Decision : CONF 205 V.45-50
Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary (Senegal)
V.45 The Bureau recalled that at its last session (Cairns, 2000), the Committee approved a sum of US$ 130,475 for a project on the "Fight against Salvinia molesta in the Delta of the Senegal River at Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary". Since then, the Centre and IUCN, together with the Ramsar Secretariat and the State Party, have been developing a plan to eradicate and control invasive species in the Wetlands of the Senegal River Delta and the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary.
V.46 A two-person expert mission to the site was fielded from 31 March to 10 April 2001 to start work on the development of the plan, to be incorporated as part of the management plan of the Sanctuary. The mission reviewed the following issues: (a) role and functions of relevant Government agencies and the interests of major donors and partners; (b) co-ordination mechanisms to promote synergies between the major stakeholders and for integrating the invasive species plan as part of the long-term management of the site and the Delta; (c) evaluation of the need for further studies to better understand the ecology of the Delta; and (d) development of the institutional, organisational and budgetary aspects of the plan and the identification of indicators and actions for implementing monitoring activities. The Bureau noted the conclusions and recommendations of the mission outlined in the Document WHC-2001/CONF.205/WEB.2.
V.47 The State Party has mobilised Government authorities, armed forces and the local population during the last six months to manually clear Salvinia molesta and protect key sites, notably those located at the entrance to the Sanctuary. Mechanical and manual removal of the invasive species are essential steps during a 2-3 year period when biological control measures will play a key role in invasive species control. The insect Cyrtobagus salvinae has been identified as the biological predator to control Salvinia molesta and about 1,200 insects have been imported and are presently being bred at the Djoudj Biological Station to increase their numbers. The Senegal Delta is threatened by other invasive plants too, e.g. Typha australis, and a comprehensive approach to mitigate the spread of invasive species throughout the Delta is needed. Biological control measures are being implemented on the Mauritanian side of the Delta as well, and co-ordination mechanisms for the work of the two Governments are in place.
V.48 The Bureau was informed that a 2-year European Union project on "Policy research to identify conditions for optimal functioning of the Senegal River Ecosystem in Mali, Mauritania and Senegal" has begun. The Bureau agreed with IUCN’s view that the work of the different projects attempting to control the spread of invasive species in the Senegal River Delta needs to be co-ordinated and that the Centre should attempt to do all possible in this regard.
V.49 The Directorate of the National Parks of Senegal has been designated by the Ministry of Environment as the lead agency for implementing the biological control measures. The Directorate is seeking support, both at the national and local levels, to: (a) improve staff presence in the Delta; (b) implement and monitor progress of the biological control measures; (c) co-ordinate and co-operate with national, regional and local institutions; and (d) access up-to-date information and knowledge in invasive species mitigation, particularly in respect to Salvinia molesta, and disseminate such information and knowledge to stakeholders and partners by means of technical meetings and training acitivities.
V.50 The Bureau noted that the report of the experts' mission to the site describes several measures, including manual removal of Salvinia, and biological control programmes, awareness-raising and co-ordination activities etc., that are being implemented by the Department of National Parks and the Ministry of Environment of Senegal to control and eradicate the spread of Salvinia. The Bureau agreed with the position of the authorities and experts against using chemical control methods; and recognised that programmes integrating manual removal with biological control programmes based on Cyrtobagus salvinae are likely to be the best option for control and eradication of Salvinia. The Bureau noted that the results of the biological control programme will only be known over time when sufficient numbers of Cyrtobagus salvinae are bred and released into Salvinia infested areas. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to co-operate with the State Party and other international partners such as FAO and EU working with the State Party to establish a regime, including the identification of financial mechanisms, for monitoring the outcome of programmes to control and eradicate Salvinia. The monitoring regime needs to include measurable benchmarks and indicators that could signal to the Committee when it could consider that the control of Salvinia infestation in Djoudj and nearby areas is both effective and sustainable and hence would allow removing the site from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Bureau also noted with satisfaction the positive response from donors.