©FAO/ B.Portier


The Challenge

Migratory birds are indispensable to healthy ecosystems and to the well-being of people in every region of the world. Every year millions of water birds flock from the northern hemisphere to winter in the vast wetlands of the Sahel. These wetlands include the Senegal River Delta, the Inner Niger Delta, Lake Chad Basin and parts of the Nile River Valley. In these harsh environments, which typically experience long dry seasons, the birds are welcomed by local communities who rely on them as an important source of food and income, and as part of their cultural heritage. However, since 1960, the water bird populations in the Sahelian wetlands have plummeted by some 40 percent. This decline is due to several factors, including reduced rainfall, loss of flood plain habitats, the introduction of invasive plant species and direct offtake by hunting.

Impact at Scale

In response to the challenges facing migratory birds in the Sahel, five countries in the region (Chad, Egypt, Mali, Senegal and Sudan), together with FAO and a grouping of international organizations specialised in wildlife and bird conservation, are pooling their efforts to develop ways to protect Sahelian wetlands and their bird populations. This four-year initiative (2017-20), known as the RESSOURCE Project[1], is promoting the conservation of wetlands, monitoring bird populations, encouraging sustainable-levels of hunting, and supporting policies to safeguard the future of migratory birds in the region. Ensuring sustainable levels of hunting requires better information, new policies and management practices, as well as alternative income generating opportunities. The initiative is working on all these fronts together with local communities.

International Partnership

The RESSOURCE Project contributes to the strategic goals of the:

  • Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA)
  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance

The initiative is co-funded by the:

  • French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM)
  • European Union (EU), through the Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Programme.

The technical partnership that is implementing the Project is coordinated by FAO and includes:

  • French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)
  • French National Agency for Wildlife and Hunting Management (ONCFS)
  • European institute for the management of wild birds and their habitats (OMPO)
  • Wetlands International Africa (WIA)
  • Birdlife International (BI)
  • Research Institute Tour du Valat (TdV)

Find Out More

Please visit the public RESSOURCE and SWM Programme web portal for up to date information on activities, news and stories. The portal will be available shortly at: www.swm-programme.info.  

[1] From the French « Renforcement d’Expertise au Sud du Sahara sur les Oiseaux et leur Utilisation Rationnelle en faveur des Communautés et de leur Environnement » or in English “Strengthening expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa on birds and their rational use for communities and their environment”.


last updated:  Tuesday, August 13, 2019