25 Jun 2014

A shared vision for the conservation of the East Atlantic Flyway developed at the BirdLife Best Practices Workshop in Dakar, Senegal

Participants of the workshop in Dakar, Senegal (Photo: Tara Proud)
By Obaka Torto

The BirdLife Africa Secretariat in collaboration with the BirdLife Partners in Europe, namely the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK), Vogelbescherming Nederland (Netherlands) organised a Best Practices Workshop during the month of May 2014. Forty participants, comprising of conservation officers, project site managers and directors of project countries in the Sahel (4) and along the coast of west Africa (7) and North Africa ( Morocco) and representatives from regional and international organisations such as the IUCN (West Africa), Wetlands International, Fondation Internationale pour le Banc d'Arguin (FIBA),  and UNEP Conservation of Migratory Species/Africa Eurasia WaterBird Agreement (UNEP CMS/AEWA) took part in the workshop. The Director General of National Parks (Senegal), Colonel Souleye Ndiaye officially opened the workshop which analyzed the site level interventions and drew out best practices of the two key BirdLife projects, namely Living on the Edge (LoTe) and Conservation of Migratory Birds (CMB)

Delegates shared their successes as well as failures, and explored the factors behind them, using project monitoring & evaluation data and field experience. The workshop provided delegates with technical, management and scientific principles they can use for sound conservation and natural resources management interventions at the flyway level. The highlight of the workshop was the development of a shared vision for the East Atlantic Flyway.

Group discussion about developing the Flyway vision (Photo: Tara Proud)

Participants envisaged an ambitious new partnership programme that has the potential to fulfill conservation objectives for migratory birds in the East Atlantic flyway, specifically bringing together cross-society and cross-organisation expertise in conservation science and delivery, partner development, youth and education, policy/advocacy, fundraising and communications, whilst simultaneously involving and engaging supporters in a popular movement to save migratory birds. 

The participants were bound by one common objective to improving habitats and landscapes across the East Atlantic flyway for people as well as birds, through collective action to achieve environmental restoration and the sustainable use of natural resources. A commitment was also made the participating countries to deliver the results of the national project activities as these are key to reversing the population declines of migratory birds in the Africa-Eurasia flyway, whilst enabling people to be more resilient and able to adapt to a changing environment. The participating NGOs also made a commitment to contribute to their country’s engagements in the CMS convention, Africa Eurasia WaterBird Agreement (AEWA) and Africa Eurasia Migratory Land Birds Action Plan (AEMLAP) which is in development. 

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Conclusion and closing remarks (Photo: Tara Proud)

The workshop and other activities of above projects are financed primarily by the Dutch Post Code Lottery through the BirdLife Partner in the Netherlands (VBN) and the MAVA Foundation as well as the RSPB. 

By Thandiwe Chikomo and Geoffroy Citegetse