The National wetlands management policy (PNZH) entrusted to Wetalnds International by the Government of Senegal through the National Parks Directorate (DPN) in 2013 has been validated. This step in the process happened during a technical validation workshop organized by the two structures on 2nd and 3rd February, 2015 as part of the World Wetlands Day (WWD). Amendments were made to the document to better take into account the concerns of all stakeholders prior to its adoption by the Cabinet and the National Assembly soon.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Souleymane Diallo, Cabinet Director of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development recalled that PNZH catches up with the willingness of Senegal’s Head of State and his government to promote the conservation and rational use of wetlands. Hence, according to him, the support of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development to the participatory and consensual process developed by Wetlands International and National Parks Directorate in the development of PNZH .
Diallo added that the National Policy on Wetlands Management (PNZH) is timely as wetlands in Senegal are highly threatened by the pressures they face whilst this trend is likely to intensify over the next decades due to many reasons that include water necessities, modification and loss of habitats as well as climate change. The representative of the Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development disclosed that estimates have it that 64 % of wetlands have disappeared. Recalling the experts on the importance the Government of Senegal attaches to the end result of their work, Souleymane Diallo warned that there cannot be a sustainable development without healthy wetlands.
Mr. Pape Mawade Wade, Program Coordinator of Wetlands International Regional Office in Africa said '' If wetlands in Senegal are well preserved, they can form an important basis on which should be built the government's strategic vision called Plan Senegal Emergent (PES), which is the main repository of economic and social development policy of Senegal. ''PNZH is also a result of the interrelationships between wetlands and emerging themes such as biofuels, climate change or the green economy" said Pape Mawade Wade.
Mr. Wade said that the formulation of the National Wetlands Management Policy was first diagnosed with all themes and issues to underpin sustainable management of wetlands. These include the legal and institutional framework, land and land development, food security, sanitation, health and urbanization.
These are the various thematic studies that have been enriched and supplemented during the zonal consultations that led to the adoption of operational action plans in each eco geographical area between October and November 2013. Five-year action plans have been developed to accompany the strategies and policies. Zonal Monitoring Committees were set up in Ferlo, Niayes, Senegal River Casamance, Senegal Oriental and Sine-Saloum.
After this technical validation, PNZH will be politically endorsed prior to its consideration by the Cabinet and its adoption by the National Assembly. It is from there that it will become a law and will be a tool for sustainable management of wetlands like in some countries in the sub region.