Sahel & Sahara Interest Group (SSIG)

Once a year the Sahara Conservation gathers together approximately 100 individuals who are interested in the conservation of Sahelo-Saharan species and landscapes.

A Unique Forum

The Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group (SSIG) defines itself as a group of “like-minded individuals and institutions” interested in sharing knowledge and encouraging conservation action in the Sahara.

Although it is not formal membership organization, SSIG plays a unique role as a forum for people to meet, network, share information and build strong partnerships for Sahelo-Saharan conservation through its annual meeting. Sahara Conservation is committed to maintaining this role.

Scientists and field conservationists

Officials and decision-makers

Students and public

The formation of the Sahel & Sahara Interest Group (SSIG) is closely linked to Sahara Conservation's story. In 2000, 20 participants from the 1998 Djerba meeting participated in a workshop at Marwell Zoo (UK). This workshop explored ways of supporting the CMS action plan for the conservation of six endangered Sahelo-Saharan antelopes including addax, scimitar-horned oryx, dama, dorcas, slender-horned and Cuvier’s gazelles.

One direct outcome of the Marwell workshop was the creation of SSIG. From 2001 to 2005, SSIG’s partners funded and implemented a number of wildlife surveys in Chad, Niger and Algeria. During these years it became clear there was a need for a dedicated organization with appropriate legal status to spearhead these conservation efforts. This resulted in the creation of Sahara Conservation in 2004 that works alongside the SSIG.

Sahara Conservation has continued to grow over the years and convene annual conservation and science symposiums as a means of building partnerships and sharing knowledge about Sahelo-Saharan wildlife conservation.

Over the years, SSIG has evolved and grown into a professional networking entity through its annual meetings. Each meeting is organized in partnership with the host country and representatives of its environment or wildlife authorities.

The in-country partner is responsible for logistical aspects while Sahara Conservation and the Program Committee develop the program, invitations, and contents of the meeting.

The meetings have been held annually in :

  • Hampshire, United Kingdom (2000)
  • Almería, Spain (2001)
  • Bratislava, Slovakia (2002)
  • Agadir, Morocco (2003)
  • Souss, Tunisia (2004)
  • La Haute Touche, France (2005)
  • Douz, Tunisia (2006)
  • Hanover, Germany (2007)
  • Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (2008)
  • Hampshire, United Kingdom (2009)
  • Algiers, Algeria (2010)
  • Almeria, Spain (2011)
  • London, United Kingdom (2012)
  • Agadir, Morocco (2013)
  • Porto, Portugal (2014)
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE (2015)
  • Barcelona, Spain (2016)
  • Saint-Louis, Senegal (2017)
  • Paris, France (2018)
  • Tunis, Tunisia (2019)
  • Cancelled due to Covid 19 (2020)
  • Online (2021 & 2022)
  • Almería, Spain (2023)

During a decade-long founding period, Sahara Conservation has put Saharan wildlife clearly on the conservation map. Along the way, local relationships have been established, political backing and goodwill generated, partnerships created, critical conservation data collected, and some impressive protected areas results achieved.

Through these meetings, SSIG has served as a catalyst for these achievements, and generated momentum towards the conservation of Sahara and Sahel’s biodiversity. Every year, new collaborations are forged, and existing partnerships reinforced through these meetings. The meeting format includes a species-focused workshop, formal presentations and informal discussions that provide a complete picture of the ongoing conservation initiatives and activities in this region of the world, which is invaluable added value for any conservationist and decision-maker who is dedicated to saving wildlife.

2024 SSIG meeting in Agadir, Morocco

Thank you all for joining the 2024 meeting of the Sahel & Sahara Interest Group in Agadir, Morocco.

The proceedings are now available!

Organising and sponsoring entity

Latest Edition

22nd SSIG Meeting, Almeria, Spain, 4 & 5 May 2023