les branchages, le fumier, la terre, l’eau pour la circonstance. Des questions d’éclaircicement ont été répondues par les formateurs.
188.8.131.52 La remise des équipements au groupement et clôture de l’atelier de formation
Cette phase a vu la participation du Préfet des lacs et de la Directrice régionale de l’environnement et des ressources forestières de la maritime.
Les deux autorités ont profité de cette occasion remerciées le partenaire financier « l’Initiative Voie de Migration des Mers de Wadden (WSFI) » pour leur appui pour la réalisation de ce projet.
Elles ont également convié les membres du groupement de la mise en œuvre des leçons apprises au cours de cette formation et l’utilisation des équipements pour leur permettre de développer d’avantage leur activité pour le bien être de tous.
La remise des équipements au groupement par les deux autorités a mis fin à ctte journée de formation.
II – RESULTATS OBTENUS
Cette formation a permis à de :
- Susciter la volonté des membres du groument des maraîchers « AGNIGBAN MOUBLEAMEO d’Agbodankopé » à la protection des oiseaux migrateurs ;
- Former et renforcer les capacités de vingt (20) maraîchers en maraîchage biologique ;
- Fournir les équipements de maraîchage au groupement des maraîchers.
III - CONCLUSION
La mise en œuvre de cette petite subvention a permis de sensibiliser les acteurs sur l’importance des oiseaux migrateurs. Aussi, a- t- elle donné la possibilité de renforcer les capacités des membres du groupement et de mettre à leur disposition des petits matériels pour développer le maraîchage biologique à Agbodankopé.
Les membres du groupement ont sollicité la restauration de la forêt galerie disparue aujourd’hui suite aux actions anthropiques des populations qui jadis constituait l’habitat privilégié des oiseaux.
Local Community Action for Wetlands and Waterbirds
Sakumo Ramsar Site - Ghana, February - May 2016
Sustaining Local Community Action for
Wetlands and Waterbirds Conservation through
Participatory Awareness and Site Management at
Sakumo Ramsar Site - Ghana
The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, Ghana received grant support of Euro 4,000 from the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) in January 2016 to implement the project titled 'Sustaining Local Community Action for Wetlands and Waterbirds Conservation through Participatory Awareness and site Management at Sakumo Ramsar Site - Ghana'.
The main aim of the project was:
- To enhance community understanding and appreciation of the wetland resources through education and interpretation that could facilitate communal support and participation in sustainable management of the site, and
- To improve on current management measures and maintain the rich biological diversity and productivity of the Sakumo Ramsar site for water birds without unduly restricting the option of local communities benefiting from compatible livelihood activities within the site.
This report communicates the highlights of the main activities undertaken during the implementation of the project from February to May, 2016.
2 PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The Sakumo Ramsar Site lies along the coast (Fig. 1) between Accra (the capital of Ghana) and the harbor city of Tema, where urban development is within a few hundred meters from the site boundary. It is one of the six wetlands in Ghana reserved under the tenets of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and gazetted under the Wetlands (Ramsar Sites) Management Regulations, L.I. 1659 of 1999.
The site is the third most important roosting /habitat for seashore birds in Ghana. Over 60 species of water birds have been recorded including bird species of global conservation interest. Three species of marine turtle Lepidochelys olivacea, Chelonia mydas and Dermochelys coriacea nest at the beach. The site supports significant fisheries, crop and livestock farming for the surrounding communities. The lagoon has cultural significance as fetish for the indigenes of Tema where the Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca is considered sacred and protected by local taboos. The area has high educational and recreational value, being one of the few ‘green’ areas left in the rapidly expanding Accra-Tema metropolis.
Despite all these benefits the wetland is faced with a lot of threats including encroachment, sand winning, dumping of wastes and removal of trees, erosion and siltation of lagoon bed leading to invasion of aquatic weeds.
As a result of these threats to the ecological integrity and services provided by Sakumo wetlands is fast degrading that if measures are not taken to control the situation the entire catchment will be destroyed, with serious adverse effects that could erode the ecological values of the Site.
The main objective of the project was to enhance community understanding of the wetland conservation through education and interpretation that could facilitate communal support and participation and also to improve current management measures and maintain the rich biological diversity and productivity of the
Sakumo Ramsar site for waterbirds.
Activities suggested to address the issues included:
- Open forum using available (already published) information and brochures to educate and create awareness among targeted stakeholders to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the importance of preservation of the wetland resources;
- Targeted consultations and awareness creation among relevant stakeholders, including development planning authorities, to prevent and control future occurrences of activities that degrade the Site;
- Undertake tree planting along river banks and flood prone areas to reduce erosion and siltation of lagoon bed;
- Training of staff, local youth and civil society groups on bird identification including the use of bird guides and counting.
- Targeted training of pupils in 5 schools to build their knowledge on birds, their habitat, threats and conservation values.
The project was funded by the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative and supported a local NGO ‐ Friends of Ramsar Sites and the school communities within the close catchment of the site for a period of 4 months (February ‐ May, 2016).
Fig.1 Areial photo of Sakumo lagoon (EPA, 2004)
- Delay in rainfall that affected the transplanting of the seedlings at the field.
- Administrative delays in effecting proposed actions by the sector Ministry.
5 LESSONS LERNT
- When projects are planned to coincide and some activities shared with national and international programmes of similar objectives the impact becomes much pronounced and significant.
Banner for the 2016 World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) showing, among others,the theme for the celebration and acknowledging the donors and partners of the WSFI funded project at Sakumo Ramsar Site
6 WAY FORWARD
- Farmer community and school groups as well as local NGOs will be continuously encouraged to participate in wetland conservation activities including tree planting and bird counting in the Site.
- The Wildlife Division will carry out continuous sensitization through communication and awareness programmes in surrounding schools and communities.
- The Division will carry out regular field visits to control unauthorized activities.
- Seek further funding sources to erected bill boards and small information posts at vantage points within and around the Ramsar Site.
- Support the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) in their monthly birdwalk programme to increase the number of bird watching enthusiasts within Accra ‐ Tema Metropolis and to promote local support for migratory bird protection and the conservation of their habitats.
- We will continue our monthly bird counts in the Ramsar site to provide data on the birds that visit the site and their status.
- Action Plan to address problem of encroachment and other activities that degrade the Ramsar Site will be approved by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources for approval for implementation.
- The project was very successful, though with small funding and in short time duration, it has enhanced public understanding and appreciation of the need to protect the Sakumo wetlands and prompted communal support and participating interest among the school and farmer communities in the catchment area. It is also envisaged that local planning authorities will step up their management measures to control unauthorised developments within and around the Ramsar Site.
School children celebrating 2016 WMBD at Sakumo Ramsar Site.
|The press interacting with some school children who took part in the WMBD celebration||Section of people who took part in the refuse collection exercise as part of the 2016 WMBD celebration at the Ramsar Site|
|Mr. Charles C. Amankwah (left hand raised), Wetlands Coordinator and Ramsar Focal Point at one of the planning meetings with some farmers at Sakumo Ramsar Site||The Minister for Land and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, planting a tree to launch the National Forestry Week which coincided with one of the days for tree planting at Sakumo Ramsar Site for the project. At the background is the Sakumo lagoon.|
|The Duputy Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources, Ms. Barbara Serwaa Asamoah. At the background is the Sakumo lagoon.||Staff of TDC, TMA, Wildlife Division and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on a site visit to assess the extent of degradation at the Sakumo Ramsar Site|
|Mr. Charles C. Amankwah (back to camera), Wetlands Coordinator and Ramsar Focal Point explaining a point to the Press about the problem of encroachment at the Sakumo Ramsar Site||Mr. Richard Agorkpa, Executive Director of Friends of Ramsar Sites, speaking to the Press about the 2016 WMBD at Sakumo Ramsar Site|
We wish to express our appreciation to the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) for their financial support to the project titled 'Sustaining Local Community Action for Wetlands and Waterbirds Conservation through Participatory Awareness and site Management at Sakumo Ramsar Site - Ghana'.
We also wish to extend our appreciation to the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany and Birdlife International for their contributory assistance through WSFI to our project in Ghana.
This project could not have been possible without the brilliant idea from Tim Dodman. Starting from discussions on the corridors on the UN Campus during the AEWA MOP6 in Bonn, Germany, and in a bus travelling from Bonn Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) to the airport and follow-up email messages days after the MOP6, he did not only encouraged us to access the WSFI grant but also guided us through to an acceptable proposal. The Wildlife Division, therefore extends our sincerest gratitude to Tim Dodman for that effort.
