Building research capacity in West Africa

by Hacen el Hacen

Building research capacity in West Africa (Hacen el Hacen)

After delays to do with the Covid19 pandemic and the invasion of  Ukraine, the federal German International Climate Initiative (IKI) gave the green light to start preparing the Climate Resilient East Atlantic Flyway project, in which BirdEyes has been given the responsibility to coordinate the Monitoring and Research working package (WP1).

With emphasis on capacity building at the key flyway sites, this project aims to increase resilience to possible negative impacts of climate change on the survival of migratory waterbirds of the East Atlantic Flyway. The BirdEyes integrative monitoring and research package will focus on the three most important sites for migratory shorebirds along the west coast of Africa: Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania, Bijagós archipelago in Guinea-Bissau, and the Delta du Saloum in Senegal.

In June-July, BirdEyes researcher Hacen El-Hacen was in Mauritania and Senegal to prepare the grounds. He gave five presentations in workshops with different stakeholders including local indigenous inhabitants of some of the above-mentioned national parks, the national academics, and the regional/international conservation consortium. Hacen spoke on various topics including the research history of the NIOZ-RUG at Banc d’Arguin, the importance of developing highly skilled human capacity in the region, the history of the Global Flyway Network (GFN) including the birth of BirdEyes. Of course, he also spoke about the activities that should become a reality in the course of the IKI project.

We aim to (1) study the dynamic of migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the three key sites, (2) recruit local MSc & PhD students to conduct research on the most urgent questions related to the functioning and resilience of these coastal ecosystems, and (3) set up long-term baseline monitoring to biophysical parameters relevant to climate change and science management-oriented conservation.

Centre for global ecological change at the University of Groningen

Birdeyes is a science and creative centre that views the world - almost literally - through the eyes of birds. More and more birds are flying around with tiny transmitters, loggers and other high technology on their backs and legs. This generates an unimaginable amount of information. By cleverly combining such data with other sources of information, and by using new ways to tell stories and share the insights with, BirdEyes strives to open up a new knowledge network. The centre aims to be an innovative part of the University of Groningen and is linked to the Rudolph Agricola School for Sustainable Development. BirdEyes, with empirical and inspirational roots in the farthest corners of the world.

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