WASHINGTON, March 29, 2011. The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank today approved a US$6.9 million grant (approximately CFAF 3.4 billion) for the Republic of Benin, to assist with the implementation of the Support to the Protected Areas Management Project (PAGAP).
PAGAP seeks to enhance the protection of the biodiversity in the Northern Benin Savanna Ecosystems through the implementation of conservation measures and the reduction of human pressure on the national parks. The project also aims to ensure the sustainability of the protected area systems and expand the land-based protected area networks.
PAGAP supports the efforts of the Beninese Government to (i) ensure the continuity of biodiversity conservation activities in the Pendjari (PNP) and W (PNW) National Parks; (ii) explore the possibility of expanding the Protected Areas network, in particular to include central and southern Benin; and (iii) prepare the implementation of a financial mechanism for the long-term financing of recurrent costs related to the management of the Protected Areas.
To that end, Component No. 1 of the project (US$5.3 million) will provide technical and operational support to the National Center for Wildlife Management (CENAGREF) to implement the management plans for the two National Parks in question, conduct the feasibility study to determine the conditions for reclassification of four forest reserves in central and southern Benin, and pilot and monitor the execution of all project-related activities.
Under Component No. 2 (US$1.5 million), support will be provided to the parks’ neighboring communities to help them engage in income-generating activities, with a view to reducing human pressure on wild fauna and flora.
Lastly, Component No. 3 (US$100,000) will provide technical assistance to the Government to facilitate the establishment and operationalization of a Foundation tasked with managing a Conservation Trust Fund that will provide long-term financing of the main recurrent costs for the Northern Benin Savanna Ecosystems Management plans, following closure of the project.
“The Project that was recently approved by our Board of Executive Directors will help protect the extraordinary biodiversity found not only in the Northern Benin Savanna Ecosystems, but also in the entire transboundary Protected Areas network known as the WAP ( W-Arly-Pendjari). This zone straddles Benin, Niger, and Burkina Faso, is a globally important biodiversity area, and is a candidate for World Heritage Site status,” noted Mr. Madani M. Tall, Country Director for Benin, upon approval of the project.
PAGAP is part of the Benin National Environmental Action Plan, which was adopted in 1993 and revised in 2001, and of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2002), both of which identify sustainable biodiversity conservation and use as national priorities. It is also aligned with Benin’s poverty reduction strategy and with the World Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy for Benin (2009-2012), particularly with respect to Pillar No. 5, which covers the promotion of balanced and sustainable development. The local communities, as well as the people living in the communes of Banikoara, Kandi, Karimana, Kérou, Malanville, Matéri, and Tanguiéta are the project’s direct beneficiaries. Improving management of the parks will also benefit adventure and sport hunting tourism, which plays a key role in the region’s economy.