Finally, we acknowledge the immense collaboration by the Friends of Ramsar Sites, a local NGO in Ghana and, the local communities, particularly, farmers working at the Ramsar Site and school children for their direct participation in this project.
|Please download the report with more pictures (5Mb).||
Angolan participation in bird counting in Walvis Bay (Namibia)
28 January - 04 February 2016
Republic of Angola
Ministry of Environment
National Institute for Biodiversity and Conservation Areas
Report about the Angolan participation in bird counting in Walvis Bay (Namibia)
Several people and organizations helped to make this project possible. Firstly, we would like to thank Tim Dodman for his personal involvement. He believed in this exchange trip and was deeply involved in its realisation. The support of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) was fundamental for financial and travel arrangements. We address our thanks to Gerold Lüerßen, who is coordinating the WSFI at the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat. Even though our trip did not have an official character, we also thank the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Namibia, which has provided the means to host us and to facilitate all our trips during our stay. We also thank the Deputy Director of Scientific Services, Kenneth Uiseb, who made time available to welcome us and to give a short overview of migratory bird management in Namibia. We also recognize the support of Iowa, the official contact of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, who has accompanied us during our entire stay. We equally appreciate the efforts of Peter Bridgeford and Holger Kolberg who allowed us to participate in this great bird counting campaign. Finally, we thank Kaatri Brumfitt, Coordinator of Namibian Coast Conservation and Management (NACOMA), who presented the coastal management activities along the Namibian coast.
Anyway, thanks to any person who was closely or distantly involved in making this exchange trip possible.
The Angolan coast stretches 1,650 km along the Atlantic Ocean. Along this coast, several ecosystems can be found, including mangroves and dune systems, but also a desert area further south in the country, at the border with Namibia. This variety of ecosystems offers a diversity of habitats for various animal species, including water birds. In fact, there are several species of water birds along the Angolan coast that may be residents, as it is the case of species like the white-breasted cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus), the little egret (Egretta garzetta), regional migrants like pelicans and flamingos, and Palearctic migratory bird species like the common greenshank (Tringa nebularia). Taking into account the threats to these resident or migratory water birds, efforts are being made to create a protective system for birds along the Angolan coast. In this context and with the support of the “Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative”, a group of Angolan scientists consisting of three technicians from the National Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas (INBAC), a technician from the National Museum of Natural History, and a technician from the Instituto Superior de Ciências de Educação do Lubango (ISCED-Lubango), was invited to participate in the counting of birds in Walvis Bay on 30–31 January. The count was organized by the “Coastal Environmental Trust” in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Namibia. Overall, our trip from Luanda to Windhoek went well, but unfortunately our colleague from ISCED-Lubango could not make the trip with us. We arrived in Windhoek on 28 January, where we were greeted by the staff of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Namibia. We spent the next day in Windhoek where we were accompanied by the same team of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
After two days of counting, on 1 February, we participated in a small training on coastal management with the assistance of NACOMA (Namibian Coast Conservation and Management), which is a project of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
2. Development of activities
2.1. Counting birds
Bird counts were performed over two days: Saturday, January 30 and Sunday, January 31. Before the first day of counting, we received a visit from Peter Bridgeford, who is the coordinator of counting activities. He shared his experiences regarding the mobilization of participants and the realization of counting sessions in Namibia. He also told us a bit about the different groups that would be part of this event, and proposed to include us in one or another group. Finally, it was decided that our team should be integrated in group 4, which had to perform the counting over an area of more than 2 km from a certain point to the observatory. In the second session, we were included in group 5 that was conducting the counts using the car.
First session count (January 30)
The gathering of the participants started around 8 am in the Buccaneers Squash Club. We were pleasantly surprised during the "briefing" that preceded the formation of groups. We noticed we were not the only foreigners, as there were also some people from other countries, mainly from Europe. It was around 8:30 am when our group (consisting of 10 people) moved to our counting area (photos 1 and 2). There was a very good atmosphere in the group (photos 2 and 3). While two people were responsible for the identification of the bird species and the number of individuals observed, the other members of the group were responsible for carrying out the counts, all under the coordination of the group leader.
|Photo 1 - Group 2 Travelling to the counting site||Photo 2 - Group members counting|
|Photo 3 - Three members of the
Angolan group, and Amanda
|Photo 4 - Members of the Angolan group
with a group of (volunteer) students
We were amazed by the number of birds, especially flamingos, that seemed to populate the entire coastal zone. Among the most abundant species observed we can highlight the presence of: common tern (Sterna hirundo) (photo 8), the great white pelican (Pelicanus onocratalus) (photo 5), greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) (photo 7) and the lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor), which is hardly observed at the Angolan coast. We observed some species whose distribution area does not cover our country, like the bank cormorant (Phalacrocorax neglectus) (photo 6) and Sternula albifrons.
|Photo 5 - Great white pelicans and seagulls||Photo 6 – Bank cormorant|
|Photo 7 - Greater flamingo||Photo 8 - Common tern|
After several hours of walking, interrupted by stops for bird counting, we reached the last observation point, where we saw a large group of smaller flamingoes. Here we joined the other groups who had already completed their activities. The cooperation with all these people, who share their passion for nature and for the conservation of water birds, was very good. We were able to exchange experiences with several participants, which increased our competences in bird monitoring (photos 9 and 10).
|Photo 9 - Group atmosphere||Photo 10 - Exchanging experiences with other participants|
Second session count (31 January)
On the second day of the bird counting, we were included in group 5 which counted birds using a car, as the different counting points were far apart. Peter Bridgeford took us to different points, leaving the counting to us. However, he was always nearby to help us in case we had trouble identifying a certain species, especially terns which are not always easily distinguishable. This experience was very exciting, because we had never worked in a comparable environment in Angola. This experience will help us to perform similar bird counts our in country, in those areas which have the same features as Namibia (photos 11 and 12).
|Photo 11 – Travelling between observation points||Photo 12 - Bird counters making use of a car|
The diversity of bird species was similar to the previous day, but the actual number of each species had dramatically changed. Pink and lesser flamingos were less abundant: we only found one group. On the other hand, we saw approximately 40,000 terns (photo 14), and around 1,000 cormorants (photo 13). Although our focus was bird counting, we were lucky enough to also observe groups of sea lions (photo 15) and the "black-backed jackal" which is a predator of water birds (photo 16)
After several hours of counting, like the day before, we went to the bird observatory station to join the other groups. We were very surprised by the center’s structure and its functionality. We discussed briefly the possibility of an identical structure in comparable bird areas in Angola.
|Photo 13 - A group of cormorants||Photo 14 - A group of sterns|
|Photo 15 - A group of sea lions||Photo 16 - Black-backed jackal|
2.2. Session on management of the coastline at NACOMA
We were very interested in the integrated coastal zone management activities that are conducted by NACOMA in Swakopmund, given that our country has practically the same challenges as Namibia in this regard. Apart from the need for coastal zone conservation, there is also a need for populations of the coastal zone to develop their activities and economies by increasingly growing. Especially the tourism industry is constructing more and more hotel buildings. The coordinator of NACOMA told us about the increasing efforts to reconcile conservation and sustainable development. In fact, our country has similar challenges. We can use this inspiration from the Namibian experience to develop similar activities. This experience has also inspired us to be protective of the entire Angolan coastal zone, like is the case in Namibia.
The Coordinator of NACOMA informed us about the management of the "DOROB National Park" which is part of the national parks system of conservation areas in Namibia. He also spoke about the bird species "damara tern" which is one of the flagship species of the national park and which has a distribution area that extends to our country. However, this species and its habitat is threatened by predation, especially by the "black-backed jackal", and by anthropogenic developments, such as the construction and development of industry, which endangers the living space of this species. To learn about the real situation we went to the "DOROB National Park", mainly to the reproduction area of "damara tern" (photo 17).
|Photo 17 - The Angolan group (from left to right: José Dala, Maria Eugia Lopes, Miguel Xavier e José Dianguessa) and the coordinator of NACOMA, Kaatri Brumfitt|
3. Stay in Namibia
Apart from Maria Eugenia (Jeni) who had already been in Walvis Bay for other activities, it was the first stay in Namibia for the rest of the group. We enjoyed the trip by car between Windhoek and Walvis Bay, which allowed us to form a better idea of the ecosystems of Namibia. During this journey we crossed several small towns, which enabled us to talk with the locals, which was very interesting to us.
In fact, we visited many interesting places, such as the "National Museum of Namibia" in Windhoek the "National Marine Aquarium of Namibia" in Swakpomund, and several other interesting places such as the salt evaporation ponds of Walvis Bay, where we could see the process of salt production.
This exchange of experiences was very beneficial to our group. To be frank, we were a bit sceptical beforehand, as we had some doubts about what our contribution or interest in this exchange could be. However, after our first meeting with Peter we were already convinced that the experience would be very interesting. In fact, we learned a lot about the organization of the counting sessions, and the mobilization and management of volunteers and other participants. We also had the opportunity to observe some bird species whose distribution does not cover our country. It is necessary to note the impact of our participation in the training session that was organized by NACOMA to give us an idea of the Namibian experiences with sustainable management along the Namibian coastal zone. Taking into account how many similarities our countries have in terms of challenges, this experience was a great inspiration for developing an integrated management system along the Angolan coast. In short, this experience was very profitable for our group.
Songor Reserve, Ghana: Participatory awareness for the conservation of migratory birds, 29 November 2014
Participatory awareness for the conservation of migratory birds in Songor Ramsar and Biosphere Reserve, Ada, Ghana
Ghana is on the boundary of at least two flyways – the East Atlantic and the Mediterranean flyways. The coastal wetlands of Ghana therefore receive significant numbers of waterbirds, of which at least 15 species occur in internationally important numbers.
