UNESCO World Heritage Saloum Delta: Creating Alternative Sources of Income

With funding from the #SOSAfricanHeritage special support programme, the national park management in the Saloum Delta World Heritage Site strengthened both nature conservation and health care, and created alternative sources of income.

The programme

The aim of #SOSAfricanHeritage is to contribute to preserving independent and sustainable organisational structures at African World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves with the participation of civil society as well as to secure spaces dedicated to education for global citizenship, sustainability and cultural diversity.

All 22 projects

The cultural landscape of the Saloum Delta UNESCO World Heritage Site includes brackish water channels, mangrove and dry forest, and Atlantic marine biology. The 5,000 km2 area formed by the arms of three rivers yields fish and shellfish for the population in its vicinity. Today, the site is still characterised by 218 manmade shell mounds that have been created over the centuries, some of which are several hundred metres long. Burial sites provide information about the cultures from different periods of the Delta's occupation and bear witness to the history of human settlement along the coast of West Africa.

Restrictions due to the pandemic

Senegal has mobilised resources to combat COVID-19, which have had a negative impacts on the finances of nature conservation and tourism. The Saloum Delta National Park is also affected by this budget cut. Due to the park being closed to tourists, the local population's sources of income are limited. At the same time, the cost of maintaining activities in the park while keeping physical distance is increasing. As a consequence, volunteers from the communities have stopped supporting the rangers in their activities such as monitoring, awareness raising, environmental education, and scientific research. At the same time, poaching is on the rise due to the lack of monitoring.

Remedy through new technology and health protection

In order to maintain the protection of the cultural landscape while safeguarding the economic livelihoods of the local population, the national park invested #SOSAfricanHeritage funding in monitoring, guard patrols and technical equipment. It also supported the local population in using alternative sources of income by providing agricultural inputs and equipment.

The national park equipped the local health clinic with hygiene products to better protect people from COVID-19. In addition, it carried out targeted information campaigns, which, for example, sensitized schoolchildren and young people, students, teachers, or residents working in fishing or oyster farming about the pressure of use in the park and conservation measures.

The consortium

On the initiative of the Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, an International Relief Fund was set up in summer 2020 to provide rapid support to cultural and educational organisations abroad during the COVID-19-pandemic. With its special support programme #SOSAfricanHeritage, the German Commission for UNESCO is part of the Relief Fund consortium.

The International Relief Fund

The project

  • Site: Saloum Delta
  • Country: Senegal
  • Type of Site: UNESCO World Heritage (cultural heritage)
  • Year of inscription: 2013


Website of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre

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