The World Bank/WBIís CBNRM Initiative
Case Received: November 1997
Author: Amadou Matar Diouf
Telephone: (221) 24 0545
Fax : (221) 24 9246
WETLANDS CO-MANAGEMENT: THE CASE OF THE JOINT
MANAGEMENT OF THE DJOUDJ NATIONAL BIRD
SANCTUARY AND ITS OUTSKIRTS
The Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary (PNOD) was created in 1971. It is located entirely within the ecosystem of the River Senegal delta, and covers an area of 16,000 Hectares. In 1977 it was added to the list of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention). Since 1981, it has been considered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Situated at the heart of the natural delta region of the River Senegal, the PNOD lies in the Middle Delta area, which, in terms of its specific features, is directly influenced by the ecological and socioeconomic dynamics of the Upper and Lower Delta areas. The current condition of the River Senegal delta, of which the PNOD is a part, is the result of complex historical development that has profoundly disrupted and transformed the ecological and socioeconomic systems of the area.
From 1964 onward, several changes took place, one after another, and often overlapping with each other, in the whole Delta region. Those changes created the ecological and socioeconomic dynamics defining the current and future status of the PNOD. These factors are essential to an understanding of the tensions and conflicting forces at play within the sanctuary, the challenges it must meet in order to survive, and the kind of attentions it is attracting.
In 1964, under the initiative of the Senegal Development Mission (MAS), a dyke was built on the left bank of the River Senegal. Stretching from Saint-Louis to Richard-Toll, it is 80 kilometers in length, and was built so that water levels could be controlled for the benefit of the Deltaís irrigated crops.
The dyke was the first step in a gradual program that would be completed in 1986 with the construction of the Diama barrage.
When the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary was created, in 1971, the people living in the sanctuary area were forcibly driven from their homes. This of course led to conflict, because the people found themselves barred from their homelands, which included their sacred sites, their cemeteries, and the abundant resources upon which they depended for survival.
Since 1986, when the Diama barrage was completed (without any study having been undertaken with regard to the potential impact on sanctuary life), the sanctuary has functioned as an ecological unit within the Middle Delta area of the River Senegal, which is undergoing a period of transition and instability that is making its management complex and difficult. Changes in water quality, invasion of reservoirs by floating vegetation and degradation of the biodiversity are the ecological problems facing the park. Add to this the pressures on resources brought to bear by agriculture, the growing human population, and the fact that there are no livestock grazing areas.
The human population of the Djoudj basin derives from early settlements in the River Senegal delta. Early settlements were small and widely dispersed due to the constraints of nature (halomorphic soil and relative scarcity of drinking water at certain times of the year).
In more recent years, population changes (new migrants, movement of villages to new sites) have resulted from disruptions to the local ecology (floods, drought) and socioeconomic changes (hydro-agricultural development, the creation of the PNOD, the construction of the Diama barrage).
There are currently eight villages grouped around the sanctuary:
Several different ethnic groups live together in the villages.
Three main ethnic groups live together in the area:
- Wolofs (walo-walo), who form the majority in three villages (Tiguet, Débi and Kheune);
- Moors, who dominate in five villages (Rone, Fourarate, Diadiem 1, Diadiem 2, Diadiem 3);
- Peuls, a minority group dispersed among the various villages.
The populations of these villages have grown rapidly, because people have been attracted to the irrigated boundary areas created by the hydro-agricultural policies in operation in the high and mid-valley areas.
The following are the main socioeconomic activities:
Animal husbandry: practiced for centuries in the Djoudj territories by all ethnic groups.
Despite the difficulties caused by the vagaries of the climate, the livestock count remains strong (Diadiem 2: 200 cattle, 125 small ruminants, 15 donkeys, 1997; Débi: 553 cattle, 210 small ruminants, 330 donkeys).
The closure of traditional migration routes (due to the rapid growth of irrigated areas, which lie right on the sanctuary buffer zone), the enclosure of the most populated area (which lies between the River Senegal and the sanctuary, in the north/north-western sector), and the incursion of Mauritanian migrants into the left bank area, are all factors that increase the pressures exerted by livestock on the boundary areas and constitute the main sources of tension between the people and the sanctuary staff.
Agriculture: this activity has undergone profound changes. Before 1965, flood-based agriculture was dominant in the Djoudj basin. Then, as a result of the hydro-agricultural improvement program instituted by the state-run development body SAED (Delta Improvement and Exploitation Society), irrigation-based agriculture took over. Since the SAEDís withdrawal from the scene and the introduction of the agricultural loans system, the GIEs (Economic Interest Groups), which are farmersí development groups, have been in charge of this activity. In 1994, 45 of the 76 GIEs created across the eight villages developed 1708 hectares, compared with the 917 hectares developed by the SAED. The largest of these areas are the rice-growing boundary areas of Débi (980 Hectares) and Kheune (960 Hectares) .