Though these birds exist in large numbers, they are unevenly distributed within the sites based on species, available feeding and roosting habitats. Some habitats are close to human settlements. Occasionally bird activities are interrupted through human disturbances and some are even trapped. The habitats of some birds are threatened by encroachment and unsustainable resource exploitation due to population growth, community expansion, inadequate awareness, pressure on already stressed resources and inadequate alternatives.
Ghana’s coastal wetlands were designated as Ramsar Sites to preserve the ecological integrity of wetlands through appropriate management prescriptions while at the same time enhancing their socio-economic benefits to the local communities. There are however limitations in carrying out some of the mandates to protect birds and their habitats.
The main project objective was to undertaken within the Songor Ramsar site and fringe communities that receive migratory birds, comprehensive awareness and sensitization outreach activities to facilitate support to protect migratory birds and their habitats.
Description of activities that were undertaken and some results achieved
Communities, schools and collaborative institutions were mapped out after obtaining the list from the field, appropriate agencies and secondary sources for the awareness and sensitization program. The list was categorized and the visit schedule was arranged based on location within the site and responses from earlier notification. A tailor-made power point presentation, film show on nature conservation and interactive forum constituted the main program activities. Awareness was created in four communities fringing the lagoon, and three collaborative institutions were sensitized within the Reserve. Nine basic, three Junior High and nine Primary schools were educated on the need to protect migratory birds and their habitat.
|Awareness building at schools|
The interactions promoted the pupils’ interest in bird conservation. Three new clubs were formed and a training workshop organized for 60 selected club leaders and members using a simple information and conservation manual developed during the project.
To promote bird watching amongst different school groups ten binoculars (TASCO 10x25) were acquired and were first used by the selected club leaders and members who attended the training workshop. They had adequate field guide and training on the binoculars as well as on the use of the data.
Information sharing was critical for the protection of the birds. 1,889 brochures and stickers were developed and printed. The posters and the stickers were distributed as education materials to promote awareness of the threats to migratory birds.
To promote the project visibility and adequately share knowledge on migratory birds, five information boards with adequate information and images of birds were developed and erected in strategic areas within the reserve.
Impacts of the project
Generally the project impacted positively on the conservation of biodiversity especially on migratory birds through the following:
- improved relationship between wildlife staff and some communities in the core zone;
- improved active participation of communities and pupils in all processes and programs undertaken;
- some pupils had the opportunity of seeing and using binoculars to closely view birds, ultimately whipping up interest in the conservation of the species;
- for the first time within a short duration, the quantum of schools, communities and institutions were visited and sensitized to support conservation programs;
- information signs, stickers and posters tremendously improved the visibility of the project and the wildlife division;
- improved communication and information sharing on the conservation of migratory birds between the wildlife division, communities, schools and institutions visited;
- a feedback mechanism through lessons learnt has been developed to improve the work plan and to sustain the awareness program with schools in particular.
The Wildlife Division of The Forestry Commission is grateful for the funds, which were very timely. They played a significant role at that particular moment to support the effort of migratory bird conservation. The project received tremendous publicity and visibility through radio interactions, posters, stickers and information boards and a World Migratory Bird Day celebration in the village. Moving from one community to the other to undertake the program, it was obvious that the kids and community members close to the lagoon now think that migratory birds deserve better treatment on their flyway routes.
Most of the activities were undertaken within the core area and sections of the buffer-fringing schools and communities located on the eastern portions of the reserve. The western section of the reserve that also receives equally significant numbers of migratory birds would be targeted to promote the conservation of the species and their habitat.
Keta Lagoon, Ghana: Enhancing Conservation and Sustainable Management, 11 November 2014
Enhancing Community Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site, Ghana
We wish to express our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative for their financial support to the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site for the project titled ‘Enhancing Community Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site, Ghana’.
We also wish to thank the Wildlife Division of the Ghana Forestry Commission for their support in seeing the successful implementation of this project. Lastly, we wish to also acknowledge the immense support by the local communities and school children for participating in this project.
Map of Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site
The management of the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site implemented the project “Enhancing Community Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site’ from April to October, 2014. This initiative was funded by the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative with support from the Wildlife Division of the Ghana Forestry Commission.
The main aim of the project was to enhance community action for the conservation and sustainable management of the Ramsar site. This report communicates the highlights of the activities undertaken during the implementation of the project from April-October, 2014.
2.0 DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT
Keta lagoon Lagoon Ramsar Site is of great international importance due to the large numbers of waterbirds that it supports. It has a high diversity of bird species accounting for about 80% of all listed wetland bird species in Ghana. Important bird species on the site include Curlew sandpiper, Ringed plover, Greenshank, Little stint, Spotted redshank and Black winged stilt.
The site also habours 3 species of endangered marine turtles namely Leatherback, Green and Olive-ridley and also the West African Sitatunga, an endangered amphibious antelope.
The main uses of the wetlands include fishing, farming, salt extraction, exploitation of mangroves as fuelwood and water transport. Despite all these benefits the wetland is faced with a lot of threats. Major threat facing the wetlands is apathy and general low level of awareness and knowledge on wetland and biodiversity issues among stakeholders leading to deforestation, overexploitation of resources, reclamation of portions of the wetland for development and pollution from agro-chemicals and household wastes. As a result of these threats the integrity of the wetlands is fast degrading.
The main objective of the project was to enhance community action for the conservation and sustainable management of the site through restoration of degraded habitats, education and raising awareness on the values of wetlands and biodiversity.
Planned activities included radio programmes on wetland conservation, production of educational/awareness materials, conservation education in schools/communities and habitat restoration. The target groups were decision makers, youth, fishermen, farmers, women and school children.
The project was funded by the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative and supported by the Wildlife Division(WD) of the Forestry Commission(FC), Ghana for a period of 6 months (2013-2014).
The Wildlife Division worked closely with the local communities to implement activities under this project.
3.0 ACTIVITIES TO BE PERFORMED UNDER THIS AGREEMENT AND EXPECTED RESULTS
4.0 PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION AND ACHIEVEMENT
- Flooding of lands earmarked for planting mangroves and other tree species in 3 communities due to excessive rains. This has affected the planting of the mangroves and trees. For now planting is ongoing but at a slow pace.
- Open resistance of some land owners to enter an agreement with the Wildlife Division to control future access to the planted mangroves and trees.
- The absence of school children for most part of the project period as they were on their annual 3- month long vacation holidays. This reduced the number of education programs conducted in schools and the planting of seedlings during the period.
6.0 WAY FORWARD
- In the coming months as the rains subside planting of mangroves and the other tree seedlings will be intensified in the areas earmarked for planting
- Conservation education in schools and communities will continue as usual as we are targeting to reach 10,000 pupils and 500 teachers by the end of December.
- We will seek further funding sources to erect more information boards and also purchase bird watching equipment to initiate a monthly birdwalk programme in the Keta Municipality. This is to raise awareness on the protection of migratory birds and also the tourism potential of the site.
- We will continue our monthly bird counts in all five sites in the Ramsar site to provide data on the birds that visit the site and their status.
The project has been very successful and has gone a long way to highlight the challenges faced by the Ramsar site and the need for all stakeholders to see the management of the site as a shared responsibility.
- There is the need to consolidate the gains made during the implementation of this project especially in beneficiary communities and possibly expand it to new areas of the Ramsar site.
- There is the need to intensify conservation/environmental education in schools. This should include field visits for children to appreciate the value of their environment and their role in the conservation and sustainable management of these wetlands.
- Acquisition of the requisite skills and knowledge in wetland management and planning are essential for all stakeholders for the effective management of wetlands and their resources. There is therefore the need to continue to build the capacities of all stakeholders, especially at the local, district and national levels.
- There is the need for WSFI to introduce follow-up grants for first time grant winners in order to consolidate their activities after the first year.
ABDUL-KAREEM FUSEINI, MANAGER
Education & Awareness material
|Wildlife Divisin staff in project T-shirt||Wildlife Divisin staff in project T-shirt|
|School children||A community volunteer|
|Poster targeting wetland resource Users||Project leaflet|
|Project billboard mounted in the Ramsar site|
|Meeting with a local community||Lecture in a Basic School|
|Lecture in a Basic School||Lecture in a Basic School|
|Students listening attentively after watching a wildlife documentary||Pupils preparing for a lecture|
|Planted white mangrove||Mangrove nursery|
|A degraded area in the Ramsar site||White mangrove seedlings ready for planting|
|Acasia spp seedlings in a nursery||Loading mangrove seedlings for planting|
|Pupils and teachers planting seedlings||Seedlings|
|Pupils planting seedlings||Planted white mangrove seedlings|
Jeta Island, Guinea Bissau: Boat building for bird monitoring, September 2014
On Jeta Island the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative supported the building of pirogue (boat) in local style for monitoring mudflats and migratory birds and for the support of the surveillance implemented by the ODZH (Desenvolvimento das Zonas Húmidas na Guiné-Bissau) in local cooperation with the local association DJOTCHETCHENGLAR. The pirogue will also be used for awareness building in local fishery encampments to show the importance of mudflats for migratory and breeding birds.
The pirogue in the building phase.
Finalisation of the pirogue
Mobilisation of people who will move the boat to the sea.
Joint effort in moving the pirogue.
The pirogue is on the sea.
The boat is ready for the first trip to the island Jeta.
The maiden voyage of the pirogue.
