The rural territories of the Mé regions, the Mont Tingui biodiversity zone in Côte d’Ivoire, and the Pô-Nazinga-Sissili (or PoNaSi) ecological complex in Burkina Faso are subject to growing human pressures. The resulting forest loss and degradation threaten the health of their critical ecosystems. In fact, the very future of the communities that are dependent on the forest for their food, energy and income is at risk.
For these reasons, the project supported by the FFEM in partnership with the NITIDAE association and the European Union aims to consolidate the “landscape” approach already implemented in these 3 protected areas and surrounding zones. This will involve formalising the tools necessary for the emergence of zero deforestation approaches, reconciling sustainable development with the preservation of natural resources.
The project comprises 4 areas of intervention:
- Consolidating concerted regional planning that addresses the challenges of biodiversity conservation, while targeting the emergence of structured dialogue and bringing concrete answers to the key land issues.
- Reinforcing the management of protected areas and developing innovative methods for the monitoring and surveillance of biodiversity in the landscapes concerned.
- Involving the producers and stakeholders within the agricultural sectors in the project landscapes through a global and critiquing approach aimed at promoting agriculture without deforestation.
- Measuring the project’s environmental impact and constructing a “Zero deforestation territory” reference model to replicate the proposed approaches.
Following the launch of the project on the protected areas of Mount Tingui in Côte d’Ivoire, and the Pô-Nazinga-Sissili (or PoNaSi) ecological complex in Burkina Faso, in late 2021 activities began on the 3rd protected area of the Mé region, targeting conservation and development around the nature reserve at Mabi-Yaya, managed by the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (OIPR - Office Ivoirien des Parcs et Réserves), a partner of the NITIDAE association. These actions build on the Mé REDD+ Project (PRM) supported by the French Development Agency (AFD) between 2016 and 2020.
The initial results on this last protected area are promising across all areas of intervention.
As part of the process to consolidate concerted regional planning, a participatory process with the residents has allowed 7 local development plans to be approved with 12 identified action areas, including education, agriculture, hygiene & health, roads & transport and the environment.
I’d like to thank the French NGO NITIDAE for having supported us in the development and finalisation of the LDP (local development plan) for Bassadzin. Not only does it allow current and future generations to learn the history of the village, but it also enables us to uncover the strengths of our village, to identify the difficulties facing us, what we need, and to look for solutions while following a programme. This LDP is for us a benchmark, a guide that will lead us in the economic, social and cultural development of our village with the help of our partners.
says Nanan "N'CHO N'cho Armel "Katako", the 61-year old chief of Bassadzin village and a retired teacher.
In each of the 7 villages concerned, 10 priority development projects have also been proposed, such as the construction of a health centre in M’Bohoin village, the building of a solar-powered water tank in Arounankro and the construction and fitting-out of 3 primary schools in Danguira. Looking ahead to 2032, the village assembly aspires for Danguira to be “a dynamic agricultural and forestry hub for the Mé region, and an example of social cohesion and sustainable progress.”
Helping agricultural producers innovate and diversify through the rehabilitation of old cocoa growing areas is also encouraging, with the first 47 plots being rehabilitated in 2022 of which 7 are women-owned. In 2023, 80 more plots are undergoing rehabilitation of which 11 are women-owned, each with one hectare for as many beneficiaries.
Reforestation is also underway, with 8 hectares completed in 2022 and 22 hectares identified for 2023. In addition, 40 community safekeepers have been trained in order to raise awareness across all communities and to locally control illegal practices, while encouraging new eco-responsible approaches.
As of today, experts in remote sensing from the NITIDAE organisation have also been able to arrange and lead 2 training sessions to boost the capabilities of OIPR staff, more specifically those working in the Mabi-Yaya Nature Reserve. The challenge is to provide more autonomous and effective surveillance of the Reserve’s territory, and so contribute to the preservation of the Reserve’s biodiversity.
These initial results demonstrate the relevance of the audacious and innovative decision to move from a sector-driven approach to a landscape approach to help combat deforestation within a territory.
The next stages are also all ambitious, with the implementation of an infrastructure project for the village, the development of income-generating activities, and further cocoa plot rehabilitation with novel planting, such as co-planting of two crops, cocoa and rubber. Reforestation will also be accelerated with the implementation of new partnerships with the private sector.