My name is Badreldin Adam Ahmed. I am a 31 year old wildlife researcher to conserve Sudan’s Dinder Biosphere Reserve. I grew up in the western part of Sudan in the state of South Darfur, where local wetlands encompass seasonal valleys, ponds, wells, lakes and pits. These wetlands are very valuable: as among the few sources of drinking water, water for livestock, and providing fuelwood, wild fruits and various fishes for local communities. These wetlands also have huge aesthetic value: attracting birds of all kinds in different seasons.

Having studied wildlife sciences at university, I was convinced of the necessity to preserve these wetlands as critical habitats for nature and essential water sources, especially in drought periods. These lands are extremely important for local populations as income sources and food from fish. They also contribute to Sudan’s economy through the tourism they attract. Now working as a research assistant at Sudan’s Wildlife Research Center, I have monitored the diversity and abundance of many species across Sudanese wetlands, such as the Jebel Awliya Reservoir, Tuti Island, Kennedy Lake, Khor Abu Habl, Nuba Lake and Red Sea coast. All these areas are considered valuable wetlands.

Located between the Ethiopian plateau and Sudan’s desert region, the Dinder Biosphere Reserve floods with water during flood seasons, feeding an extensive network of wetlands. These wetlands provide refuge, water and food for 250 species of bird, many of them migratory, as well as many amphibian and insect species. In particular the Reserve’s oxbow lakes, known locally as ‘mayas’ are important sites for fish, amphibians and insects to breed after the flood season – and provide fresh water for wildlife and local communities. Like other wetlands, the Dinder Biosphere reserve is critically important to local communities with huge cultural heritage, providing fresh water and food, protecting an abundance of biodiversity and supporting sustainable development through tourism and income generation.

As a member of Sudan’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Youth Forum (created in 2018), I work to raise awareness of the importance of protecting habitats in Sudan’s Biosphere reserves. During my work, I have become ambitious to preserve the wetland habitats. I was encouraged by my Advisor Dr. Salwa M. Abdelhameed, the National CEPA Focal Point, to initiate a Wetland Youth Forum in Sudan to share experience and knowledge about our wetlands in different regions. We strive to promote sustainable preservation and management of wetlands through research, awareness and guidance programs and the use of social media to reach a large number of people and educate communities about wetlands’ importance.

As youth, we wish a happy International Youth Day and a successful Fifty Anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, and we raise our voice high on the need to preserve and protect these areas from deterioration and encroachment, and find support to implement our plans towards sustainable development of our communities.