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Gambia delegates return from Senegal

Dec 24, 2010, 2:15 PM | Article By: Abdourahman Sallah

A 15-member delegation from the Gambia working group of the Niumi Biosphere Reserve at the weekend returned from Delta du Saloum Biosphere Reserve in Senegal.

The team was in Senegal for a four-day study visit at the Delta du Saloum Biosphere Reserve. The team was led by Abdoulie Sawo, project manager at the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management which is being supported by IUCN office in Senegal.

The Niumi Saloum Trans-boundary Biosphere Reserve is a Senegal-Gambia joint reserve area of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems to promote conservation and biodiversity through sustainable use of its resources. It has a total land area of 443,543 hectares.

These reserve areas, which are internationally recognised, and nominated by national governments, remain under the sovereign jurisdiction of the states in which they are located.

These areas allow farming, settlement and the use of their resources sustainable within the biosphere. Due to the high demand of these resources, the IUCN project has provided alternative livelihood projects for the people living within and around the biosphere to reduce dependency on the remaining resources.

The biosphere reserves form a world network and areas of over 480 biosphere reserves in over 100 countries globally, where exchanges of information, experiences and personnel are facilitated.

The Niumi Biosphere Reserve in The Gambia is an initiative still in progress started since 2005. Since then a lot of significant achievements have been made in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders through community meetings, workshops, radio programmes and studies for the possible creation of Gambia’s first Biosphere Reserve.

Niumi Biosphere Reserve has a total land area of 113,543 hectares. This covers Lower Niumi, Upper Niumi and Jokadu districts in North Bank Region.

The visit, aimed at exposing delegates to learn some of the best practices through sharing information and skills, could be replicated in The Gambia.

As part of the agenda, the team was taken on a tour of some of the IUCN intervention sites within the Delta du Saloum Biosphere Reserve. Some of the areas visited included Djirnda, Mounde, Palmarin, and Djiffa, where local communities have embarked on various projects such as micro-finance schemes, beekeeping, mangrove restoration coconut farming, Oyster collection, salt mining, community radio broadcasting, and dam construction. These are all controlled and managed by the local people.

The delegates were engaged on series of community meetings with their Senegalese counterparts to share experiences and information regarding the smooth running of the Gambia-Senegal Trans Boundary Biosphere Reserve.

The project manager, Abdoulie Sawo, urged the delegates to make best use of the visit as well as ensure that they share information gained from the trip to people in their various communities.