Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB)

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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:

During 2013, significant progress was made and the major achievements are as follows; 

  • A workshop was organized in Conakry, Guinea from 8-10th April to review the annual plan. On the sidelines of this workshop (Annual Project review and Scientific review of migratory birds and their habitats Workshop), a Project Steering Committee meeting was held. The PSC reviewed and agreed on priorities for 2013 and made recommendations on issues related to communication and fundraising.
  • In collaboration with WSFI and Wetlands, a flyway workshop was held in Djoudg from 14th to 18th December 2013 in Djoudj National Park (Senegal) on the management of key sites along the Western Coast of Africa for migratory birds. A total of 48 participants, including Site Managers and Waterbirds coordinators attended the training workshop.
  • The training in Project Writing and Development that was organized in February 2012 for the partners 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 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. A side event was organised and the project implementing partners shared the results, tools and findings of the project.
  • 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 organized by BirdLife in collaboration with RSPB in Accra, Ghana, from 10th-12th September 2013.
  • A collaborative plan to communicate the achievements of both the CMB project and Wadden Sea Flyways Initiative was adopted by WSFI 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 be initiated.  

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.

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