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Senegal - Amadou Sow, AIV Ndiaël winner of 2015 AEWA Award: '' This award is a challenge and a motivation for us'’

27-Nov-2015

The President of the Inter Villager Association (AIV) of Ndiaël is aware of the magnitude of the task that awaits him and his organization after they won this year's Award by the Agreement on the Conservation of Birds of Water migratory African-Eurasian (AEWA) for involvement in the conservation of waterbirds and ecological monitoring in the Ndiael reserve. In his view, the AIV has no more right to fold arms in its mission on environment conservation. For Amadou Sow believes the award is a new driving force across his organization that can no longer rest on its laurels.

Like a sword of Damocles, the AEWA 2015 Award is a reminder for the Inter Villager Association (AIV) of Ndiaël not to relent anymore. '' This international recognition is an extra motivation. It is like ministry to us. We have a great challenge. With this award, we no longer have the right to give up, or fail '', noted President Amadou Sow upon his return from the 6th Meeting of the Parties (MOP6). He said '' We will redouble our strive because the best is yet to come. We are very happy of the AEWA Award 2015 we recently received in Bonn, Germany. We thank our partners, mainly Wetlands International and AW with whom we have worked in the Program MFS II Ecosystem Alliance in the Ndiaël reserve. Through their support, we have achieved this colossal effort that brought us this award. We plan to work more on new challenges hanging in the Ndiaël. With co-financing of Wetlands International and Living on the Earth (LOTE), we were able to make achievements that earned this distinction to us. Whoever used to know Ndiaël can witness the big difference between the past and now. It’s a great change in the reserve due to the intervention of international organizations and our communities''.

The revival of fauna and flora following various activities of restoration and ecosystem conservation is of great importance to the AIV Ndiaël. And Mr. Sow added that ''The AIV is reaching out to partners such as Wetlands International and others to help us in our mission to revitalize the Special Avifauna reserve of Ndiaël (RSAN).Bringing back water will have a huge socio-economic impact of invaluable advantages for the 32 villages and their population. We want to keep progressing. Already the accessibility through Bélel Mbaye’s road built through the Ecosystem Alliance program has positive effects in the social and economic span of the area. ''

When creating the AIV in 2004, its members never believed that such an achievement is possible. It all started with the Mauritania-Senegal Biodiversity project that helped us structure and have the paperwork such as receipts and capacity building. The Compact program later came in but '' it is with Wetlands International AW that we concretely made tremendous achievements. With Wetlands International, we made possible what we never materialized with previous partners. The AEWA Award 2015 came to us as a surprise. We expected a distinction national level as was the case in 2011 when we won an award from the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development of Senegal '' insists Mr. Sow.

Today, there is hope in getting better results. President Amadou Sow and members of his AIV can even foresee a brighter future for Ndiaël. '' We are not far from achieving main goals. With the delivery of water, we are more than optimistic. If this precious liquid is there, we will have a better future with real impacts on animal breeding because we are in farming and breeding zone. In addition to positive effects on fisheries, ecotourism can generate many opportunities in the RSAN. To this, one can add the availability of job opportunities as another reason for us to be optimistic. There was water in the past with no infrastructure. But this time the construction of a tourist camp by Préfélag is planned'', he says.

Notwithstanding, the winner of AEWA 2015 conservation Award cautions '' I took the chance that I was offered to my community by the award to challenge the international community in relation to the survival of Ndiaël to land grabbing after the Senegalese Government decommissioned 26.000ha from the 46,000 hectares of the reserve. We are therefore looking for support to get back the land of the reserve and preserve the interest of local communities. If we don’t mind, the land in Ndiael reserve may be grabbed again with the arrival of agribusiness investors. The conservation of biodiversity is far more important to us than the arrival of multinational. We will oppose resistance and struggle to avoid a sellout of our land '' Mr Sow concluded.

Communications and Media Coordinator

Wetlands International Africa

Phone: +221 33 869 16 81

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