The 16 Member States of the West African subregion have launched two programmes to protect biodiversity and transboundary protected areas. Placed under the coordination of WAEMU, these projects are financed by the European Union to the tune of more than 74 million euros.
On July 25, 2019, the Ministers of Environment of the Member States of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as Mauritania, officially launched the Programme to Support the Conservation of Biodiversity and Fragile Ecosystems, Environmental Governance and Climate Change in West Africa (PAPbio) and the Programme to Support the Conservation of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa (PAPfor).
The kick-off ceremony was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, under the chairmanship of Batio Nestor Bassière, Minister of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change of Burkina Faso, representing the President of the WAEMU Council of Ministers of the Environment on that event. “Our present meeting, which is the first of its kind, comes at a time when voices are being raised to draw the international community’s attention to the multiple and diverse attacks on the protected areas system, with consequences that threaten the future of our protected areas, and even the existence of the populations living along them,” said Batio Nestor Bassière.
Jonas Gbian, the Commissioner in charge of the WAEMU Department of Agriculture, Water Resources and Environment, said that the establishment of the two programmes in their regional dimension made it possible to consolidate the achievements of previous programmes, while also reflecting both the willingness of the beneficiary States to meet environmental challenges and their commitments under the multilateral environmental agreements. He also expressed the gratitude of the West African States to the European Union, which supports them through these two programmes in their efforts to preserve their natural resource capital.
74 million in funding from the EU
The coordination of the Papbio and Papfor has been assigned to the WAEMU, based on its experience in environmental protection programmes. The selected projects will be financed by the European Union to the tune of more than 74 million euros, representing approximately 42 billion CFA francs, to be paid over a period of five years.
In the wake of the launch of these programmes, the environment ministers of the 16 West African countries promised to ensure the effective implementation of the Papbio and Papfor Programmes, in synergy with the co-existing programmes under way in the West African region. They will also ensure admissibility vis-à-vis intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) and the national administrations concerned, in order to ensure transparency, monitoring of the implementation of actions and their consistency with the regional policies and strategies of the WAEMU and ECOWAS Commissions and their Member States.
With regard to the European Union, the ministers promised to respect the commitments made under the Papbio and Papfor programmes.