The Center for African Wetlands (CAW) was established in 2000 as a sub-regional initiative with a mission to contribute to the preservation of the global, sub-regional, national and local values of wetlands for:
- the benefit of society as a whole,
- improving the quality of life for people living within and around wetlands,
- maintaining wetland bio diversity and enhancing the general ecological integrity of wetlands
In order to attain this mission and improve the management of West African wetlands, the Center works to ensure the availability of sound and up-to-date scientific information as well as local and regional expertise.
The Center’s focus is guided also by the recognition of wetlands as valuable and multi-faceted assets that must be managed effectively to ensure sustainability. The Center’s mandate therefore, is to promote sustainable wetland management through research (ecological, socioeconomic and policy), capacity building, information dissemination, networking, advocacy and policy support.
The Center is hosted by the University of Ghana, but covers 12 West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, and Senegal) and therefore places high emphasis on facilitating networking, collaboration and partnerships among wetland scientists and managers in the sub-region. Apart from the contact persons in the CAW focal countries, the Center has established partnerships with a number of institutions in Europe.
Currently, the Center’s program focuses on six main areas, namely:
- Training and capacity development (wetland research and management planning, water resources management, water and sanitation issues);
- Wetland Inventory and Classification (mapping, hydrology and bio diversity);
- Long term wetland assessment and monitoring (focusing on ecological character, indicators and wetland values);
- Climate Change (impacts, adaptation & mitigation);
- Pollution/Degradation (biological & chemical pollutants, invasive and exotic plant species, Watersheds degradation; wetlands and health); and
- Conservation and Utilization (local livelihoods; eco tourism; traditional knowledge systems, wetland laws and policy).