Protected areas and transhumance: An impossible marriage?


SNV just lauched a 3-year project with financial support from the EU through the “Support Programme to the Parks of the Entente: Relationships between the populations and WAP complex conservation” for a total project value of €1.56 million. The European Commission has made it clear: the project is expected to be a lab for future strategies on conservation of protected areas. SNV and its partners are honoured to take up the challenge!

The project focuses on reducing the pressures applied by transhumance on WAP complex protected areas, reversing the current negative trend and improving its conservation. We are partnering with regional institutions (IUCN, Labo-Citoyennetés) and 2 municipalities from each country. Livestock farmers' associations and states' deconcentrated services will be also closely associated. The project kick-off meeting took place from September 24-27th in Fada N'Gourma (Eastern region of Burkina Faso) with 150 participants coming from the three  countries.

This project is noteworthy for several reasons:

  • It is a cross-border project: it will intervene in Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso (focal point country) as it covers Arly, Pendjari and W parks. As such, it targets around 250,000 direct beneficiaries.

  • It is a cross-sector project which interlinks agriculture and renewable energy (REDD+) activities (livestock management and transhumance, natural resources management, conflict reduction between transhumant herders and farmers, biodigesters promotion and construction, etc).

  • Municipalities are partners in this action, placing them in a position of active stakeholders and not beneficiaries of the project.

SNV and its partners will prove that (real) concertation between different levels and locations of stakeholders coupled with true benefits made from ecologically-respectful activities can have a tangible impact on cattle movements and the maintenance of transhumance corridors and thus highly contribute to the conservation of large cross-border protected areas.

WAP complex in a nutshell

The W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) protected area is a complex of national parks stretching across Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. It forms the largest and most important continuum of intact ecosystems in the West African savannah bel. The area is currently at risk from a number of threats including unsustainable practices by the local population seeking land for cultivation such as agricultural encroachment, uncontrolled bushfires, poaching, and also water pollution, climate change and unsustainable timber harvesting. The WAP regional project is designed to protect these fragile and valuable ecosystems by strengthening and harmonizing the political, institutional and community-based conservation structures in place.

Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger are members of a regional cooperation forum known as the “Council of the Entente”.