TIWAI ISLAND CO-MANAGEMENT PLAN

Here are documents describing the co-management plan for Tiwai Island.:

The Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, is a tropical forest island situated in the Moa River in south-eastern Sierra Leone. It was first designated, by the Government of Sierra Leone, as a Game Sanctuary in 1987 and in 1990, its first management was developed. The plan was developed under auspices of the Tiwai Island Administrative Committee (TIAC) and was underpinned by the scientific and socio-economic significance of the island.

The management objectives and priorities were identified in close consultation with authorities and all associated communities in Barri and Koya Chiefdoms. An important feature of Tiwai Islands first Management Plan was zoning of the island to designate separate areas for scientific research, ecotourism and community use. Sadly, civil war broke out in 1991, preventing full implementation of the Plan and causing abandonment of the Tiwai Island conservation program for nearly a decade. With the leadership and support of the Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA) arriving on the scene in March 2000, and partnering with Njala University’s Department of Biological Sciences, considerable efforts have been made by a range of actors, [notably the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (USA), National Committee of IUCN Netherlands, Irish Aid], to restore the islands’s infrastructure and re-engage the host communities and their leaders, to join forces in assuring the continued status of Sanctuary as a credible destination ecotourism and scientific research.

Over the years, expectations have remained unrealistically high among the host communities, that revenue generated from the Island will contribute substantively to supporting livelihoods and development priorities in the eight village communities surrounding the Island. On a number of occasions during the past few years, there have been isolated cases of community groups and individuals conducting illegal activities on the island—including mining and poaching. In efforts to raise the international profile of Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary, EFA in 2012, partnered with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the ERM Foundation (UK) to develop and submit an application to the World Heritage Secretariat, to grant Tiwai Island World Heritage Site Status. The efforts were partially successful, as Tiwai was included in the Tentative List of World heritage Sites.

Against this backdrop, EFA in 2019, secured funds from the West African Biodiversity and Climate Change Project, through the Royal Society for the Protection Birds, to develop a new Management Plan for the next decade (2020-2030) that reflects a collective vision for Tiwai Island and with ownership by all stakeholders involved. The new Management Plan reflects the changed circumstances on Tiwai Island and the rest of Sierra Leone, since the first plan was produced in 1990. The new Management Plan is the guiding instrument that will assist the Tiwai Island Administrative Committee (the governing body of the Sanctuary) to respond swiftly and decisively to all of the management With nearly three decades since a draft management plan was developed, much has been learnt about approaches for stakeholder engagement in protected area management planning. More specifically, the nearly two decades of EFA’s engagement with Tiwai communities has generated considerable experiences and lessons that should inform an appropriate approach to management planning. While the conservation literature provides many guidelines and tools for management planning, the unique circumstances surrounding Tiwai warrants an adaptive approach that is centered around the role and ownership of local communities.

Evidence from elsewhere around the world suggests that local community empowerment for participation in the protected area management and decision-making processes is the most important factor in ensuring compliance with policies. Hence greater inclusion of local communities in the management of Tiwai is an imperative for long-term sustainability of the Wildlife Sanctuary.

The new Management Plan reflects a clear acknowledgement of this role as a starting point. Also the Plan has incorporated standard expectations, including the following: Improvement in management of the protected area, as decisions are based on a clear understanding of the protected area; Providing guidance to managers Assuring continuity for management Helping to track and report on challenges and successes Helping to justify funding requests and budgeting for the protected area Improving the allocation of financial and staff resources to priority objectives and activities Increasing accountability Improving communication, especially with potential clients and stakeholders. Lastly, with the new management plan in hand, EFA is once again partnering with the ERM Foundation to submit an application for full WHS status by 2022.