Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB)

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Aim: : The objective is to strengthen networks in order to promote the  conservation of migratory birds and their habitats along the west coast of Africa.

As a NGO-government partnership BirdLife works through carefully selected partner organisations in seven countries. These organisations benefit by having strategic and technical capacity development which enables them to facilitate conservation across the region.

The conservation is based on a key sustainability strategy to ensure that these organisations are able and motivated enough 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). It also supports Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), such as the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) which focuses on migratory water birds. The Ramsar Convention promotes the conservation and sustainable use of wetland habitats and their biodiversity. 

BirdLife and its partners have already developed successful strategies for working with local communities at ground level and this approach will be rolled out in the PRCM (Regional Conservation Programme) for the coastal and marine zone of West Africa during the project.

Notable organisations include: 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 resources: 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: The CMB project is designed to increase the understanding about the conservation status and needs of migratory birds and their habitats in West Africa. It also aims to establish cost-effective and sustainable monitoring systems that will track changes in the status of migratory birds and their habitats. It is essential to develop and strengthen the technical capacity for flyway conservation in the region particularly in ensuring that organisations are well placed to attract the new sources of funding which are required in order to make conservation along the West African coast financially sustainable.

As part of the participatory conservation and the management of key sites and species the project will involve:

  • Being proactive in preventing the extinction of migratory bird species reversing the population declines in common bird species and alleviating threats to their habitats.
  • Addressing sustainable livelihood issues and increasing local community engagement in migratory bird conservation to ensure long-term conservation benefits.
  • Promoting ecotourism based on migratory birds, improving the conservation status of migratory birds in the coastal zone of West Africa and initiating specific plans  for specific threatened species. 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:

  • Reviewing the status of migratory birds, IBAs and key habitats along the West African coast, ranking the threats to sites and habitats, determining the requirements of long-distance migrants and synthesising the role of local communities in conservation.
  • Developing and initiating the implementation of a regional monitoring plan for migratory birds, creating monitoring protocols and monitoring target monitoring sites, as well as establishing and implementing procedures for the coordinated monitoring of migratory birds and selected sites. The results will be summarised in a  regional status and trends report.
  • Establishing and implementing a training programme focused on migratory bird conservation, and developing a young graduate support programme. Strengthening the capacity of environmental NGOs in the coastal zone of West Africa and promoting collaboration between them through a regional network.
  • Initiating and supporting 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. Developing and implementing specific actions for threatened migratory species through species action plans.
  • Building migratory bird conservation into relevant regional and flyway level agreements and promoting advocacy and an enhanced awareness of migratory birds in the coastal zone of West Africa.

Key achievements to date:


    During 2013, significant progress was made, here are some of the major achievements:

    • The annual plan was reviewed at a workshop organised held in Conakry, Guinea from 8-10th. The event also incorporated an Annual Project Review and a scientific review of migratory birds and their habitats Workshop was held as well as a Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting was held. The PSC reviewed and agreed on priorities for 2013 making recommendations on issues relating to communication and fundraising.
    • Successful Training in Project Writing and Development was organised in February 2012 for the partners. This yielded positive results as significant co-financing was raised during the reporting period.  A total of Euros 267,097 was raised from the following donors; Chester Zoo, FFEM PPI3, GEF Small Grant Programme, FIBA, and the British Embassy in Senegal.
    • Participation at the 7th PRCM Forum. Representatives from the BirdLife Africa Secretariat and the project implementing countries attended the forum which was held in Dakar, Senegal from 25th to 29th November. An open forum running in tandem with the forum allowed project implementing partners to share the results, tools and findings of the project.
    • A capacity needs assessment of West Africa Bird Studies Association (WABSA) and Nature-Communauté-Développent (NCD) was conducted during the period under review.  WABSA was assessed in collaboration with VBN while NCD was assessed in partnership with LPO, FIBA and VBN.  
    • Representatives from CSSL, Guinea Ecology, NCD and Nature Mauritania participated in a three day Policy and Advocacy Workshop organised by BirdLife in collaboration with RSPB in Accra, Ghana and held on 10th-12th September 2013.
    • A collaborative plan to communicate the achievements of both the CMB project and Wadden Sea Flyways Initiative was adopted byWSFI Steering committee and Advisory Board.   
    • Two implementing NGOs, NCD and BIOSFERA participated at the BirdLife World Congress held from18-22 June in Ottawa.  
    • 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 importance of migratory birds, in close collaboration with their national governments.
    • The BirdLife Africa Regional Committee agreed that the process of recruiting Nature Mauritania as an affiliate status should be initiated.  

    Nature Mauretania organised the monitoring of breeding Eurasian Spoonbill in Banc d’Arguin National Park with a focus on the colonies found at Nair and the Kioane Island. Other breeding water birds species recorded were, terns, herons and cormorants. Unfortunately there was a drop in the breeding population of the spoonbill. It is likely that this was caused by the rise of the water level and oil and mining exploration activities in the environment.

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