The boat got also a motor to be more flexible in its tasks.
Songor Lagoon, Ghana: World Migratory Bird Day Celebration, 10 May 2014
The global theme for the celebration in 2014 is “Destination Flyways – Migratory Birds and Tourism”. The theme focuses on the role sustainable tourism can play in conserving one of the world’s true natural wonders, the spectacular movements of migratory birds along their flyways. In the long term, awareness will be created in communities that receive these birds during the migratory journey.
The event was celebrated on 10th May 2014, in two small but highly populated coastal communities (Pute and Totope), located on the narrow sandy strip between the lagoon and the sea. The communities are located in the core zone of the Ramsar site, a significantly important ecosystem type that receive about a third of the migratory bird population that visit the site. Songor is located between latitudes 06° 00’25’’N and 00° 19’E and 05°45’30’’N, 00° 41’40’’ E, and occupies an area of 51, 133.3 hectares.
Part of the core area that receive significant species of migratory birds during the wintering period
Though on recess, the kids numbering over 80 came to observe the day to support bird conservation effort. They were involved in cleanup activities between the beach and the lagoon. Tourism thrives in clean and sustainably green environment, while birds visit less polluted sites - this set the tone for the cleanup in the morning that lasted over one and half hours.
Briefing before and during the cleanup activities
The kids then visited the lagoon site to observe the few birds that were feeding. They were taken through step by step in bird identification, data collection and organization, management intervention in bird conservation and the need for their involvement as important stakeholders no matter how young they were. We called them the ‘’second eye’’ of conservation.
They all had a hand on demonstration of the identification equipment. All of them were able to tell the color and local names of the birds they saw by using the telescope and the binoculars.
The kids were refreshed afterwards and promised not to kill or trap migratory or residents birds. The local media was present to cover the program.They were however disappointed that there were only few birds during the date set for the celebration. They suggested that, if could be done during the peak bird season to make the event practical and exciting.
The program was supported by Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative and the Wildlife Division of The Forestry commission. Special thanks to Assemblyman of Pute and the community volunteer at Totope who jointly organized the kids for the program and also Radio Ada, the parents of the kids who provided logistics for the cleanup.
Keta Lagoon, Ghana: World Migratory Bird Day Celebration, 10 May 2014
World Migratory Bird Day celebration held at Afeadenyigba in the Keta Lagoon complex Ramsar site, Ghana on Saturday 10th of May 2014
This year’s World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was marked at Afeadenyigba, a community in Ghana’s Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site on 10th May 2014. The global theme for this year’s celebration was “Destination Flyways: Migratory birds and Tourism” which highlighted the link between bird conservation, local community development and wildlife-watching tourism around the world.
The celebration was funded from a grant, kind courtesy of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) and supported by the Wildlife Division of Ghana Forestry Commission. The event started at 6.00am and ended at 12.45pm.
Thirty six (36) participants joined and participated in the celebration of the day’s events. They included Nana Kofi Adu Nsiah (Executive Director of Wildlife Division of Ghana Forestry Commission), Richard Agorkpa (Executive Director of Friends of Ramsar Sites), Louis Agbey (Executive Director of LOCEK, an environmental NGO based in Tema), Mr C.C. Amankwa (Ramsar focal person) and selected members of Environmental Clubs, a local environmental organization which works with children to appreciate the benefits of a clean environment.
Speeches were read by Abdul-Kareem Fuseini (Welcome Address), Nana Kofi Adu Nsiah, Richard Agorkpa and C.C. Amankwa.
- The day was preceded by a series of Radio announcements on two local radio stations (Hogbe and Jubilee FM Stations) and sensitization of the public on the significance of the event.
- Press release by the Wildlife Division in Accra on the Migratory Bird Day celebration at Keta.
- On the day of the event, participants were taken through a lecture on the following topics - identifying birds, importance of birds to man, seasons and migrations, flyways ,traditional uses of birds, traditional beliefs and stories about birds, bird harvesting methods and its effect on bird populations, role of the youth in the conservation of birds.
Bird walk: A bird walk was organized from Havedzi to Afeadenyigba, a distance of about 3km. Participants especially the youth were taught:
i) how to use binoculars to view birds;
ii) bird identification and counting.
Closing: The day’s event finally ended at 12.45pm with a commitment from the youth to throw away all their catapults used in hunting and never again kill birds.
Refreshment: All participants were refreshed after the event.
- Nana Kofi Adu-Nsiah – Executive Director of Wildlife Division of Ghana Forestry Commission
- Charles Amankwa- Ramsar Focal person
- Abdul-Kareem Fuseini – Manager, Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site
- Cornelia Danso – Wildlife Officer, Tourism Development Unit, Accra
- Donkor Iddrissu- Wildlife Protection Officer, Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site
- Seth Agbanyo – Technical Assistant, Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site
- Christopher Matsakawo - Technical Assistant, Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site
- Francis Tsitsikla – Wildlife Guard, Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site
- Hope Avuletey – Wildlife Guard, Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site
- Okyere Samuel- Driver, Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site
- Sylvester- Driver, Wildlife Division Headquarters, Accra
Friends of Ramsar Sites
- Agorkpa Richard, Executive Director
- Laud Kwame
- Moses Senaki
- Patrick Sadey
- Wisdom Sosu
Living On Concerned Environmental Knowledge (LOCEK), environmental NGO
- Louis Agbey – Executive Director
- Rev Agbeko – Director
Hogbe FM Station
- Patrick DZRAMADO- News reporter
- Jane Quarshie- photographer
Members who participated were from four (4) surrounding communities. They are as follows:
- Elikplim Tsitsikla
- Elikplim Agblosu
- Venunye Sowu
- Patience Kporgbe
- Bienvenu Dzawudo
- Promise Zigah
- Irene Kuvor
- Simon Kuivi
- Bless Wedzi
- Godsway Kportufe
- Prudence Kwame
- Mary Logosu
- Passion Wormegah
- Phedelia Agblor
- Jemima Ahedor
- Grace Amable
Report by: Abdul-Kareem Fuseini
Manager, Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar site
Luanda, Angola: Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop on the flyway approach, 27-31 January 2014
Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop on the flyway approach to the conservation and wise use of waterbirds and wetlands, and awareness-raising for flyway conservation
Report by the lead trainer (Paulo Catry)
Introduction The present report concerns the international “Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop on the flyway approach to the conservation and wise use of waterbirds and wetlands, and awareness raising for flyway conservation”. The workshop, a joint initiative of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement and the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) project of the CWSS, took place in Luanda in 27-31 January 2014. It was attended by participants from all five Portuguese-speaking African countries: Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé e Principe. Each country was represented by two participants, except for Angola, which had participants from 4 provinces, in a total of 15 people. The lead trainer (Paulo Catry) was assisted by Joãozinho Sá (from Guinea-Bissau), Tim Dodman (WSFI) and Evelyn Moloko (AEWA Secretariat).
Training course evaluation
The training course developed with no major difficulties and was overall very successful. The results of the final evaluation exercise can be observed in Fig. 1. The global evaluation was rated with maximum grade (3-point scale) by 22 participants and with intermediate grade by 3 participants.
The workshop was successful in gathering a number of people with responsibilities at the governmental level in various countries (including Ramsar focal points and people linked to several ministries of environment in different countries). The workshop likely made a decisive contribution to raise awareness amongst those people and facilitate the future implementation of international agreements such as the AEWA. It also contributed decisively, we believe, to build/consolidate national and international networks which will play a role in migratory bird and wetland conservation in Portuguese-speaking African countries.
The main difficulties pointed out in the final discussion concerned the location selected for the workshop. In fact the workshop took place in a hotel in Viana, in peripheral Luanda (about 17 km from the centre), resulting in difficulty of access by nationals (traffic in Luanda is chaotic) and in the impossibility of visitors to go and enjoy the city life of central Luanda after workshop times. Furthermore, and despite the general good conditions presented by the hotel, there were some difficulties in internet access during a couple of days, which frustrated participants wanting to keep up-to date with their emails. It must be noted, however, that the choice of this site resulted from a careful evaluation of available alternatives. Using a hotel closer to the centre of Luanda would have proved too expensive for the available budget; Luanda is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
One complication affecting the course was the retention by the Angolan customs of materials (binoculars, field guides, certificates of participation) sent from Europe to Luanda. These should have been available during the workshop. Bureaucracy in Angola is heavy, and when one is constrained by a series of events and factors to organise a workshop in little time, such mishaps may easily take place. Nevertheless, thanks to a diversity of materials brought by the trainers and some participants, there were just enough guides, binoculars and telescopes to make the fieldtrip a worthwhile one.
Although the focus of the training was not on ornithology, but on flyway level conservation, it was nonetheless noteworthy that the previous ornithological knowledge of most participants was virtually nil. For example, participants did not know how to correctly identify cattle and little egrets, two species extremely common in Africa. Only one participant (from Cape Verde) regularly worked in bird research (but his principal knowledge was of a single species, Fea’s petrel). It is apparent that most of the Portuguese speaking African countries have virtually no national ornithologists (and none was presented as a candidate to participate in the workshop). This clearly limits the capacity of participants to deliver future training along the lines of the course. However, most participants should be able to build awareness about the importance of conserving migratory waterbirds and the sites on which they depend, and should be encouraged to do so.
