OKKPS: first steering committee meeting takes place for creation of new national park
The process to create the future Pinselli Soyah-Sabouyah (PSS) national park is on course and activities are underway to realise the decree signed in 2022 by Guinea’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Madame Louopou Lamah, with support from the European Union-funded Programme for the Preservation of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa (PAPFor).
A first steering committee to discuss matters relating to the future national park was held in Kindia on 4 April 2023. In attendance were members from the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD), the Guinean Office of National Parks and Wildlife Reserves (OGPNRF), Guinean Agency for Environmental Assessments (AGEE), Strategy and Development Office (BSD), National Direction of Forests and Fauna (DNFF), Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF) and local communities as well as 8 guests including representatives from Sierra Leone’s National Protected Area Authority (NPAA) and Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (TCS). The steering committee meeting was organised as part of PAPFor’s activities to support the management and conservation of the Outamba-Kilimi-Kuru Hills-Pinselli-Soyah (OKKPS) transboundary landscape, on the border of Guinea and Sierra Leone. During the meeting, the two decrees establishing the appointment of committee members were presented. The steering committee meeting is an opportunity for participants to discover the first version of the Management Plan (PAG) of the OKKPSS (with Sabouyah) transboundary landscape to which they will have to contribute by making necessary amendments.
The steering committee meetings will enable the Guinean and Sierra Leonean authorities to raise various topics such as the status of the framework agreement between their respective parks authorities (the OGPNRF and NPAA). In addition, they will look into the establishment of a landscape-wide steering committee, and review the legal differences between the two countries for the creation of such a structure for the successful protection and management of the OKKPSS.
At the end of the meeting, participants made several recommendations for the effective management and implementation of projects within the landscape. Amongst the listed recommendations were (i) to make available existing complaint and grievance mechanisms in Guinea for study and optimisation by the committee, (ii) for participants to read the OKKPSS management plan and propose amendments, (iii) to involve a representative of the commune of Ouré Kaba, and (iv) to report on the work of the steering committee to the communes concerned.