Fishing: currently limited to the reservoirs located outside the sanctuary. Fishing was traditionally practiced for subsistence purposes, but there is now some small-scale marketing of fish to Saint-Louis.
Because of the revenues generated by commercialization, and the loans made to fishermen out of community funds, fishing is undergoing something of a renaissance.
Fishing is generally practiced in the areas where Nymphea lotus (water lilies) are gathered.
Crafts: The exclusive domain of women. It comprises:
- Mats woven from perennial grasses (Sporobolus, Typha);
- tanned skins, for various purposes (pillow-cases, decorative objects);
- jewelry made from pearls, silver and nickel;
- domestic utensils (pots, teapots).
Trade: Small stores have been opened in the villages for the sale of essential goods. Some villages have also opened outlets in the large towns (Dakar, Saint-Louis). Bartering is common, with rice as the principal unit of exchange.
Hunting: In general, local people do not practice legal hunting. They do, however, act as guides for tourists who come to hunt in a leased area managed by the Senegal Hunting and Gun Club.
In the past, before the site was turned into a national park, the indigenous population lived from these resources. The above activities were all practiced, but the people lived according to a subsistence system in which the use of resources was determined entirely by the needs of the people. That system was supported by social customs and taboos that did not allow for natural resources to be wasted, and the people lived in harmony with the natural resources.
Change came with the opening of the Delta to hydro-agricultural development and the accompanying transition to a market economy. From that time forth, natural resources were subjected to destructive exploitation.
These are dictated largely by the effects of human activity and by issues surrounding the sanctuary.
The Effects of Human Activity
Since it is located at the heart of the delta system, the sanctuary is influenced by the same factors and changes that influence the region overall. The irrigated rice-growing system introduced in the Djoudj basin by SAED, and its subsequent expansion by means of the barrage (which was privately funded by GIEs and agricultural entrepreneurs) has reinforced the sanctuaryís dominant position with regard to the agricultural systems in operation in the surrounding area.
The expansion of the rice-growing areas, which now make up an overwhelming proportion of the basinís agricultural activity, has resulted in the following:
All these factors contribute to the increase in pressure exerted upon the sanctuary by livestock. The extra income being earned from certain traditional activities (fishing, crafts) may also weigh upon the future of the basin, because of the accompanying increase in human activity and the increased use of resources.
The major issues may be listed under two headings:
Ecological: The question remains: how do we preserve the biodiversity of the Djoudj within a context marked by formidable constraints (persistent drought in the delta ecosystem and changes in the hydrological functioning of the Djoudj due to the installation of the Diama barrage)?
The answer to this question will come through scientific research designed both to provide a comprehensive inventory of the basinís natural resources and to achieve greater understanding of their underlying ecology.
Socioeconomic: The issue at stake here is the sustainable management of the Djoudj ecosystem. In other words, we must create management systems that safeguard natural resources while meeting the development needs of the people living next to the river and taking into account the institutional changes introduced by regionalization.
Joint and participatory management is the appropriate answer, for it allows us to provide a balanced response to the needs of the people and of nature.
Over the years, relations between the people and the sanctuary have been dictated by policy decisions on the management of natural-resources.
Protection and Repressive Management
The creation of the sanctuary in 1971, and its expansion in 1975, were the result of authoritarian measures imposed upon the people. One outcome of these measures was that the local people found themselves barred from their homelands.
The policy of subordinating everything to the safeguarding of natural resources produced a relationship characterized by conflict (Table 1) between:
TABLE 1: Conflicts in the PNOD from 1990 to 1993
Nature of conflict No. of cases Fine (Francs CFA)
1990 Illegal fishing 2 90,000
Animal theft 20 355,000
Illegal fishing 6 60,000
Illegal stays 3 300,000
Hunting 4 121,000
Total 33 836,000
1992 Animal theft 6 220,000
1993 Hunting 4 85,000
Animal theft 1 5,000
Total 11 310,000
1994 to 1997 - Nil Nil
Between 1971, when the sanctuary was created, and 1993, it became apparent that the repressive techniques being used to protect natural resources were not producing results. No matter how hard one tries, this method can never be enough. It is just not possible to guard every species.
Consequently, to stick to that approach was to entertain the illusion of protection, even though it was apparent that protection could not be assured. It was to accept the inevitability of deterioration.