- The participants of the Luanda workshop clearly enjoyed the opportunity to travel and share experiences with others from different Portuguese-speaking countries, and international training events in Portuguese hardly ever occur; this may have future long-term benefits in strengthening communication between these countries, especially in the framework of putting AEWA into practice. However, pooling people from countries with very different realities in a common workshop is not the best strategy for effective training in monitoring and conservation, as the needs in insular countries (Cape Verde and São Tomé e Principe) are very different from the ones in countries such as Angola or Mozambique. Furthermore, the degree of previous knowledge and expertise is far more advanced in some countries (e.g. Guinea-Bissau) than in others. Thus, a logical follow-on step to the regional training course is the organizing of national training workshops in each country, to achieve a more focused training adjusted to national needs, presumably attended by most of the relevant people in need of this type of capacity building. It would be excellent if the organizers worked with each country to promote the organization of such follow-on training and to identify means to finance them.
- The participants underlined the advantage of having this type of training course delivered in Portuguese, rather than in a foreign language. They stressed that often training courses are delivered in other languages, which makes it difficult for them to easily follow the technical subjects being delivered and often prevents them from contributing comments, asking questions, etc. More training courses in Portuguese are desirable.
- The participants also underscored the importance of having access to binoculars, telescopes, field guides and other technical literature (in Portuguese). The WSFI is currently producing a field guide in several languages (including Portuguese) that will be of great value and will help filling this gap. It is important that every effort is made to make sure that enough field guides reach relevant personnel, including not only the officials in the cities, but for example staff in national parks, NGOs, etc. Providing more binoculars to people engaged in field activities would also seem a major priority. There are relatively cheap binoculars available in the market and more should be sent to different countries. Supplying 2-3 pairs of binoculars per country, although useful, contributes little to satisfy the needs that are acutely felt at the present moment.
- From the working sessions and debates we had concerning the conservation of waterbirds in the 5 countries covered in this workshop, it became clear that very little is being done with practical positive impact on the ground. There is a general lack of functional protected areas in these countries (Guinea-Bissau is, to some extent, an exception), and habitat degradation and direct persecution and disturbance of sensitive sites are common, with a tendency for conditions to worsen. The situation of protected areas in Angola seems to be particularly dire, although there probably are still plenty of wetlands with relevant ornithological values worth preserving. There is an urgent need to develop conservation initiatives with well-defined and realistic targets (preferably linked to protected areas) that can deliver positive outcomes and serve as an example for more widespread action.
The report of the training course can be downloaded here.
Tissana, Sierra Leone: Community waterbird training workshop, 9-11 January 2014
Five communities in the Satia section of Yawri were trained in water bird identification, habitat monitoring and the use of equipment like binocular, telescope and field guide. 18 people were registered for the training from the five villages from 9 -10 January 2014. The training was hosted by the Tissana village community center which was not far from the wetland site.
|Attendents of the workshop||Community people involved|
During the opening day of the programme, a prayer was offered in the Islamic and Christian way. After that, the coordinator of the programme, Mr. Papanie Bai-Sesay, explained the purpose of the training and why the flyways and habitats of the migratory birds need to be protected and how it is going to benefit the communities along these areas. He told the participants that people are desperate to know how these birds feed, where they go, where they breed and how they are protected in different parts along the flyway.
|Town Chief Osman Kamara welcomes
the training course
|Mud flat near Tissana
Each year in January Wetland International, WaddenSea Flyway Initiative and Birdlife International are supporting countries along the flyway to carry out waterbird monitoring to get trends of birds visiting each country and also monitoring the threat level at each site. He highlighted the benefit to the community people if these birds and their habitat are protected. Questions were asked if they will form a conservation group and the answer was positive. Protecting migratory birds is a shared responsibility to all partners including communities like this. Some of the benefits are, if the site is well managed:
- Many people will be visiting these communities because of the birds.
- Their local products will generate good income for them.
- Their communities will open to development.
- Investors will build hotels, motel, big business etc
- Employment for the young people etc
The community people were happy to hear these benefits and they thanked the coordinator for these insight and opportunities they will get, if they stop killing birds, collecting eggs of birds and helping in protecting the habitats of the birds. He admonishes them to take example of the No. 2 River community, which is a community based tourism center. He also told them that No. 2 River is one of the best tourism centers around Freetown that is managed by local community. He urged them not to destroy the habitats of the birds, but to see birds as their friends.
Mr Kamara, the Town Chief of Tissana expressed his view on the whole project and thanked the coordinator for his great interest in their communities. He also said the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone should not forget the community, because they did not have any idea on tourism and conservation of birds and the importannce of birds to people in the community. He also expressed interest for future workshop on a broader way by involving more community people on different topics on migratory bird’s conservation, to increase their knowledge on birds and their importance. Most people in these communities like to be part of this training, but because of limited funds, they were able to train just 18 people.
Training on the use of site and bird form
He thanked the programme coordinator and appreciation for the intervention of CSSL, the Wadden Sea and everybody who came with the coordinator. The community elders and youths appreciated the training and expected that this is an opportunity for them to be involved in bird conservation and hence create job opportunities for their youths. They are expecting CSSL to continue with the project, which will help to expose their site to the international world of conservation. They are expecting more coordination and collaboration with the CSSL in project development and implementation.
The participants were trained on birds identification, water bird monitoring and how to use basic equipment for bird watching like binocular, telescope and field guide.
After Lunch the biodiversity officer told the community about benefit of keeping the habitats of birds healthy and admonish them to keep to their promise and CSSL will try to develop some proposals that will keep them moving.
The beneficiary said they will take these ideas to the communities they came from and will explain the importance of birds and their habitats.
The facilitator Mr Momoh B Sesay took participants to field work, and they were able to identify different types of water birds. The species they identified were: Whimbrel, Common sand piper, Intermediate egret, Western reef egret, Pink-back pelican, Common ringed plover, Secred ibis, Gray plover, Eurasian Curlew and Little Stint. The attendents were also trained how to fill in the bird form, Wetland forms and Birdlife form at the end of every field work. Participants were divided into groups and members in each group keep changing to create a friendly working environment to all participants.
Training on the use of binucular, telescope and field guide
Eight of the participants together with the counting team were asked to count the Satia section of the Yawri Bay during the 2014 simultaneous water bird count. Three out of the eight prove to be very good in identifying the birds. The expert from the United Kingdom advised us to continue the community involvement especially these guys in water bird monitoring and other activities relating to birds at site level.
Djoudj, Senegal: Regional workshop on the management of key sites for migratory birds, 14-18 December 2013
Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj - Senegal
Photo: Tim Dodman
AIMS OF THE WORKSHOP
The workshop had multiple aims, firstly to improve understanding of the flyway approach to conservation and wise use of waterbirds and wetlands among managers and administrators of sites along the western coast of Africa.
Through building capacity of personnel in environmental NGOs and other organisations, who are in position to train others within their sites and countries (training of trainers), the workshop also aimed to be a contributing factor in promoting a large-scale flyway approach to management throughout the area.
Finally, with the aim of promoting cooperation between the targeted groups, the workshop was also a springboard to discuss and explore ways and means to facilitate networking between managers of critical sites and to create a basis for cooperation with partners along the flyway in order to enable other sustainable waterbird conservation activities.
Photo: Tim Dodman
In all about thirty people took part in the training workshop exercises. The workshop mainly targeted experienced specialists and professionals involved in wetland management and waterbird monitoring, and especially those working in public services, in national or international NGOs, or in universities and similar training centres.
Participants came from coastal countries along the western coast of Africa, namely Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (see Appendix 1).
As well as these African participants, workshop exercises were supervised and facilitated by a team led by Tim Dodman and Abdoulaye Ndiaye with support from personnel from Wetlands International, BirdLife International, the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS) and the other partners.
The digital version of the regional training workshop can be download in two languages.
|English version||French version|
The workshop results have been published as printed report as well.
The regional training workshop has been supported and financed by:
WSFI activity reports 2012-2013
Reports can also be obtained in the download section.
WSFI activity report on the monitoring project 2013
Photo: Lars Maltha Rasmussen
This work was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs through the Programme Towards a Rich and Healthy Wadden Sea Ecosystem. Within the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI), the monitoring project has been carried out in close cooperation with the project on capacity building (as coordinated by Tim Dodman). Both projects are steered and advised by ehe WSFI Steering Group and WSFI Advisory Board under the coordination of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS). Close cooperation existed with the Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB) project as coordinated by Birdlife International and the International Waterbird Census (IWC) as coordinated by Wetlands International.
The overall project consists of four outputs; progress in 2013 towards targets are presented below:
Output 1. An integrated Monitoring Framework for the East Atlantic Flyway.
This consists of a plan for the organizing of integrated monitoring in the whole coastal part of the East-Atlantic Flyway. Covering the regions Arctic, NW-Europe, West Africa and Southern Africa by using abundance, vital rate and environmental monitoring.
- After the preparing of a consultation draft in 2012, comments of the ad-hoc expert group and the WSFI Advisory Board have been collected and integrated in the document (download). The document will now be printed in 2014.
Output 2. A strategy and guidelines for waterbird monitoring in West Africa.
