A woman standing next to the flag of Ghana.
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My first CoP Experience

Sep 04, 2019
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My name is Mercy Koomson, a Wildlife Manager at the Kotoka International Airport in Ghana, and a graduate of the 2018/2019 Master’s Program in Management and Conservation of Species in Trade, at the University of Andalucia. As one of the 34 graduates from the 2018/2019 edition of the ‘CITES Masters’ program’ in Spain, the 18th…

A large number of people in a conference room.
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My First CITES CoP Experience: The Realities of Decision Making

Sep 04, 2019
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The 18th Conference of the Parties for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has just ended in Geneva Switzerland at the Palexpo international conference centre. The events took place from August 17th to the 28th and it was an incredible experience. CITES is a global agreement that…

A large hall with people seated.
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My first ever CITES CoP as a Communicator, an Environmentalist, and a West African.

Sep 03, 2019
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In Robert Cialdini’s (Ph.D) book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, he explains the power of reciprocation in advocacy, and brings the common saying, “One good deed deserves another” to life. He gives powerful examples of how people feel obliged to return a favor. Since reading this book about four years ago, I have used some…

A group of people posing for a photograph.
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Building Global Expertise: Celebrating the Successes of the ‘CITES Master’s Program’

Sep 01, 2019
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“The world needs a dedicated network of experienced, knowledgeable and educated people to share their diverse views and negotiation skills to bring about positive outcomes for the world and for conservation” remarked Pamela Scruggs of the US Fish and Wildlife Service during a CITES CoP 18 side-event celebrating the success of the CITES Master’s degree…

A youth in Gbongboma and the WA BiCC Community Animator in the region monitoring the growth of the mangrove seedlings in their restored site.
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Mangrove Restoration Training Motivates a Sierra Leone Coastal Community to Expand its Restoration Efforts

Aug 26, 2019
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As rising sea levels threaten West Africa’s coasts, communities large and small are looking to mangrove restoration as an essential protective measure. However, getting a mangrove nursery off the ground requires three to six months of dedicated community inputs including time and labor, and finding sufficient time and energy can be a struggle given other…

Figure 1 One of the mangrove restoration sites of Mosam Community, Yawri Bay, Southern Sierra
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The Importance of Strong Local Leadership: Two Community Icons Push for Participation in Mangrove Restoration Project

Aug 26, 2019
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In a small fishing community in Sierra Leone, Ibrahim Mansary and Saidu Kamara had a mission to complete. The Chairman (Ibrahim) and Secretary (Saidu) of the Mosam community’s Mangrove Restoration Committee were keen to re-stimulate a neglected effort to establish a mangrove nursery, an idea introduced by the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA…

A picture of a man in a chimpanzee costume.
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Our Biodiversity, Our Future: Liberia Marks World Biodiversity Day 2019 to Draw Attention to the Threat of Illegal Wildlife Trade

May 22, 2019
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Liberia is on track to losing significant populations of its wildlife and stands a risk of having some of its critically endangered species being completely wiped out in ten years if no action is taken. Mama Liberia is blessed with the largest remaining portion (42%) of the Upper Guinea rainforest; a forest that runs through…

A man delivering a speech at the podium.
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The Abidjan Convention Strategic Role in Ocean Governance

May 22, 2019
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A key principle of the USAID-funded West Africa Biodiversity Conservation (WA BiCC) Program is to work in partnership with regional partner institutions to strengthen and enhance their capacity. This is to most effectively address those environmental issues that underpin their core mandates. The support provided through these partnerships is mutual, as it also enhances WA…

Men training women in the forest
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The Training of Female Community Ecoguards Boosts Protection of Liberia’s National Parks

May 22, 2019
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All over the world, women are excelling in roles that were previously reserved for men. Living proof of this paradigm shift can be found in Liberia, where more and more women are training to be Community Ecoguards, a position that has since been perceived as male-dominated at Grebo-Krahn National Park. The active participation of women…

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Community Forestry Brings Opportunity to Disadvantaged Farmers, Increases Income

Mar 19, 2019
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In rural Sierra Leone, 60-year-old Vandi Sama sits on a stool and patiently weaves together the skin-like bark of a rattan stem. Although he has already harvested the poles, steamed them to shape a chair frame and separated the plants’ various parts based on how they can be used, it might be another whole day…