The year 1994 marked the beginning of a new approach to natural-resource management, a method based upon consultation with the various groups involved and above all with the people living around the sanctuary.
This new policy conceded neither part nor all of the sanctuary to the people. Instead, it sought to make the best possible use of each area of the sanctuary, to regenerate natural resources in the impoverished areas, to define usersí rights, and to build upon the local peopleís knowledge and experience of using the ecosystems.
To be precise, the policy will, in future, entail the following:
This implies a transition from an ethos of obligation to an ethos of partnership.
The arrival of the sanctuary ushered in an era of dialogue and consultation with the people living next to the river. This new approach was given material form in the Djoudj Five-Year Joint-Management Plan (PQGI), which was conceived and implemented by the UICN and the National Parks Administration, supported by various parties. The following two factors led to this new approach:
The methodology behind the plan was based upon extensive consultation with the various groups involved (local population, state technical agencies, NGOs, research institutes and international partners).
Two types of study were undertaken:
These studies provided confirmation of the fact that the sanctuary tended to polarize certain vested interests. The following table provides a summary of the various groups and their priorities with regard to the park.
TABLE 2: The various groups involved, and their priorities
National Authorities Self-sufficiency (rice growing)
Local Population Daily needs (health, education, water, Food, etc.
The plan is based on the following principles:
The 5 general aims that constitute the substance of the plan are focused around these basic strategies.
The institutional structure of the plan is such that it will be effectively monitored.
The Policy Committee (CO) and the Scientific Committee (CS)
The duty of the policy and scientific committees are to provide consultation, advice and support for the National Parks Administration, which implements the guidelines and directives of the State of Senegal decreed by the Ministry for the Protection of Nature and the Environment.
The function of the Scientific Committee is to ensure the scientific and technical accuracy of research and investment to be carried out in the sanctuary and its outskirts.
The PNOD Policy Committee is charged with ensuring that the PQGI is respected and with taking major decisions affecting the sanctuary, especially those concerning investments to be made within the sanctuary and its outskirts, acting on the recommendations of the Scientific Committee.
The Sanctuary Management Committee (CG)
The sanctuary management committee is the institution that directly influences the implementation of the PQGI. Its members include the Conservator; the Director of the Biological Research Station; two representatives from each village lying in the region immediately surrounding the sanctuary, including the village chief and a representative from the various village associations and groupings; a representative from the Rural Council; the Water and Forestry Officer; and the representative of the tourist office of the Saint-Louis Hoteliersí Association. The Conservator acts as committee president and the UICN representative functions as the secretary.
The participation of the people living next to the river requires a liaison committee that will enable them to express their views, preferences and decisions. In this way, the inter-village conservation committee plays a central role in the implementation of the measures resulting from the decisions taken under the PQGI. It coordinates specialized bodies such as the joint eco-tourism committee, the reafforestation committee, the committees on water management, drainage and health, and the forest-pastures committee.
These technical committees are charged with coordinating the implementation of the various activities in the various sectors of the sanctuary. The Eco-tourism Committee, for example, handles relations with the artisans who show their goods at the craft store and the eco-museum, making regular follow-up reports to the Management Committee. Similarly, the water-management, drainage and health committees handle questions regarding the public drinking fountains, the water towers, the medicines provided at the health clinics, and the drainage and cleaning operations carried out in the villages.
Each of these bodies acts as a liaison with regard to the development activities carried out by the people living on the sanctuaryís rivers, working in collaboration with, and supported by, the Conservator and the Management Committee.
The implementation of the activities envisaged by the plan has thus far achieved the following results:
Environmental education is aimed at youth groups, womenís groups, pupils and teachers of the surrounding village schools, and the high schools and colleges of the city of Saint-Louis.
A corps of volunteer village eco-guards has been formed, comprising 35 representatives from the villages lying on the outskirts of the sanctuary. The task of the eco-guards is to provide information and coordinate village meetings to educate people about the significance of the sanctuary and its resources, their various functions, the principles of joint management of the site by the people and the sanctuary staff. They also assist National Park staff in watching over the sanctuary.
The educational tools used are plays, sketches and informal talks. Eco-guards have produced their first play about the relationships between the sanctuary and the local people:
These environmental-education projects have increased dialogue between the various groups and helped to establish a permanent consultation process.
The effects of these activities are already visible on the ground, both in the genuine rapprochement that has taken place between the various groups involved and in the exchange of information fostered. Neither phenomenon had been observed before the plan was implemented.
Support for the local populationís community-based initiatives designed to foster the development of the outlying villages.
