PILOT SITE ACTIVITIES
Based on the results of the scientific studies described in the previous sections, five pilot sites were selected, to implement activities on the ground in relation to the scientific results of the project. These pilot sites were suggested by representatives of the five project countries and selected at a Project Steering Committee meeting.
The following criteria were used for the selection of the pilot sites:
● Site joins across a national border to another site in an adjacent country
● Analysis of climate change impacts using project results indicates that the site has a high vulnerability to climate change
● Habitat connectivity analyses show some important gaps in this geographical area
● The use of tools developed by the project in a pilot situation is possible (e.g., revised METT)
● Synergies could be developed with other projects in the region, such as the MAVA project
● There is a lack of funding which is critically affecting the integrity of the pilot project area, but which could be solved with limited funding
● Countries are willing to engage in the pilot project, notably with the signature of management agreements and/or the development of joint management plans
● The proposed pilot area involves at least one of the additional project countries (i.e., Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast), if possible
The five selected pilot sites were:
1. Sena Oura National Park in Chad, with Boubba Ndjidda National Park in Cameroon
2. Gourma Elephant Reserve in Mali, with Sahel Partial Faunal Reserve in Burkina Faso
3. Niumi National Park in The Gambia, with Delta du Saloum National Park in Senegal
4. Gola Rainforest National Park in Sierra Leone, with Gola National Park in Liberia
5. Oti-Kéran-Mandouri (OKM) in Togo, with the WAP ('W', Arly, Pendjari) complex between Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger
The activities implemented at these pilot sites all aimed at gaining a better understanding of climate change and/or reducing its impacts on biodiversity. Notably, they included the following activities (or actions contributing to the achievement of these activities):
● The signature of a transboundary agreement between countries,
● A joint PA management plan integrating climate change considerations,
● The implementation of the revised METT,
● Recommendations for species monitoring, and
● Other relevant activities (awareness raising/development of alternative livelihoods for local communities, social vulnerability assessments, and reforestation schemes, among others)
These activities were led by the NLO of each project country, with the support of IUCN PACO. Details of the activities implemented and outputs for each pilot site are given in the sections below.
Sena Oura National Park (Chad) and Boubba Ndjidda (Cameroon)
1. Information and awareness raising meetings were held with the local communities living in and around the transboundary site regarding the existence of the transboundary complex, anthropogenic activities incompatible with biodiversity conservation, and the negative
effects of climate change.
2. A tree nursery for the complex at the life base of the Sena Oura National Park was created in order to restore the most degraded village areas.
3. Reforestation of degraded areas took place in rural sites in Chad and Cameroon in order to reduce pressures exerted by the communities on the protected areas.
4. A joint management plan was discussed and initiated for the transboundary area, through consultations between the two countries and with the assistance of a consultant, and the new METT was applied to both PAs.
These activities were designed with and coordinated by the NLO of Chad, Mr Brahim Hissein Dagga.
Niumi National Park (The Gambia) and Delta du Saloum National Park (Senegal)
1. An updated transboundary management plan integrating climate change aspects was developed, in collaboration with Wetlands International (which was involved in drafting the original plan prior to the integration of climate change).
2. Networking meetings between local communities and staff from both PAs took place in order to exchange experiences on monitoring programmes, climate change adaptation initiatives, and good practices on local community involvement initiatives in PA management.
3. A social vulnerability assessment of a community in the Delta du Saloum was carried out in collaboration with ENDA Energie, and adaptations action plans were developed.
4. The Niumi Biosphere Reserve management plan was reviewed and updated through
the establishment of a taskforce to review the plan, with the aim of submitting it to UNESCO.
These activities were designed with and coordinated by the NLOs of The Gambia, Mr Famara Drammeh and Mr Momodou Suwareh, with the assistance of Mr Omar Ceesay.
Gourma Elephant Reserve (Mali) and Sahel Partial Faunal Reserve (Burkina Faso)
1. The 'Agreement relative to the concerted management of shared natural resources
between Mali and Burkina Faso', including protected areas, was finalized and signed.
2. A roadmap for a transboundary management plan that takes into account climate change impacts was elaborated, in order to implement the agreement, and the new METT was applied to both protected areas.
3. Support for social mobilisation in Mali was provided within the framework of the implementation of the transboundary agreement, through the engagement of the Management Organisations for Conservation Areas, notably in order to secure both elephant migration routes and communities resources.
These activities were designed with and coordinated by the NLOs of Mali, Mrs Haidara Souhayata and Mr Zan Moussa Samaké.
Oti-Kéran-Mandouri (OKM) (Togo) and the WAP ('W', Arly, Pendjari) complex (Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger)
1. Water points were set up to provide a place to water livestock, especially for the dry season, thereby avoiding cattle using similar wildlife transboundary migration corridors. This is especially important in the context of climate change which is likely to reduce water resources. Local populations were also mentored to reduce pressures on PAs by promoting the adaptation of existing agricultural systems to climate change.
2. A spatial study of migration corridors between the OKM and WAP complexes was undertaken, with a special focus on large mammal species, including elephants, and on the links between OKM and the Pendjari National Park.
3. An ecological monitoring system was set up for large mammal species within the OKM-WAP corridor, including elephants, and the new METT was applied to both PAs.
4. A legal study, including a draft agreement, was undertaken for the future development of a transboundary management agreement between OKM and WAP complexes.
These activities were designed with and coordinated by the NLO of Togo, Mr Kotchikpa Okoumassou.