Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB)

Aim: Strengthening networks for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats along the west coast of Africa.

This is a NGO-government partnership, with BirdLife working through national partner organisations identified in seven countries. These organisations will benefit from strategic and technical capacity development to facilitate conservation action across the region. This involves a key sustainability strategy to ensure that these organisations are able and motivated to address the conservation of migratory birds at a local, national, regional and flyway level. However, the project will also ensure that strong relationships are forged with national governments and their agencies, BirdLife’s network of international partners (especially from Europe), Wetlands International, and the International Foundation of Banc d’Arguin (FIBA), as well as supporting Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), notably the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) that specifically focuses on migratory waterbirds, and the Ramsar Convention that promotes conservation and sustainable use of wetland habitats and their biodiversity. BirdLife and its partners have developed successful mechanisms to work with local communities at the site level, and this approach will be rolled out in the PRCM (Regional Conservation Programme for the coastal and marine zone of West Africa) region during the project.

Focal organisations: Association Nature-Communautés-Devéloppement (Senegal), West African Bird Study Association (Gambia), Nature Mauritanie (Mauritania), Guinée Ecologie (Guinea), Organização para a Defesa o Desenvolvimento das Zonas Humidas (ODZH; Guinea Bissau), Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone) and Biosfera I (Cape Verde).

Financial support: MAVA Foundation, Vogelbescherming Nederland (VBN; BirdLife in The Netherlands), Wetlands International, Chester Zoo, International Foundation of Banc d’Arguin (FIBA), GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), British Embassy and FFEM PPI 3 (French Global Environment Facility Small-Scale Initiatives).

Scope: CMB project is designed to increase understanding about the conservation status and needs of migratory birds and their habitats in West Africa, as well as establish cost-effective and sustainable monitoring systems that will track changes in the status of migratory birds and their habitats. The development and strengthening of technical capacity for flyway conservation in the region is essential, particularly towards ensuring the organisations are well placed to attract new sources of funding to make conservation efforts along the West African coast financially sustainable. Participatory conservation and the management of key sites and species approaches under this project involve:

  • Taking action to prevent the extinction of migratory bird species, and reversing the declines in common species and mitigate threats to their habitats.
  • Addressing sustainable livelihood issues and increase participation of local communities in migratory bird conservation to ensure long-term conservation benefits.
  • Improving the conservation status of migratory birds in the coastal zone of West Africa, with specific plans initiated for selected threatened species and for promoting ecotourism based on migratory birds.
  • Identifying and utilising opportunities for policy and advocacy work to improve the conservation status of migratory birds and sites along the coast of West Africa.

Main Activities:

  • Review the status of migratory birds, IBAs and key habitats along the West African coast, rank the threats to sites and habitats, determine the requirements of long-distance migrants and synthesise the role of local communities in conservation.
  • Develop and initiate implementation of a regional monitoring plan for migratory birds, agree on monitoring protocols and review target monitoring sites, establish procedures for coordinated monitoring undertake monitoring of migratory birds and selected sites, and produce a regional status and trends report.
  • Establish and implement a training programme focused on migratory bird conservation, and develop a young graduate support programme. Strengthen capacity of environmental NGOs in the coastal zone of West Africa and promote collaboration between them through a regional network.
  • Initiate and support a range of participatory conservation projects across the region embracing conservation and livelihood support, also strengthening local community groups at project sites and developing a resource pack focused natural resource management. Develop and implement specific actions for threatened migratory species through species action plans.
  • Build migratory bird conservation into relevant regional and flyway-level agreements and promote advocacy and awareness of migratory birds in the coastal zone of West Africa.

Key achievements to date:

  • A draft report of the scientific review of migratory birds, their key sites and habitats in West Africa produced.
  • A harmonised Waterbird monitoring strategy for West Africa Developed.
  • A couple of capacity building workshops were organised for project managers and relevant government focal points on i) training of trainers on the harmonised Waterbird monitoring strategy ii) project development and proposal writing iii) training on IBA and its monitoring iv) national training courses on migratory birds were organized in Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau in collaboration with Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative and in Senegal and Guinea.
  • A joint draft plan to communicate both the achievement of the CMB project and those of the Wadden Sea Flyways Initiative has been prepared and now under review. This was done in collaboration with WSFI.
  • Two implementing NGOs, NCD and BIOSFERA participated at the BirdLife World Congress held from18-22 June in Ottawa.
  • Four countries have developed and submitted proposals to CMB project management to enable them develop national species action plans of Eurasian Spoonbill, Lesser Flamingo, Black-tailed Godwit and Black crowned crane (Gambia, Guinea, Mauritania and Guinea Bissau).
  • Five countries (Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone) celebrated the World Migratory Bird Day, which aims at raising awareness and educating the public on the important of migratory birds, in close collaboration with their national governments.
  • CSSL in Sierra Leone has planted, 8600 mangrove as part of efforts to restore the Aberdeen Creek.
  • ODZH organized a bird monitoring in Jeta Island in Guinea Bissau in May 2013.
  • Guinea Ecologie organized a workshop at Lamabanyi for rice farmers, salt and oyster collectors, beach users and fuel wood collectors, to raise awareness and educate them on the importance of wetlands and the negative impact of their actions on the wetlands and migratory birds. A survey of bird trade is underway about data and information to use to advocate for its regulation and control by government.
  • NCD has collected data on Technopole and presented them to government's Direction of Community Marine Protected Areas for use to the proposal of the Technopole wetland as a protected area. Bird counts and training along much of the lower Casamance River, in the Ziguinchor Region of Senegal were organized. An ornithological tourist circuit for the Palmarin Marine Protected Area was developed; a website and blog for the ornithology created and will be launched at the end of July.

Nature Mauretania organized monitoring of breeding Eurasian Spoonbill in Banc d’Arguin National Park with focus on the colonies found at Nair and the Kioane Island. Other breeding waterbirds species recorded were, Terns, herons and Cormorants. There was a drop in the breeding population of the spoonbill which is likely to have been caused by the rise of the water level and the oil and mining exploration activities in the environs.

CMB Young Graduates Research Project (YGRP) Award:

This is a recurring award under the CMB project. Click here to read more.

Also read:

  • Conservation of MIgratory Birds Project: scientific review of migratory birds, their key sites and habitats in West Africa (English / Portuguese / French)

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