The Executive Board of Wetlands International met (from 18 to 21 June), for the first time, on African soil, setting sights on the Saint-Louis region, in northern Senegal. It was an opportunity to step feet right into the Ndiael special avifauna reserve (RSAN), the National Bird Park Sanctuary (PNOD) and the Diama dam managed by SOGED Management Company.
The nagging issue of water management in the Ndiael Special avifauna Reserve (RSAN) was at the center of the field visit held by members of the Board of Directors of WI on June 19th, 2013.
Wetlands International Africa (WIA), through its Ecosystem Alliance program operates in the Senegal River delta including the Ndiael basin. WIA works since last year with the Ndiael Inter-Villager Association (AIV) to re-flood the reserve through a project entitled'' contribution to the restoration of the Ndiael Reserve''. The Ndiael area which was once a wetland has become a desert for decades because of many factors related to climate change, irrigation schemes and action of man. The unavailability of water has resulted in the loss of plant cover and the disappearance of birds and ecosystem degradation. This situation is sadly felt by populations living in precarious and unbearable conditions in the area. However, there is hope. Wetlands International participated alongside other partners to restore the concerned environment.
The water flows back into the area. '' For two decades we tried to restore the site and bring water in the area to strike out the Ndiael reserve Ndiael from the Montreux red zone (damps identified as being in danger). It is in these circumstances that Wetlands International and its partners, in 2012, funded up to 142 million francs, the Ndiael inter-village Association which includes 32 villages. But this is just too little because such a project requires greater investments'' according to the RSAN coordinator, Lieutenant Colonel Dibocor Dione. According to him, this project requires large resources needing support from the Senhuile project, the Office of lake Lac de Guiers (Olag) and Wetlands International.
Ibrahima Thiam, the Regional Director for Africa Wetlands International believes that the protection of the ecosystem in this area is a major challenge and should be well upheld. "One of our missions is water management. In this Senegal River basin, Wetlands initiated major projects and built around a coordinated water management," he says. Mr. Thiam added that the challenge will be met with the support of Aiv, the state technical services as well as the civil society.
Pape Diomaye THIARE
Communications and Media Coordinator
Wetlands International Africa
Phone: +221 33 869 16 81