WWT’s goal to improve biodiversity, improve livelihoods and combat climate change through improved management of protected wetlands in Madagascar was promoted by the European Union and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States as part of the BIOPAMA program financially supported.
The aim is to strengthen the community associations’ ability to develop and implement a strategy that will help Lake Sofia to thrive by protecting it from threats such as overharvesting natural resources and pollution for the benefit of local people and wildlife. The work on Lake Sofia will be used as a blueprint for improved management of other wetland systems in Madagascar.
The ongoing nature conservation work is being carried out by a partnership between WWT, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT), Asity Madagascar (AM) and Organization de Soutien pour le Développement Rural à Madagascar (OSDRM).
Madagascar Pochard, Copyright Ross Gallardy, from the Surfbirds Galleries
The head of international programs, Tomos Avent, said:
“WWT has been working in Madagascar since 2009, where we have successfully carried out a number of projects, from saving critically endangered species from extinction to publishing guidelines for wetland management.
“This project aims to expand our conservation work on Lake Sofia and to support the communities in restoring and managing their lake so that the wildlife and the people who depend on it can be cared for. It’s a model we’re promoting across the country.
“Madagascar is rich in species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, but it suffers from extreme poverty, which is accelerating environmental degradation. Healthy freshwater wetlands can support a resilient future for communities and protect valuable endemic biodiversity.
“The support of BIOPAMA enables the communities not only to imagine a network of blooming wetlands in Madagascar that serves their needs in a sustainable manner, but also to make it a reality.”
Francis Urena-Lara from the EU delegation said: “The European Union supports this action on Lake Sofia through the BIOPAMA program, which is financed with funds from the ACP countries. At the EU delegation, we consider this a good opportunity to highlight current and future EU commitments for the sustainable and inclusive development of the Malagasy people while at the same time managing their natural biodiversity. “
His colleague Nicole Andrianirina added, “We will be closely following best practices from WWT and its partners. Successful approaches can be expanded and implemented as part of our current rural / environmental development programs in Madagascar. After all, we expect this pilot action to pave the way for sustainable and inclusive management at the other 20 locations of the Ramsar Convention in Madagascar. “
Since 1960, Madagascar has lost over 60% of its wetlands. The remaining people face a variety of threats, including sedimentation, pollution and over-harvesting.
It is hoped that the project will reinvigorate a national Ramsar committee to promote the worthwhile and practical use of wetland systems through an action plan and the promotion of wetland protection. Managers of key wetlands across the country are also supported to build capacity for long-term resilient conservation and monitoring of Ramsar wetlands across the country.
Ramsar areas are wetlands of national importance that are designated according to the Ramsar Convention.