West Africa Biodiversity engages stakeholders on National Species Working Group

By Mohamed Konneh and Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya
Participants at the Workshop
The West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) Programme in collaboration with the National Protected Area Authority on Thursday 5th October 2017 engaged National Biodiversity on the creation of species working group for threatened species.
The engagement was held at the Buya’s Hotel in Port Loko City, Northern Sierra Leone bringing together community stakeholders and groups working on the environment.
Declaring the workshop open, Dr. Abdul Babtunde Karim, Associate Professor at the Department of Biology University of Sierra Leone, said the National Protected Area Authority was established by an act of parliament in 2012 to effectively manage all protected areas in Sierra Leone, ensuring the flora and fauna remain in place.
He said there are 15 protected areas of which 7 are wetlands and 8 are terrestrial all under the management of the Authority. “Four of these have been upgraded as National Parks and 11 proposed to be upgraded to protected area status,” he explained.
According to the NPAA Representative, the land area under protection is only about 8 percent but the Authority is working towards increasing the protected areas to about 20 percent of the land area of Sierra Leone. “In this regard, two sites have been indentified and negotiated with communities for management in the southeast and northern regions as protected areas,” he said.

Dr. Karim said with reference to endangered and threatened species, Sierra Leone became a member of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES) on the 28th October 1994 and was enforced in 1995 with the National Protected Area Authority (NPPA) having the mandate to oversee the implementation of CITIES.
He remarked that the Authority, which is looking at the growing size of protected area managers across various institutions in the country, they are delighted to collaborate with institutions that are dedicated to protecting and conserving the biodiversity of Sierra Leone by ensuring that our beautiful nation rises above the waters of climate change.
He said the workshop was jointly organized by the NPPA and the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) to involve various stakeholders in identifying experts in various species including those that are endangered or threatened, in an effort to ensuring effective collaboration and networking. “Our country must have a steadfast flow of information when it comes to protected areas and management,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Deputy Chief of Party at WA BICC, Tiega Anada, said Sierra Leone has ratified several conventions for protection of biodiversity including the Convention on Biodiversity in 1995 and the Convention on International Trade in endangered Species of Wild Fauna and flora in 1994.
He said within this context, Sierra Leone submits regular reports to the secretariat of these conventions and is required to integrate their prescription into its policies, legislation and regulations for forestry and wildlife Management.
Harold Williams from ENFORAC said the ecosystem seems to be fragmented and because of population explosion, animals and human beings are now fighting for the same habitat. “We are also looking at climate change and species migration which is very important as the need to collaborate and work together should be in place,” he said.

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