The World Wetlands Day is marked yearly on 2 February to commemorate the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands, which was done on 2 February 1971 in the Caspian Sea. This is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Ramsar Convention is the only global environmental treaty that deals with wetlands. Each year since 1997, government agencies, NGOs and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits.
In Kenya, Nature Kenya (BirdLife partner) joined in the celebrations that were held at Ombaka Primary School, Kisumu County. The activities were aimed at the protection and opening up of the Singida Wetland in Nyando to the Western tourism circuit, unlike in the previous years where the concentration had been heavily twisted to the coastal region. This was in line with this year’s theme “Wetlands and Tourism”. Ugenya Singida provides many benefits (essential goods and services) to the communities living around and within the wetland ecosystem. The site has a lot of ecotourism potential including boat racing, rafting, sport hunting and sport fishing among others.
The successful celebrations were made possible through the National Steering Committee (NSC) that was being co-ordinated by the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources (MEMR). During the celebrations, speeches were offered by the area Provincial Commissioner, Provincial environmental Officer, The NEMA acting Director among other invited guests. About 1500 school going children with a similar number of adults were reached on that day.
Several publications were also distributed by the various groups that were displaying their work. Nature Kenya’s (BirdLife partner in Kenya) Site Support Groups -Lake Victoria Sunset Birders and Yala Conservation Group were among the exhibitors. Yala Conservation Group which has receiving support from Nature Kenya through BirdLife International AECID project had a chance to showcase their work which focuses on sustainable use of papyrus to produce marketable products like mats, baskets, tables, chairs and many more products
The BirdLife Africa Secretariat in conjunction with BirdLife Poland recently adapted and launched an African teacher’s manuals for Grades 1-3 and 4-6. The teacher’s manuals cover topics such as bird identification, bird behavior, the concept of migration and the challenges birds face along the routes. The manuals also provide interactive and interesting games for the children. These resources are meant to deepen the engagement of children with birds, inspire their young minds and cultivate interests about the natural world around them. These manuals can also be used by local community groups as well as wildlife/nature clubs.
Thanks to the efforts of the Association of Biologists Sãotomense (ABS) in partnership with BirdLife International, a team of researchers led by Hugulay Maia has been able to describe some important aspects of the reproductivce behaviour of the Dwarft Ibis in São Tomé.
In Europe, millions of migratory birds are stirring. They are busy feeding to build up their fat reserves (gaining up to 50% more body weight) to fuel the enormous flights to Africa they will face in the next few weeks.
As we approach one of the villages in rural Malawi, a few kilometres from the Nchitsi Forest Reserve boundary, we are met by a group of villagers in song and dance. They quickly lead us to the kitchen and one of them and proudly show us a changu mbaula - Chichewa for ‘fast stove’, also known as ‘rocket’ stove for its quick cooking abilities.
The Bechi Kebele is home to 10,171 people, most of which are dependent on the slowly dwindling Sheka forest. God for People Relief and Development Organisation (GPRDO) has been working in this region since 2005 to promote community based forest management systems. In 2013 GPRDO was able to expand their work in this region after receiving a grant from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to implement GPRDO’s project.
Empowering major stakeholders for sustainable utilization and conservation of Lake Tana fish resources project is being implemented by Bahir Dar University to rebuild the declining fish stock of Lake Tana and to conserve this KBA. The project also aims to raise awareness and increase knowledge in the wider community of Lake Tana’s fish resources and the human impacts on these resources.
The CEPF Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot programme announces two new calls for Letters of Inquiry (LOIs). The 7th Call for Proposals is for small grants (up to USD 10,000) for urgent action at highly threatened KBAs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The 8th Call for Proposals is for large grants (of more than USD 20,000) and small grants (of USD 20,000 or less) in Ethiopia, Rwanda, DRC, Tanzania and Zambia.