Coastal Communities in Sierra Leone Make Strides to Protect and Restore Their Mangroves

Coastal Communities in Sierra Leone Make Strides to Protect and Restore Their Mangroves
July 2, 2019 4:19 pm News

The Sherbro River Estuary is one of four Sierra Leone coastal regions that was declared a Marine Protected Area in March 2012, recognizing the value of mangrove forests as critical to the success of the fisheries sector in the country. While this decision was a major step in the right direction, ongoing unsustainable practices and threats, including climate change, continue to undermine the sustainability of the livelihoods of the local communities and the mangrove forests. To realize the protection of the Sherbro River Estuary and preserve its biodiversity and the associated benefits, stakeholders gathered to develop a Mangrove Conservation Plan for the Estuary.

At a one-day workshop held in March 2019, local councils, paramount chiefs, ministers, and other stakeholders discussed the opportunities and challenges of developing and implementing a plan, and the prospect of the wetland area becoming a Ramsar site, a wetland site of significant importance to plants, animals, and humans that is protected under the Ramsar Convention. The workshop was hosted by WA BiCC and the National Protected Areas Authority and brought together over 200 participants to share opinions and give consent on future decisions related to the Estuary. Local councils, paramount chiefs, and community leaders from 26 communities attended, as well as representatives from ministries, departments, and agencies and NGOs.

A room filled with community members listening to a presentation by Ms. Yatta Kamara, the Wetlands Manager of NPAA
Participants listening to a presentation on the ecosystem of the Sherbro River Estuary by Ms. Yatta Kamara, the Wetlands Manager of NPAA.


As a result of the workshop, all the eight paramount chiefs present pledged their support for the development of the Mangrove Conservation Plan and promised to enforce the anticipated bylaws that will come with the plan for protecting the Estuary. The paramount chief of the Sittia Chiefdom, Thomas J K S Koroma III, called on WA BiCC to extend the mangrove restoration activity into his chiefdom as water is taking over some of his communities.

Similarly, the Paramount Chief Kaba-Kaba Tucker of Nongoba Bullom Chiefdom, who also serves as the Chairman of Council of Paramount Chiefs Bonthe District, emphasized the need for the establishment of a strong communication network to report crimes committed in the Estuary.

A man making holding a microphone and making a speech while seated.
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Hon. Joseph Ndanema speaking at the meeting.


When completed, this Mangrove Conservation Plan will encompass the needs and interests of local communities, councils and the national government of Sierra Leone. The plan is anticipated to support the government of Sierra Leone in its efforts to increase coastal resilience in one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change.


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