This consists of a plan for the monitoring of coastal sites at the Atlantic seaboard of West Africa with emphasize to the countries Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinee-Bissau, Guinee and Sierra Leone. Here are the most important wintering grounds for populations from the Wadden Sea. Secondly it consist of guidelines for national coordinators, site coordinators and observers in best practices in waterbird monitoring. Thirdly part of this output is the making of so called site protocols, detailed accounts of the best way to carry out total counts at complex key-sites. These documents are as such an implementation of several recommendations from the overall flyway plan (output 1). The focus in West Africa is first on abundance and environmental monitoring.
- After the preparing of a consultation draft of the monitoring strategy in 2012, comments of the participants of the Dakar 2012 meeting and of the WSFI Advisory Board have been collected and integrated in the document (download). The document is after that, integrated with the monitoring guidelines for the region (see below) and will be printed in 2014.
- In 2013 it was decided to integrate the monitoring guidelines, as drafted in 2012, with the monitoring strategy document. The monitoring guidelines itself have been updated in 2013 on the basis of the experiences with the counts in January 2013. It was not possible anymore to have the combined document printed before the January 2014 counts. Instead detailed instructions were provided to each counting team. After including experiences from the January 2014 count, the combined document will be printed in 2014.
- The site protocols as drafted in 2012 were expanded on the basis of the January 2013 experiences. They will be finalized in 2014 on the basis of the January 2014 experiences and becoming available as pdf files.
- All winter counts of non-breeding waterbirds of coastal sites in West-Africa will be (as far as possible) included in the IWC database. A part of these counts are already available in this database but several others need to be added. In 2013 a contract was given to the University of Dakar (UNCAD) under which older count data have been entered into a uniform database and site- and counting unit boundaries digitized. This information will be handed over to Wetlands International for inclusion in the IWC database.
Output 3. Pilot counts in West Africa
Within the three year project period 2012-2014, it is aimed to carry out pilot counts at a selection of sites in January 2013 and at as many sites as possible in January 2014.
- In January 2013 counts have been carried out successfully in all seven West African countries. In each country several sites have been counted. The results were reported in the first half of 2013. The data have been send to WI and incorporated in the IWC database.
- In April 2013 a meeting of CMB in Guinee was visited with additional financial support from WI and BirdLife. Feedback on the results of January 2013 was given and further training of monitoring methods provided.
- During 2013 preparatory work for the total count of January 2014 was carried out, including:
- Asking and guiding the West African countries to make a proposal (including budget) for the count.
- Recruiting and instructing foreign experts for participation in the counts.
- Finding extra funding for the counts, both to improve the quality in West Africa and enlarge the counts to countries further to the south along the Atlantic coast (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon). This succeeded with extra funding from Webs, UK , Ministry of Environment Niedersachsen, National Park Wadden Sea Niedersachsen and National Park Wadden Sea Denmark, World Wide Fund the Netherlands. This on top of the funding available from PRW and CMB.
- Counts have also been carried out in Liberia, Congo and Angola as part of a training program as organized by the capacity building project of the WSFI and in Namibia and South Africa as part of their normal activities for the IWC.
- Providing all countries with instructions about sites, counting units, counting forms, forms for IBA monitoring etc.
- Providing extra information about the counts to the countries and the outside world (see appendix 1).In December 2013 a meeting of AEWA and a regional training workshop of the capacity building project of the WSFI was visited in Dakar and Djoudj, Senegal.
- Several presentations were given and meetings were carried out with national coordinators for the counts in January 2014. Especially the contacts with southern countries for the involvement in the total count 2014 was important.
Output 4. Investigating future prospects for continuation of the monitoring in West Africa after 2014 and implementation of the integrated monitoring framework for the East Atlantic Flyway.
- In 2013 support was given for preparing the Flyway Vision which was accepted at the Trilateral Governmental Conference in February 2014 by 16 parties and work was done for the subsequent Plan of Action 2014-2020
WSFI activity report on the capacity building project (January - June 2013)
The project International Co-operation for the Protection of Waterbirds along their Flyways, which aims at intensifying co-operation for the protection of waterbirds along the African-Eurasian Flyway, started in January 2012, following on from planning meetings and development during 2011. The project is financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment & Nature Conservation (BMU).
The main events in the first half of 2013 were two national training courses, in Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau, whilst plans were set in place for a photographic field guide for the East Atlantic Flyway in Africa to cover the main waterbirds, as well as introducing coastal wetlands and migration.
Phase 1: Development of concepts and specifications
- Development of a framework of co-operation in the areas of management and research along the African-Eurasian Flyway
The Task Group World Heritage approved the flyway vision and agreed that it should be developed into a specific draft agreement/ MoU to be signed by the relevant partners to support the continuation of the flyway initiative at a side event at the Tønder Conference. The next stage is the development of an action plan for the implementation of the flyway vision, after which attention will be given to developing the framework of co-operation, which will serve as the practical tomeans for delivery of the the action plan. These steps will receive attention in July-September 2013.
- Development of a capacity-building concept for the East Atlantic Flyway
Two national training courses were delivered in January 2013 (see below). The evaluation of these courses is guiding development of the capacity-building concept, whilst WSFI is awaiting a first draft of an agreed new training package focused on wetland management for migratory birds, being developed by West African consultants in partnership with CMB and Wetlands International Africa.
- Establishment of a supporting project advisory group
The next meeting is planned for September 2013.
Phase 2: Organisation and implementation planning
- Project inception meeting
Carried out in 2012.
- Selection of a defined project area
Carried out in 2012 for project. The area to be covered by the waterbird guide was discussed / decided, with work divisions proposed accordingly.
- Identification of potential target groups and planning for implementation of capacity-building activities
This is an ongoing activity supporting the planning and delivery of capacity-building. Community representatives participated in both courses in January 2013, whilst an exchange was built into the course in Sierra Leone, with the participation of three trainees from neighbouring Liberia.
- Identification of monitoring and research needs in the selected area
The WSFI capacity-building project works hand in hand with the WSFI monitoring project. This included input to planning 2013 January surveys and delivery of equipment.
Phase 3: Implementation
- Planning for delivery of capacity-building
Joint training events were planned with Wetlands International and BirdLife International for the PRCM region under the CMB project, and these were carried out in January-March 2013. The CMB project conducted courses in Senegal and Guinea.
The development of a regional photographic guide to waterbirds of the East Atlantic Flyway in Africa took significant steps forward during the first 6 months of 2013. After a number of exchanges between partners, a joint approach was agreed with support pledged from both WSFI projects and the CMB. The WSFI-capacity building project took the lead in developing the contract and terms of reference for the work, which will be carried out principally by Paul Robinson and Clive Barlow, based in Senegal and The Gambia respectively.
- Implementation of capacity-building programme
Two national training courses were conducted, and both seemed to have been very successful, and also marked direct support by the WSFI to African partners.
The course in Guinea-Bissau was held on Bubaque Island in the Bijagós Archipelago and led by Paulo Catry. All training was delivered in Portuguese, the national language. Some new training materials were also developed, available for the first time in Portuguese. The training included introducing the flyway approach to conservation, waterbird identification and counting, helping to consolidate a national waterbird monitoring network. The training course was followed immediately by surveys supported in part by the WSFI-monitoring project.
Fieldwork in the Bijagós definitely requires getting your feet wet!; 2 participants during the training
- Sierra Leone
This was the first waterbird and wetland training course to take place in Sierra Leone, and was organised by the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone. It took place at Kent, a small coastal village close to the extensive Yawri Bay – one of the country’s most extensive coastal wetlands. The group included three trainees from Liberia, promoting cross-boundary exchange.
The course covered the flyway approach to conservation, network development and coordination, waterbird identification and counting and wetland inventory. It included practical field trips to different coastal sites.
Evaluations were carried out at the end of each course, and showed overall very favourable results. The technical content and level of training seemed to be well pitched. Provision of suitable accommodation and food were somewhat difficult to realise in Sierra Leone, where there are few affordable venues outside of Freetown with appropriate facilities (e.g. electricity) close to wetland areas. Results are shown below. Longer-term evaluations will be carried out next year to assess engagement of trainees in wetland / waterbird activities, and the impact of their training.
Full reports of both training courses are available on the WSFI website.
- Joint development of a long-term management plan for the target area
A regional plan to guide the management of migratory waterbirds, in particular migratory waders, along the East Atlantic Flyway will be developed through consultation and a regional workshop in 2013. Pilot management / ecotourism projects have been discussed with some partners, and some should be underway in the second half of 2013.
WSFI activity report on the monitoring project 2012
This work is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs through the Programme Rich Wadden Sea. The work have been carried out in close cooperation with the CMB project of Birdlife International and Wetlands International and with the capacity building part of the WSFI project.
The project consists of four outputs which will be discussed below:
Output 1. An integrated Monitoring Framework for the East Atlantic Flyway.
This consists of a plan for the organizing of integrated monitoring in the whole coastal part of the East-Atlantic Flyway. Covering the regions Arctic, NW-Europe, West Africa and Southern Africa and the monitoring types abundance monitoring, vital rate monitoring and environmental monitoring.
- A consultation draft of the framework and plan have been made in 2012 and discussed with an ad-hoc group of experts.
