Africa Cover

Fight to save West Africa’s aquatic wildlife

Workshop Session
Partners round table discussion

Conservationists Finalize Action Plan in Abidjan

Report: Mohammed Abu,ADM,Accra.

A three-day workshop of a multi -stakeholder partnership of conservationists from across West Africa recently held in the Ivorian commercial capital of Abidjan in order to coordinate actions in the fight to save aquatic wildlife, facing an increasing level of threats,ended with a formal approval of the partnership by member states of the Abidjan Convention.

To combat this growing threat, and officially launch the partnership, the Abidjan Convention in collaboration with the USAID-funded West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) and Swiss non-profit organization, Ocean Care held the high-level workshop, to coordinate actions to achieve the goals of this partnership.

The Adhoc committee set up during the meeting will be working on the the Action Plan to be presented during the next COP for approval. The focus now is Aquatic threatened or protected species as against the earlier,”Aquatic endangered, threatened or protected species”.

The event provided the platform for crystallizing the discussions and identified actions on the trade, consumption and use of endangered marine and other aquatic wildlife.

The event recorded CITES focal points from 11 Countries within the Abidjan Convention region(ABC) region as well as international organizations and NGO’s.

Earlier through a joint press release issued by the parties,the founding members were named as USAID/West Africa Biodiversity and Climatic Change (WA BICC) Programme, OceanCare and Wild Migration.

The aims of the partnership the release stated were, to safeguard healthy populations of endangered, threatened or protected marine and other aquatic wildlife species; identify and uproot the causes driving the trade, capture and consumption of these coastal marine and other aquatic species.

“To establish sustainable ocean stewardship principles and practices in coastal communities with the tools, information and capacity to address threatening coastal, marine and other aquatic species.

“The detection of illegal wild fauna products at the national and regional exit point and bridges the gap between relevant inter-governmental forums and coordinate complementary action between them”.

The release also cites a new report prepared by USAID/ WA BICC which says the illegal use and consumption of dolphins, manatees, hippopotamus, and wild sea turtle is on the rise threatening the survival of these species as well as the health of their ecosystems.

The report, the release adds, also identified an increasing level of threats to these species in Benin, Cameroon, Nigeria and Togo among other countries/parties connected to the Abidjan Convention.