Tribute to Mohamed Younnis-A Driving Force in Marine Conservation for Sudan

October 19, 2016
147
Category: People

 

Brigadier Mohammed Younis was an exceptional individual dedicated to the conservation of the wealth of marine and terrestrial biodiversity in his home country of Sudan. He was the driving force and champion for the marine protected areas in Sudan, and led the process to get Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island National Park legally gazetted by the Government of Sudan, which he successfully achieved in 2004.

Mohammed Younis started his career working for the Wildlife Conservation General Administration (WCGA), the authority responsible for protected areas of Sudan, and rose up through the ranks to Brigadier. Mohammed was employed by the PERSGA Secretariat (The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden), on the World Bank Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded Strategic Action Programme (SAP) project, which ran between 1999 and 2004. Mohammed was the technical lead on Component 5 of the PERSGA SAP project and responsible for the “Development of Regional Network of Marine Protected Areas”. Under his guidance, the PERSGA SAP project prepared a regional master plan for the PERSGA MPA network, and supported the establishment of four high priority sites of regional and global conservation significance within the MPA network region. The project supported field surveys for the MPAs in Sudan (Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island National Park and Sanganeb Atoll Marine National Park), Djibouti (Iles Sept Freres and Godoria National Park), Yemen (Ras Belhaf) and Somalia (Sa’ad el Din Islands). Master plans were prepared for the MPAs which led to the legal gazetting of Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island National Park in 2004.

After finishing work on the PERSGA SAP project, Mohammed Younis returned to Sudan where he continued to work as a freelance consultant on projects to support the protected areas in Sudan and the wider region. Mohammed continued to support the establishment of Dungonab Bay and Mukkawar Island  National Park, attracting investment from the African Parks Foundation (APF) that constructed the WCGA headquarters in Mohammed Qol and purchased various equipment for the WCGA. He also worked closely with the Cousteau Society and supported a survey along the entire coast of Sudan in 2007 as well as the more recent sharks and rays project. Mohammed continued to travel widely throughout the region, he was an avid expert bird watcher.

Brigadier Mohammed Younis passed away on 13th April 2014,leaving behind his beloved family and daughter. Although he was not alive to witness the MPAs of Sudan being awarded international status as marine World Heritage site by UNESCO, which is the first in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden region, his legacy and memory lives on. He is still missed by all that knew him and had the pleasure of working with this truly extraordinary and inspiring man.

 

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