The implementation of a community-based fund to finance small business projects submitted by local people. These funds, which are held in a bank in Saint-Louis, comprise small loans offered at a very low rate of interest. They are managed entirely by the management committee and the various loan committees created for this purpose in each of the sanctuaryís 7 outlying villages. A loan-rotation system has been established to ensure that the funds benefit a maximum number of people. In 1996, five-million francs CFA financed 21 micro-projects in the 7 outlying villages. The loans were entirely repaid, at a rate of 7 %. In 1997, the capital was doubled to ten-million francs CFA, and a banking system was set up among the villages to manage the funds. Currently, 7 village banks are in operation, and each has 50 members. This means there are 350 village beneficiaries of the loans. The village-bank system was set up in collaboration with the "CARITAS" NGO, which has been operating this system around the country for over 10 years.
The banks offer loans and savings services to the sanctuaryís 7 surrounding villages, and repay the loans at an interest rate of 7 %. The main activities financed by the banks are fishing, animal husbandry, crafts and small businesses.
Support for the community-based activities in the area surrounding the sanctuary.
These activities are determined by the local population, with a view to raising their standard of living and improving the general living conditions on the outskirts of the sanctuary. They comprise the following:
Several research programs are in operation inside the sanctuary, aimed at increasing public awareness, improving site resources and promoting development.
Current research programs include the following:
The information produced by these research programs will be placed at the disposal of all groups involved. Thus the sanctuary authorities, the local population and the other groups, acting through the various intermediary bodies charged with implementing the plan [the management committee (CG), the Scientific Committee (CS), and the Policy Committee (CO)], will be provided with a solid scientific basis for their decisions on sanctuary development and management projects.
This research may eventually provide the answer to one major question in particular, namely:
Several structural features have been added to promote eco-tourism in the sanctuary. These include the craft store, the eco-museum and the Moorish tent "KHAÏMA."
These facilities constitute the first points of contact between the local people and tourists visiting the sanctuary. Note that the Djoudj Sanctuary is visited by over 3,000 tourists each year.
Several traditional craft and recreational activities are offered by the local people at these facilities.
These additions to the sanctuaryís infrastructure, and the craft store in particular, generate substantial extra income for the local people. Craft work has long been one of the main activities in the sanctuary, but in recent years it has suffered from a lack of markets for the products. The craft store has proven to be a popular site with tourists and has thus been able to redress this situation.
All these activities are managed by the eco-tourism committee, which represents all seven outlying villages.
During the 1996/1997 tourist season, the craft store was visited by 1,257 tourists, earning 2.65 million francs CFA, from the sale of articles offered for sale by village craftsmen and the sale of tea served beneath the "KHAIMA."
The implementation of the participatory approach to the management of Wetlands of International Importance such as the Djoudj Sanctuary was extremely successful in this context.
The results achieved after the third year of a five-year plan based on this approach allow us to assess the viability of such a tool in ensuring sustainable conservation.
In fact, one of the most significant results of the plan, observable on the ground, was the way in which the local people and the Sanctuary management were able to come together. As indicated above, when the Djoudj Sanctuary was constructed, the people living on the site were forcibly driven from their homes. This resulted in hatred and permanent conflict between the people and the sanctuary staff.
Illegal exploitation (poaching) was constantly carried out by these people, whenever occasion presented itself.
The consultation groups (management committees and inter-village committees) set up by the PQGI, and the application of the principles of the participatory approach, enabled people and Sanctuary staff to come together. The resulting synergy has been translated in the joint management of the site by the local people and the sanctuary staff. Today, a corps of volunteer village eco-guards acts as a liaison group between the villagers and the sanctuary staff, coordinating the people and watching over the sanctuary itself.
The setting-up of the craft store and the village banks has created income-generating activities. There are 135 households involved in these activities.
This assistance in improving peopleís living conditions is extremely helpful with regard to strengthening the joint management of the site. This is because it represents the interests of one of the players, and by no means the least important, the people living by the river.
Another significant result has been the coming together of the researchers, the research institutions and the development institutions involved in the sanctuary or surrounding area.
In the past, these institutions used to intervene on an individual basis in the sanctuary and surrounding area. It often happened that two, or several, institutions would work on the same theme without knowing it, because they communicated little with one another, if at all.
In forming the Scientific Committee, the PQGI has created a forum for discussion and exchange between the researchers. All the research and improvement programs in the sanctuary are discussed and evaluated by the members of the Scientific Committee. This allows the various research groups to participate in the development of tools to be used in the sustainable management of the site.