- In the beginning of 2013 the comments of the experts will be incorporated and a second draft will be circulated, including to the members of the advisory board of the WSFI.
- The plan have to be ready at the end of 2013 and will be printed and distributed in the beginning of 2014.
Output 2. A monitoring strategy for coastal West Africa
This consists of a plan for the monitoring of coastal sites at the Atlantic seaboard of West Africa with emphasize to the countries Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinee-Bissau, Guinee, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde. Here are the most important wintering grounds for populations from the Wadden Sea. It is as such a further implementation of the overall flyway plan (output 1). The focus is on abundance monitoring and on environmental monitoring.
- A consultation draft of the monitoring strategy have been prepared in 2012 and discussed with stakeholders during a workshop in June 2012 in Dakar (Senegal).
- There is a good consensus about the strategy which consists of yearly counts at a selection of sites and once in six years a total count of all key sites. Secondly with this counts an integration of methodologies of the International Waterbird Census (abundance monitoring) and monitoring of Important Bird Areas (environmental monitoring) will be carried out during the field work.
- In 2013 comments on this strategy will be incorporated. After this a second draft will be circulated, including to the members of the advisory board of the WSFI.
- The strategy document will be finalized during 2013 and will be printed and distributed in the beginning of 2014 (maybe second half of 2013 already).
- As part of output 2 also guidelines for coordinators and counters carrying out the monitoring are prepared and site protocols for large and difficult key sites. In 2012 first drafts of these guidelines and protocols are made which will be further developed in 2013. These guidelines and protocols will be printed in 2013 so that they can be used during the total count of January 2014.
- All winter counts of non-breeding waterbirds of coastal sites in West-Africa will be (as far as possible) included in the IWC database. A part of these counts are already available at this database but several others need to be added. The work has started in 2012 and will be finalized in 2013.
Output 3. Pilot counts in West Africa
- This will consist of counting of a selection of sites in January 2013 and a total count in January 2014.
- In 2012 a field training workshop was carried out in national Park Diawling (Mauritania) in December 2012 with representatives of all countries of the cooperation (Sierra Leone, Guinee, Guinee-Bissau, Senegal, Gambia, Cape Verde and Mauritania). Training focused on species identification, counting methods, monitoring methods and description of environmental factors and threats at sites.
- For the counts of a selection of sites in January 2013 all seven countries in West Africa have made project proposals in December 2012. After review of these proposals these will be granted (small grants from CMB and WSFI) in the beginning of January 2013 to enable the start of the monitoring.
- During 2012 and especially in 2013 preparatory work will be carried out (defining all key sites, establishing counting units, formation of groups of counters etc.) for the total count of January 2014.
- The assembling of the data from January 2013 will be carried out in the first half of 2013. The data of January 2014 will be assembled in the first half of 2014 and the report presenting and analyzing the results will be prepared after that.
Output 4. Investigating future prospects for continuation of the monitoring in West Africa after 2014 and implementation of the integrated monitoring framework for the East Atlantic Flyway.
Work for this output is scheduled for 2014. However discussions about this will be started in 2013 (within the Dutch Ministry of EZ and others) in preparation of the Trilateral Ministerial Conference for the Wadden Sea in Denmark, February 2014.
WSFI activity report on the capacity building project 2012
The project International Co-operation for the Protection of Waterbirds along their Flyways, which aims at intensifying co-operation for the protection of waterbirds along the African-Eurasian Flyway, started in January 2012, following on from planning meetings and development during 2011. The project is financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment & Nature Conservation (BMU).
During 2012, much attention was paid to strengthening links with other key partners, planning through the set-up and engagement of an advisory board and steering group, developing information materials and setting plans in motion for delivery of capacity-building activities in early 2013. Contributions were also made to the development of the WSFI monitoring project.
Phase 1: Development of concepts and specifications
- Development of a framework of co-operation in the areas of management and research along the African-Eurasian Flyway
It was initially planned to develop a framework of co-operation in the very early stages of the project. This framework should determine the future cooperation of the Wadden Sea World Heritage state parties with partners along the East Atlantic Flyway as required from the UNESCO decision. However, after discussions between persons involved in the project and through input of the steering group and advisory board, it was decided that a flyway vision should first be developed with close input of the advisory board for eventual adoption at the 12th Trilateral Governmental Wadden Sea Conference in 2014.
The draft vision was developed in late 2012 with advisory board input for submission to the Task Group World Heritage in early 2013. The framework will be developed during 2013 after the draft vision has been approved by this group.
The draft vision statement selected was this: “Migratory birds find lasting refuge along the East Atlantic Flyway from northern breeding areas to their key Wadden Sea stopover and to the African coastline, and inspire and connect people for future generations”.
- Development of a capacity-building concept for the East Atlantic Flyway
Plans for two national training courses were developed during 2012 for delivery in January 2013. These and their subsequent evaluation will guide development of the final capacity-building concept during 2013. Priority target groups, areas and training needs were developed, and a work-sharing programme of training course delivery established with the Conservation of Migratory Birds project (CMB) of BirdLife International.
The main training tools in use are the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) Flyways Training Kit and the toolkit on identifying and counting waterbirds in Africa produced by Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (ONCFS). An additional training tool focused more on wetland management for migratory birds is under development, in partnership with CMB and Wetlands International Africa. The CMB project is taking the initial lead on this, and the first draft has been submitted for further development.
- Establishment of a supporting project advisory group
The CWSS established the advisory group, and a first meeting was held in September in Wilhelmshaven. A project steering group was also established, and two meetings were held – in May 2012 in La Rochelle and in September 2012 in Wilhelmshaven.
Phase 2: Organisation and implementation planning
- Project inception meeting
A project inception and planning meeting was held in Freetown, Sierra Leone in February 2012, back-to-back with the CMB annual project review and project steering committee meeting. This provided an excellent opportunity to introduce the project, as well as the WSFI monitoring project. Strong links were forged with regional staff and offices of Wetlands International and BirdLife International, as well as with national partners from the ‘PRCM region’; (PRCM is a regional cooperation framework covering countries between Mauritania and Sierra Leone, as well as Cape Verde).
During this meeting, it was identified that the capacity-building and monitoring projects needed to operate under a named and identifiable ‘banner’. It was decided to name this the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI), which has proved a successful badge for the programme. Subsequent to this, a leaflet focused on the WSFI was produced in English and French, placing the initiative firmly in the West African context.
- Selection of a defined project area
The East Atlantic Flyway has been identified as the key focal flyway of the WSFI, with this initial project area being the western seaboard of Africa. The CMB project focuses especially on the region between Mauritania and Sierra Leone, which also is the most important region for supporting Wadden Sea birds. This region therefore also forms a core area of the WSFI capacity-building project. However, some greater outreach and engagement with countries further east and south along the flyway is also planned.
Attention was paid in 2012 to development of a suitable map to highlight the project area. It was decided to clearly show the East Atlantic Flyway, with the connection between the Wadden Sea and other key sites. An analysis was carried out to identify all sites supporting >100,000 birds, >500,000 birds and >1 million birds. This was used to determine which sites to highlight on the map, but will have other uses as well. The draft map (right) was produced by Vogelbescherming.
- Identification of potential target groups and planning for implementation of capacity-building activities
A programme of capacity-building activities in coastal West Africa was planned jointly with Wetlands International and BirdLife International under the CMB project. Target groups vary somewhat between countries, but it was clear that community groups need to be involved wherever possible. Wider planning was achieved with representatives of all PRCM countries during the February 2012 meeting in Freetown, Sierra Leone, with follow-up at the monitoring workshop in Dakar, Senegal in June 2012.
- Identification of monitoring and research needs in the selected area
Through this activity, the WSFI capacity-building project contributed time and planning to the development of the monitoring framework and monitoring strategy under the WSFI monitoring project. This included active participation in the CMB / WSFI monitoring workshop held in Dakar, Senegal in June 2012.
Phase 3: Implementation
- Planning for delivery of capacity-building
Joint training events were planned with Wetlands International and BirdLife International for the PRCM region under the CMB project. It was identified that the WSFI would organise training courses in Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone and in one other country outside the PRCM region, probably Angola. Meanwhile, the CMB project would organise courses in Senegal, Guinea and The Gambia. Initial plans are in place for a regional training event for late 2013, as well as a number of small awareness events.
There were significant discussions concerning the development of a regional photographic guide to waterbirds of the East Atlantic Flyway in Africa, which will also highlight the flyway itself and key coastal wetland habitats. Final recommendations will be made for this guide in early 2013.
- Implementation of capacity-building programme
No training courses were carried out in 2012 directly under the WSFI-capacity-building project, although contracts were prepared and signed and first payments made for two national courses scheduled for January 2013.
One regional training course was held at the Parc National de Diawling in Mauritania under the WSFI-monitoring and CMB projects in December 2012. Tim Dodman contributed significantly to the development and delivery of this training course, under the WSFI-capacity-building project. This included development of the draft programme / agenda and design of several training sessions. The joint training workshop was successful in meeting its main objective of strengthening the capacity of the regional network in planning and executing field monitoring of waterbirds and their habitats in the coastal zone.
