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Caretakers of the future

Updated Thursday, 12th May 2011

It was the belief of Cheikh Mamadou Abiboulaye Dieye's father that human beings are the caretakers of the future which influenced his decision to become an engineer, politician and mayor of St Louis, Senegal. He talks about how he is helping Senegal to adapt to environmental issues

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Cheikh Mamadou Abiboulaye Dieye
My name is Cheikh Mamadou Abiboulaye Dieye, more known in Senegal as Cheikh Bamba Dieye.  I'm a public works engineer, and at this moment I'm the Mayor of Saint Louis in Senegal.  As far as I can remember, it was in the context of my family and with my father that I was introduced to the problems relating to environment. 

He was a landscape architect who was interested in the management of your surroundings, of urban planning, of the value of the human being who is today involved as a caretaker of the future of the planet.  That’s what deeply influenced my attitude later, when I became an engineer and politician and Mayor of Saint Louis. 

As mayor, I'm working on developing a strategy to make Saint Louis resilient and give the population the means to adapt to the effects of climate change.  Today our work is to train and inform the citizens and create awareness for the city to be strong and better equipped to deal with the rise of the Senegal river as Saint Louis lies in a delta, and also to deal with rainwater, because we are extremely vulnerable to flooding, and to cope with the erosion of the coast.  Every day the sea eats away at a great part of the city. 

My work for next year, or for the next two years as long as I will be heading the local community as the Mayor of Saint Louis, will be to strengthen the work we have done to adapt to climate change, to make sure that environmental issues and the management of Saint Louis are the most efficient to allow the population to live in harmonious surroundings.  With a lot of green space and environmental policies, the strategic development and the contingency plans will be well known and developed enough to allow Saint Louis to resist and move on. 

Sometimes, frankly, I'm very pessimistic when I see the urgency and the threat looming over Saint Louis.  When I see the city flooded by water mixed with garbage, when I see the impact on the health of people, I'm sometimes very pessimistic almost to the point of being discouraged.  But it’s only at that moment that I tell myself that is where I belong.  I'm not here to feel sorry for myself, I have to find new energies to rejuvenate enough, to find the strength to go on, because for a million years man has worked to dominate nature, but today we have to collaborate with nature, we have to preserve the world and our children for a very long time.






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