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Nature Reserve Management plan validated

Jan 13, 2012, 3:00 PM | Article By: Abdou Rahman Sallah

A five-year management plan for Tanbi Wetland National Park and Abuko Nature Reserve was on Wednesday validated at a two-day forum.

The meeting, which attracted stakeholders from 16 communities, local authorities and government line departments, was held at Model Horticultural conference hall in Wellingara village, Kombo North district, West Coast Region.

Speaking at the forum, Ousainou Touray, a senior wildlife conservation officer and the coordinator for the Energy and Environment Project at the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management, said the consultant had been working on the management plan document for the past five months.

The document was made available for validation thanks to the support of the UNDP through the environment and energy project, which MoFEN is currently implementing.

Mr Touray said the document will serve as a guiding tool for natural resources protection and development of the wetland reserve for the benefit of the community and the whole country.

He added that at the end of the five-year period, the management plan will be reviewed again to see how the document can be shaped to suit the changing environment for further implementation of programmes and activities of the Reserve.

“The community’s welfare and concerns are being incorporated in the document and these are key for the management of the area,” Mr Touray noted.

For his part, Momodou L. Kassama, Principal Conservation Officer at the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management, said the project intends primarily to prepare management plans for Protected Areas without an update of management plans, to meet the present situation of the Reserve.

Management plans in conservation terms are prepared in medium and long-term, which are strategic terms of five years and ten years respectively and are subject to a midterm review periodically to take stock of actions that are very important to the document for effective implementation of programmes and activities in the park.

“This management tool is very important for Department of Parks and Wildlife Management because Protected Areas cannot exist by name but by consensus with all relevant stakeholders,” said Mr Kassama.

“The MP document entails set of actions that are essential and needed to be done and achieved over a period of time, which is why about sixteen communities and other stakeholders including the local authorities are critically looking at the document.”

The lead consultant, Almamy Kinteh, in his remarks, said that during the validation process, stakeholders critically explored the document to ensure there is no policy gap or other areas left, for the implementation of the document for the next five years.

According to him, participants have also looked into specific areas such as goal, vision and general objectives.

He emphasised the importance of the validation forum, saying without the input of the relevant stakeholders the management plan might not reflect the reality on the ground.