WWF TV Centre wins award. The World Wide Fund for Nature's International TV Centre has won a Certificate of Merit, in the category of Public Affairs/Video News Release, in the Chicago International Television Competition. The film "Niger - Bawa Ousmane Goah", produced by WWF's Joanna Benn () and colleagues in September 2001, highlights Mr Ousmane's work with the Programme for Local Development-Gaya (Swiss Development Cooperation) in fostering community-based planning and management in Albarkaïzé in the Gaya region of the southwest of Niger, restoring life through sustainable management to the floodplains of the "Zone humide du moyen Niger" Ramsar site (designated June 2001). The film surveys the prevailing problems of deforestation and unorganized use of the flooding cycle of this important length of the River Niger, and then follows Bawa Ousmane Goah as he illustrates the planning meetings with villagers, drawing upon their traditional knowledge, reforestation projects, and sustainable use of the available water in a programme that has already produced significant results in terms of agricultural yields and vastly increased numbers of birds and fish.
The work along the Middle Niger is part of an ongoing cooperative effort of WWF's Living Waters Programme, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), and the Government of Niger, based upon proposals by IUCN in 1992, and as a result of its success in using the wetlands as a starting point for village-based development, the SDC is supporting larger community-based development programmes in agriculture and other sectors.
Reprint of our article on the designation of Zone humide du moyen Niger, 13 June 2001.
Niger names three big new Ramsar sites
At ceremonies to be held on 17 June in Albarkaïzé, near the city of Gaya in the département of Dosso (SE of the capital Niamey), the Government of Niger will announce the designation of three valuable new Ramsar sites, totalling nearly half a million hectares (almost 5000 km2). Nigers energetic efforts, along with the other nations of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, to conserve and sustainably manage the essential but threatened wetland resources of the region, are commendable and have been significantly aided by WWFs Living Waters Campaign, and WWFs Denis Landenbergue will be attending the festivities on the 17th.
"Zone humide du moyen Niger", with birds, March 2001 (Photo: Anada Tiéga, Ramsar)
Complexe Kokorou-Namga. 17/06/01. Tillabéri. 66,829 ha. 14º12N 000º55E. Part of a transfrontier wetland, shared with Burkina Faso and Mali, the site comprises a suite of four permanent and semi-permanent marshes and pools in a former tributary of the river Niger. Internationally important for a number of reasons, it is particularly valued for its support to waterbirds, with nearly 50,000 representatives of 56 species counted in 2000. Three ethnic groups inhabit the region, largely Muslim but with a richness which includes veneration of a serpent considered to be a protective spirit for Kokorou and the people living there. Deforestation and over-grazing, as well as desertification, are considered to be threats. The site has been included as a demonstration project under the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) funded by GEF. Ramsar site no. 1071.
Site designation discussions in full cry, Alberkaïzé: Denis Landenbergue center left, Anada Tiéga center right.
Lac Tchad. 17/06/01. Diffa. 340,423 ha. 14º15N 013º20E. Lake Chad, much reduced in area in recent years, is still the fourth largest lake in Africa (after Victoria, Tanganyika, and Nyassa) and apparently the third largest endorrheic lake in the world (after the Aral and Caspian seas). The Niger portion of the shallow lake is extremely rich in biodiversity, particularly in migratory birds but also in its 120 species of fish. In an arid and semi-arid environment of very little rainfall, the supply of water depends upon the rainfall fluctuations in the wider catchment, which have generally not been favorable in recent years. Serious drops in fish production in recent decades remain ominous despite very recent encouraging signs. Traditional nomadic livestock practices present a threat in terms of desertification and require improved management. Ramsar site no. 1072.
Participatory management in site planning (with everybody turned the wrong way round).
Zone humide du moyen Niger. 17/06/01. Dosso. 88,050 ha. 12º04N 003º13E. A transfrontier wetland (shared with Benin and Nigeria) along the left bank of the river Niger some 55km west of the city of Gaya, SE of the capital Niamey, the site comprises the river and its floodplains with their permanent and seasonal ponds and watercourses. The site is internationally important by the representative criterion as well as by four of the waterbird and fish criteria, in particular for providing refuge for several fish species that have disappeared elsewhere along the river. Inundation occurs over a 4-5 month period beginning with rains in August through to the arrival of floods from upstream in November, and the site thus plays a key role in the hydrological cycle of the region. Vegetation is dominated by Echinochloa stagnina which provides pasturage for livestock of local communities, in addition to their traditional pursuits of diversified agriculture and fishing. Tourism is beginning in the area, and the local population has instituted no-hunting mechanisms to encourage birdwatching. Though the land is state-owned, the local population has age-old rights of use. A regional management plan for parks and reserves in the area is under development among Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Ramsar site no. 1073.