“Migratory waterbirds connecting wetlands and people” is the motto of the Flyway Programme of Wetlands International. Once again, this has again been put into practice with the holding of the first exchange visit between Russian (A2A project partners) and their West African counterparts last February, from the 10th to 14th. It was a very successful experience for russian partners who gained a broader and strong understanding of the site and the close connection between migratory birds that breed in Russia and spend over half a year in Senegal.
The five days visit was organized by Wetlands International under the project “From the Arctic to Africa” supported by the Arcadia Fund.
In accordance with the implementation of Ramsar Strategic Plan and the AEWA Resolution 5.20 on twinning amongst sites, this activity also falls within the plans of the proposed Flyways Linking Organizations and Wetlands (FLOW) initiative with a focus on supporting identification and matching the needs of site managers and promoting a more flyways-wide twinning and exchange.
M. Sergey KUNGURTSEV (left) from the Nenets Administration, Mrs. Nina NIKOLAEVA and Mr. Sergei UVAROV (right), both from the Nenets Museum of Natural History, were the three (03) members of the Russian delegation who visited Senegal for the first part of this exchange activity
The visit program combined meetings with parks department officials, information sharing and discussions with site managers and field visits in the Djoudj-Diawling complex which form the focus area of the project site in the West Africa region.
Visitors during a meeting with the Director of the National Parks Department at the Senegalese Ministry of Environment. This was an opportunity to discuss about the possibility to establish a formal and concrete collaboration between managers and their areas in Russia (Nenets AO) and their counterparts in West Africa (Senegal River delta).
Field excursions were occasions for Russian partners to learn about the conditions and the management experience of the Djoudj-Diawling National Parks complex. The rambles also enable the visitors to realize and appreciate the wealth and the available potentials in the site, particularly in terms of birds’ frequentation.
Discussions with surrounding populations helped to understand their involvement in the management system of the site and how they benefit from the site through the development of income generating activities like the hosting and the guiding of some of tourists visiting the parks' complex.
The relevant discussions with sites managers and their staff in the field helped parties to come to agreement on how and when to make happen their common wish for a concrete and active collaboration with their counterparts in Nenetsky (Russia). A common framework planning for this was discussed and will be implemented by next June.
The African counterparts visit in Russia is planned for June 2014. It will be a very good opportunity for the parks managers and authorities to discuss expansion for new Ramsar sites and advantages of joining AEWA with Russian counterparts.
It is proposed that during this give-and-take visit, the twinning will be formalized with signature of agreement documents, to enable great and active cooperation between the both areas in the future.
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By Gabin ABGLONON