See link for photo.
Last Monday and Tuesday, the Grand Hotel de Bamako hosted the workshop on the future of the Anti-Poaching Brigade of elephants in the Gourma.
The opening of this workshop was co-chaired by the Minister of Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development, Modibo Koné and his Defence counterpart, Colonel Sadio Camara, in the presence of Susan Canney, Director of Wild Foundation’s Mali Elephant Project, as well as representatives of the Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs).
Wild Foundation’s Elephants of Mali (PEM-WF) project has empowered local communities to develop an approach to elephant conservation that also enables them to sustain themselves, provide jobs for youth and improve social cohesion, thus strengthening existing positive attitudes towards elephants.
It turns out that community work also helps to combat the main drivers of violent extremism, namely unemployment, poverty and economic hardship, coupled with a lack of trust in the state and security forces to deliver justice and ensure protection.
It has (since 2009) developed several activities in the Gourma region including: the development of the capacities of local communities in the local governance of natural resources in general, and of elephants and their habitat, in particular; the strengthening of cooperation between local populations, local elected representatives, the administration and the technical services of the State; the construction of pastoral water infrastructure; the equipment of forestry officers and local surveillance brigades in logistical means (motorcycles) and communication, etc.
According to the explanations of the initiators of the project, this workshop represents the next step in the process of transition of the management of the Anti-Poaching Brigade (BAB) in the governance structures of the Malian State.
This project generally aims to mobilize stakeholders to promote a coordinated and urgent response to the challenges of elephant poaching and enforcement of the gourma reserve legislation.
Specifically, share information and raise awareness of bab’s mission and activities, as well as the progress made to date; discuss and improve a proposal for a plan to integrate the management of the BAB into the governance structures of the Malian State; identify the support needs of the relevant government agencies and services, i.e. – say what is needed to prevent poaching; allow a reflection on how these government agencies and services will succeed in supporting the mission and operations of the BAB; develop an action plan for the implementation of the legislation in the future Gourma-Biosphere Reserve; assign a mixed company solely dedicated to the brigade to combat elephant poaching in the Gourma; take practical and operational steps to make the productive natural resource base sustainable and resilient, including the safeguarding of the elephant herd.
For Susan Canney, director of Wild Foundation’s Elephants of Mali project, the people of Gourma have understood that the disappearance of elephants is a disaster for the ecosystem.