- Joint development of a long-term management plan for the target area
A regional plan to guide the management of migratory waterbirds, in particular migratory waders, along the East Atlantic Flyway will be developed through consultation and a regional workshop in 2013. Discussions were held in 2012 for the planning of this workshop to be held jointly with the CMB project; the workshop is expected to take place in November 2013 in the Sine Saloum Delta of Senegal.
Pilot management / ecotourism projects have been discussed with some partners, and will get underway in 2013. Initial activities are likely to take part in Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.
Kent, Sierra Leone: Conservation of waterbirds and wetlands in the coastal zone, 22-26 January 2013
The training course brought together 25 persons comprising 3 from the Republic of Liberia and 22 Sierra Leoneans from NGOs, local conservation groups, tertiary institutions and community representatives, all associated with the coastal zones of Sierra Leone and Liberia to participate in the training course.
The course evaluation indicated that the contents, professional competence of the resource persons and the methods of delivery all created a significant impact in building and strengthening the capacities of the trainees in the principles and practice of flyways conservation. The Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) as host institution for the course also benefitted from the training in the provision of books and equipment for this work. But in addition to those materials CSSL being the coordinating institution for wetland and waterbird conservation and management in Sierra Leone will be strengthened through professional interactions with persons involved in the network proposed in the recommendations; it will also continue to benefit from the knowledge, skills and experiences of the resource persons who taught that course.
A week before the course and during the course waterbird count and site monitoring was conducted organized on one hand by CSSL and the other as part of the practical lessons for the trainees. Results gained were conveyed to the International Waterbird Census Programme.
During the final session of the course participants were requested to make recommendations which should serve as Action Points for the establishment for the planning and overall governance of the network for wetland and waterbird conservation and management. Several useful recommendations were made which will greatly improve these activities in future. For instance the participants stressed the need for full stakeholder participation including local communities, as well as the free flow of information for more awareness raising and participation. They also emphasized the need for more capacity building in continued training and the provision of needed resources for sustained progress.
The report of the training course can be downloaded here.
Photos: Tim Dodman
Bubaque, Guinea Bissau: Training Course, 12-19 January 2013
The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative organized together with the Organização para a Defesa e Desenvolvimento das Zonas Húmidas (ODZH) a training course in capacity building in Bubaque, Guineas Bissau on 12-19 January 2013. The lead trainer Paulo Catry and the national organizers Joãozinho Sá and Hamilton Monteiro were using the WOW Flyway Training Kit and the ONCFS kit to teach 16 trainees monitoring exercises and theoretical contents about flyways, migratory birds, ecology and more.
Additionally field exercises were carried out where the trainees learned to handle the necessary field equipment and to identify and count migratory bird species. The training course report by the lead trainer Paulo Catry which includes recommendations on training and conservation issues can be downloaded here and the ODZH technical report (in French) can be obtained here.
Photos: Paulo Catry
Diawling, Mauritania: Regional Monitoring Training Course, 4-6 December 2012
Regional training course ‘Monitoring waterbirds and wetlands along the west coast of Africa’ Parc National du Diawling, Mauritania.
From 4th - 6th December 2012, Mauritania’s Diawling National Park hosted the first regional training course of the West African coastal zone flyways partnership between BirdLife International, Wetlands International and the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI). The 30 participants were drawn from a range of Mauritanian agencies, plus government and NGO reps from Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde, as well as international resource persons.
The 3-day course was practical in nature and focused on preparing participants for monitoring the coastal wetlands of West Africa. The main elements included the identification and counting of waterbirds, site inventory and site monitoring, including identifying and recording threats. The training culminated in a practical exercise of field monitoring in a specified area of Diawling, with participants forming monitoring teams themselves, delegating team coordinators and sharing tasks. After this exercise a thorough review of results with all participants took place.
A raging fire in the extensive Typha beds of the park added excitement to the course, and underlined the importance of monitoring in changing environments and accounting for threats. The fire, for instance, presented immediate threats to wildlife and villages, whilst the extensive Typha itself presents a more serious longer-term threat to the ecological integrity of the Senegal Delta.
In follow-up to the training, grants are being provided to countries to assist in carrying out monitoring in January 2013, whilst a major ‘total waterbird count’ is planned for the coastal zone in January 2014. Meanwhile, national training courses will take place in early 2013 in Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Senegal.
Participants found the course to be very useful, and relevant to their work. Zein el Abidin, Conservator of Diawling, considers waterbirds to be strong bio-indicators of the health of wetlands, which are themselves very important for biodiversity and poverty alleviation.
The training course and other activities are financed primarily by the MAVA Foundation and the governments of Germany and the Netherlands. The organisers wish to thank these supporters, as well as the Mauritanian government for their organisational support, notably the Director of the Diawling National Park.
Photos by Tim Dodman
Dakar, Senegal: Linking Methods and People, 19-21 June 2012 (WSNL #26)
A succesful West-Africa Regional monitoring workshop for Wadden Sea birds in Dakar. From the migratory birds’ perspective, the Wadden Sea is a crucial part of the meta-ecosystem that stretches from its arctic breeding grounds to the wintering areas in West-Africa and even further South. From the Wadden Sea perspective, the role of millions of migratory birds visiting the area during their live-cycle, are crucial to a healthy Wadden Sea ecosystem.
The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) aims to improve conservation management of both the Wadden Sea and its migratory birds, by enhancing cooperation along the flyway. An important basis for evidence-based conservation management is up-to-date knowledge on bottlenecks along the flyway, the critical phase in the birds’yearly cycle, and general population trends. Therefore, one of the projects under the umbrella of the WSFI is to establish an International Monitoring Framework for Wadden Sea waterbird populations. Key elements for this framework already exist, but gaps need to be filled and different initiatives to be linked.
Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative at the AEWA/MOP5, 15 May 2012 (WSNL #24)
The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI) has been presented at the 5th Meeting of the Parties of the 'The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds' (AEWA) in La Rochelle, France, on 15 May 2012.
The Wadden Sea is a crucial stepping stone on the migratory route of millions of birds. Now that the Dutch-German Wadden Sea has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Germany and the Netherlands have an enhanced responsibility to strengthen their cooperation with countries along the East Atlantic Flyway for the conservation of migratory birds. The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative has thus been launched to put this into action. Two projects have been developed under the Initiative aim to increase capacity for migratory bird conservation and monitoring along the western seaboard of Africa. The projects, which run from 2012 to 2014, are funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the Dutch Ministry of Economic affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.
The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative works in close collaboration with other migratory bird conservation projects and initiatives in West Africa, most notably AEWA and the Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB) project of Birdlife International and Wetlands International.The aims of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative are to support the conservation of migratory waterbirds in the region, to obtain more detailed monitoring data and to develop a long-term perspective for the cooperation of the Wadden Sea with countries along the whole flyway.
The speakers of the WSFI side event at the AEWA/MOP5 emphasized the importance of African-European cooperation for the conservation of migratory birds along the East Atlantic Flyway.
WSFI and BirdLife CMB project inception meeting in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 6-7 February 2012 (WSNL #22)
Under the umbrella of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative two East Atlantic Flyway projects with a West Africa focus have been launched. As follow up of the UNESCO WHC requests (Seville, 2009) and the recommendations of the international flyway workshop in Wilhelmshaven, March 2011, the German BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment) started a capacity building and management project in November 2011. The Dutch Ministry of EL&I (Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation) in cooperating with PRW (Project towards a Rich Wadden Sea) launched a project focussing on monitoring and research in March 2012. The Initiative is cooperating with AEWA, BirdLife International, Wetlands International and other organisations active in West Africa.
From the outset both projects have tuned their work plans with regard to specific activities, timing, sites and communication to reach a maximum of synergies. Moreover, the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative started at the same time a close cooperation with the on-going BirdLife International CMB Africa Partnership project to mutually initiate, support and carry out capacity building and monitoring activities with enhanced and more flexible opportunities for delivery.
At an inception meeting in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 6-7 February 2012 the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative and the CMB project agreed on a close cooperation and adopted a common draft action plan. The meeting also provided an opportunity to contact and interview governmental and NGO representatives of the 7 PRCM (West African Regional Marine and Coastal Conservation Programme) countries with regard to planned activities of the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative.
A side event for a joint presentation of all three involved projects is planned at the AEWA MOP5 (5th Meeting of the Parties) in La Rochelle, 14-18 May 2012. The side event will give good opportunities to highlight the new partnership and to communicate and discuss with West African partners and participants about further implementation of the projects.
WSFI partners: AEWA, Birdlife International, Wetlands International, Ramsar Convention, Parc National du Banc d'Arguin, Mava Foundation, Vogelbescherming, National Park Wadden Sea Niedersachsen, National Park Wadden Sea Schleswig-Holstein, National Park Wadden Sea Denmark, WWF, Waddenvereniging, Schutzstation Wattenmeer, Verein Jordsand, NLWKN-Staatliche Vogelwarte, NABU-Bundesverband, Dansk Ornitologisk Forening, Deutsche Ornithologen-Gesellschaft, Ornithologische Arbeitsgemeinschaft Schleswig-Holstein, Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten, Institute of Avian Research, Mellumrat e.V., Wissenschaftliche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Natur und Umweltschutz Jever e.V. (WAU), Niedersächsische Ornithologische Vereinigung (NOV)