WESTERN & CENTRAL AFRICA
Six protected areas in two reserves receive a grant from the BIOPAMA programme to improve management and governance in Senegal.
The Direction des Parcs Nationaux (DNP) of Senegal has just signed a contract with the BIOPAMA programme to obtain a grant of 400,000 euros over three years, which will help the institution in its project to improve the management of protected areas in two of the country's biosphere reserves (PAGERE): the Senegal River Delta Biosphere Reserve and the Saloum Delta Biosphere Reserve. The intention is to optimise conservation for the benefit of local communities, by strengthening the existing governance system.
The first stages of the project have already been completed. In September, BIOPAMA organised a three-day training session on the IMET 2 (Integrated Management Effectiveness Tool) for managers of the six protected areas that are part of the two reserves and managers of other protected areas in Senegal. At the end of the workshop, Tanya Merceron, coordinator of the BIOPAMA programme for Central and West Africa at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said she was pleased that thanks to the programme's action component, the conservators of all the protected areas in Senegal were able to come together to materialise an exchange network in which IMET was a central theme. The Integrated Management Effectiveness Tool (IMET) was developed within the framework of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA), in close consultation with several authorities and protected area managers.
IMET was designed to directly support managers, in the field and at the national level, and help them improve the effectiveness of protected area management and, more generally, biodiversity conservation.
IMET provides support for planning, monitoring and evaluation of protected areas, based on the organisation of available information and the definition of a reference framework. The resulting analyses can be examined at different levels: protected area, national or regional. In this way, the tool encourages a proactive results-based approach that facilitates planning, analysis of the status of conservation and visualisation of parameters to assess the effectiveness of management in relation to the achievement of conservation objectives.
The training conducted in Somone will not only serve to analyse the current situation and the effectiveness of PA management in Senegal, but also to facilitate the next steps of the project. These steps must meet the main objectives defined by the DNP: to improve the planning and management of Senegal's protected areas; to strengthen their governance system and to improve the livelihoods of local communities.
The coordinator of the Pagere programme and in charge of organising the training, Captain Aissatou Niass, explains that the main purpose of the workshop was to involve all managers of Senegal's protected areas in the appropriation of the IMET tool and its application in their sites, in order to improve management and governance. DNP which collaborates closely with the Directorate of Community Marine Protected Areas for the execution of the project, expects as one of the results the application of some protected areas of Senegal to the certification of the Green List. "The link between the Green List and IMET is that the tool is used to assess the management effectiveness of protected areas of all categories, and the Green List is a label that promotes international standards for good governance of protected areas," analyses Youssouph Diedhiou, in charge of the World Heritage and Green List programme for the Central and West African region of the IUCN. "Governance and management are linked and complementary processes," says Diedhiou. “For example, when a country gets started in the Green List certification process, it is interesting that the protected area can make a management assessment using the IMET tool, which will enable it to judge the current status, and the result of this management assessment can eventually be used for the PA's application on the Green List."
Following the training, the next activity will be the evaluation of the management effectiveness of the protected areas in the two Biosphere reserves targeted by the project. In addition to the training on the IMET tool, the project relies on other activities already identified to meet its objectives. Among them, one of the most important is the capacity building for biodiversity data collection, which will be upgraded through the use of drones and the automation of data processing. Other project activities include the updating of development and management plans, the consolidation of the protected areas information system and the establishment of a concerted, harmonised and participatory governance framework at the level of each site. Through this process, communities will be able to benefit sustainably from the benefits of conservation.