By Frederic Tendeng
Dr. Daouda Ngom, Senegal’s focal point for UNESCO’s International Program on Rights and Biodiversity (MAB), last Tuesday revealed in Dakar that a Senegambia cross-border biosphere reserve will soon be created to span the two countries.
The Senegalese expert disclosed that a fair progress is done by officials of the two countries to submit a case for approval to UNESCO under the Madrid Plan of Action on biosphere reserves.
The planned cross-border biosphere reserve will cover a space between the Senegalese natural reserve in the Saloum Delta and a forest area in Niumi on the Gambian side.
Senegal has further plans to have another reserve to cover the Niokolo Koba Badiar Park up to the inlands of Guinea Conakry.
Biosphere reserves are sites devoted to international development. The concept was launched in 1974 in Madrid and sought to promote human sustainable development that protects biospheres and their diversities. This international UNESCO monitored program will last up to the year 2013.
Dr Daouda Ngom said the International standard process leading to the creation of biosphere reserves between Gambia and Senegal is very advanced.
He said “it could be submitted to UNESCO in the year 2011”.
If implemented, each space in the covered reserve will have specific attributes as inscribed in the Madrid Plan of Action. Thus, there is a central area that is strictly protected and only stands for conservation. It comprises a buffer zone that serves as an interface between the core and the transitional reserve. In the said buffer zone, no activities except those related to conservation are allowed.
Finally, there is a transition zone that is much more flexible. It’s a space where human activities such as livestock or agriculture can be conducted. This zoning caters for reconciling a wise use and conservation of biodiversity with sustainable development.
According to Professor Tahirou Diop, chairperson of Dakar’s MAB chapter and senior adviser to Senegal’s Minister of Higher Education, the Senegambian move will positively influence the trend on degradation of the natural heritage that “all have an obligation to protect for the benefit of present and future generations”.
By Frederic Tendeng