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BLISS Initiative : High-Level Round Table recommends investments to safeguard Sahelian wetlands

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  • Climate and disaster risks

BLiSS Initiative partners are present at the COP27 to continue our efforts on mobilising stakeholders to safeguard and restore wetlands across the Sahel, enhancing the resilience of millions of people to climate risk, poverty, conflict and displacement while benefiting biodiversity.

Blue Lifelines for a Secure Sahel (BLiSS) is a transformative initiative that will bring focus on water management and accelerate the safeguarding, restoration and sustainable use of the region’s wetland ecosystems, including rivers, lakes, floodplains and deltas.

The BLiSS Initiative has asked attention for the safeguarding and restoring of wetlands at multiple occasions in the past years. The main event has been the hope for peace, stability, and sustainable development in the Sahel High-Level Round Table meeting that took place from July 19 to 21, 2022.
See: High-level Round Table between Wetlands International & its Partners in the Sahel – Wetlands International.

The round table was a culmination of previous initiatives organized by the BLiSS partners, which include events at the International Climate Adaptation Summit in January 2021,  the Africa Climate week in September 2021, and the World Water Forum in Dakar in March 2022. Through these events, BLiSS partners engaged key stakeholders in discussing how restoring wetlands contributes to making Sahelian communities more secure and resilient to climate change and conflict.

BLiSS is a long-term initiative, driven by a unique consortium of international and African partners with decades of experience, regional presence, complementary knowledge and expertise relevant to water management, wetland ecosystems, resilience and peace-building. The core partners are Wetlands International, CARE, International Alert and the International Water Management Institute. Together, we are building a wider alliance in the region of government agencies, private sector and civil society organisations to catalyse change and achieve ambitious goals and long-term impact. For more information visit the website of Wetlands International, where you can also find the BLiSS Strategy (EN/FR)

The High-level Round Table between Wetlands International & its Partners in the Sahel in July 2022 resulted in clear political endorsement for the Wetlands International Sahel Regional Strategy and Priority Action Plan 2020-2030 aligned on the BLiSS Initiative. Also the participants of the High-Level Round Table discussed on priority actions and next steps needed. These priority actions and next steps will support all stakeholders and the BLiSS Initiative to move forward in the coming future to safeguard wetlands and enhance the resilience of people across the Sahel. They are presented below in the Final Communique of the Round Table.

High-Level Round Table – Sahelian Wetlands
(Bamako, Mali, 19,20 21 July 2022)

The High-Level Round Table on Wetlands in the Sahel, was held on July 19, 20 and 21, 2022 at the Radisson Collection Hotel in Bamako, Mali, under the theme “Wetlands, hope for peace, stability and sustainable development in the Sahel”, under the chairmanship of the Minister of Mining, Energy and Water of Mali.

About a hundred participants participated in this Round Table, including members of the Government of Mali, representatives of the Ministry of Energy, Hydraulics and Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Guinea, basin organizations, diplomatic representations, technical and financial partners, state technical services, NGO representatives, community representatives, civil society organizations and the media.

At the end of the Round Table, the participants adopted the following conclusions, recommendations and roadmap:

Under the themes “Peace and Security”, “Biodiversity”, “Cooperation, Dialogue and Governance”, “Livelihoods” and “IWRM” 24 priority actions to be implemented by 2030 have been selected:

  1. Promote the consideration of IWRM in sectoral policies
  2. Strengthen organizational capacities in the prevention and management of conflicts over natural resources
  3. Capitalize on successful conflict resolution and prevention experiences
  4. Harmonize traditional laws and national legislations in the management of local conflicts
  5. Strengthen the partnership with consultation frameworks for peace and security
  6. Strengthen the organizational, technical and management capacities of actors involved in biodiversity management
  7. Safeguard and restore degraded ecosystems
  8. Promote the application of texts and conventions relating to the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems at all levels (communities, technical services, etc.)
  9. Protect the flyways of birds and fishes
  10. Promote agricultural systems that respect the environment
  11. Establish a consultation framework between the countries of the Sahel in order to support basin organizations in their missions
  12. Support joint measurement of water quality within basins
  13. Support the carrying out of environmental impact studies
  14. Contribute to the implementation of support measures for communities affected by the construction of major hydraulic structures
  15. Promote IWRM consultation and implementation frameworks
  16. Promote alternative income-generating activities for the benefit of local communities (beekeeping, aquaculture, market gardening, organic manure, fattening, poultry farming, etc.)
  17. Promote agroecology/nature-based solutions
  18. Raise awareness and communicate about climate change
  19. Strengthen advocacy for the mobilization of technical and financial resources
  20. Strengthen the capacities of water laboratories
  21. Establish water quality monitoring networks
  22. Quantify water needs for all user groups
  23. Support the Niger Basin Authority to operationalize the monitoring network of quantitative and qualitative water as well as solid flows
  24. Share and operationalize decision support tools (e-flow, OPDIN, scenarios, etc.) for water resource management, taking into account existing Niger Basin Authority tools/processes

Several complementary actions or actions that could be the subject of synergy of actions between Wetlands International Sahel and the other partners have also been identified.

General recommendations

  1. Adopt a basin approach in the formulation of programs (e.g. Niger Basin, Volta Basin, Senegal River Basin);
  2. Broaden the dialogue to all basin organizations in the Sahel;
  3. Involve the CNU/CRU, the CWP/GWP-WA and the network of journalists in the formulation of projects
  4. Pursue the dialogue for the exchange of experiences between basin organizations;
  5. Mid-term review of the Wetlands International Sahel strategy in 2025;
  6. Set up joint programs between the basin organizations of the Sahel and Wetlands International


  1. Sharing of the final roundtable report to all stakeholders within one month
  2. First roundtable follow-up meeting
  3. Further process (incl. deadlines) will be determined during the first follow-up meeting