In July 2022, Sudan announced the designation under the Ramsar Convention of a 9,500 km² wetland: the inner Delta of Khor Abu Habil. This recognition is the result of more than 10 years of international cooperation, led partly by the French biodiversity Agency (OFB).
Little known to biodiversity specialists before 2010, the inner delta of Khor Abu Habil is a vast Sahelian wetland visited by hundreds of thousands of migratory birds. This inner delta, located in the south of the Sahara Desert, is made up of hundreds of temporary pools that appear during flooding periods and then dry up, in the middle of sand dunes, acacia woods and an arid savanna crossed by nomadic breeders.
Identified by a Franco-Sudanese team in 2012, the site met all the criteria for eligibility under the Ramsar Convention. This convention is an international treaty adopted in 1971 that aims to halt the degradation or disappearance of wetlands by recognizing and reporting the ecological functions as well as the economic, cultural, scientific and recreational value of the world's most important wetlands. It is the oldest convention dedicated to biodiversity.
The initiative was the subject of consultations with the Sudanese National Ramsar Committee and representatives of the villages in the area. All of them expressed their support for the designation. After 10 years of close collaboration between the Wildlife Conservation General Administration (WCGA), the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources (HCENR), AAO/Birdlife Tunisia, the Sudanese Wildlife Society, Sinnar University, the Sudan Wildlife Research Center, the OFB and the Tour du Valat, Khor Abu Habil was officially designated as the fourth Ramsar site of the country on July 19, 2022 by the Sudanese government.
Within the framework of the RESSOURCE project, the joint Tour du Valat/OFB team has played a key role in this designation in cooperation with its Sudanese partners.
Indeed, OFB and Tour du Valat staff have especially been working in the field and in the administrations since 2012. This involved exploring the site, mapping its biodiversity, producing a zoning proposal and defending it before Sudanese national decision-makers, as well as supporting and leading local and national consultation.
"The protection of the inner delta of the Khor Abu Habil is a key moment in the conservation of intercontinental biodiversity linking Africa and Europe. This official recognition also illustrates the OFB's ability to federate different stakeholders, in France and internationally, in favor of nature protection."
Pierre Dubreuil, General Director of the OFB
The steps towards the designation of the Khor Abu Habil Inner Delta were filmed in December 2020 by two directors: Alizée Chiappini and Camille Barbé. This didactic video was co-financed by the François Sommer Foundation and the French Ministry of Ecological Transition.
For more information
See the Technical Support Unit for the AEWA African initiative on the Tour du Valat website