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. SCF is committed to maintaining this role.
The formation of the Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group (SSIG) is closely linked to SCF'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 SCF in 2004 that works alongside the SSIG.
SCF 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 SCF’s Science & Conservation Committee through its Chair, Pierre Comizzoli, develops the program, invitations, and contents of the meeting.
During a decade-long founding period, SCF 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.
19th SSIG Annual Meeting, Tunis, 30 April - 2 May 2019
SCF held the 19thSahelo-Saharan Interest Group (SSIG) meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, from 30 April – 2 May 2019 at the invitation of the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries.
The 100 participants comprised professionals from diverse backgrounds and various sectors including conservation NGOs, government agencies and departments, academic institutions, researchers and scientists all participated in the three-day meeting.
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