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Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve: workshop to discuss Local Development Plans and plan community measures held in February in Danané, Côte d’Ivoire

27 April 2023

West African forests are rich in natural resources, including wood and non-wood products, water resources, and thus play a key role in food security in the region. However, between 1990 and 2015 these once lush forests declined rapidly, by about 740 000 hectares each year. The loss of forests threatens the existence of many species, including elephants, whose population has witnessed a massive decline over the last century.

The Nimba Mountains landscape is one of the five landscapes receiving backing from the European Union (EU) through the Support Programme for the Preservation of Forest Ecosystems (PAPFor). Activities in this landscape are implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

UNOPS works with local partners to spearhead the development of local development plans (LDP), aimed at improving the living conditions of communities bordering the reserve. Developing the LDP with communities helps to foster their active participation in identifying challenges to the protection of the reserve. The newly developed LDPs will promote data collection using different tools and provide an in-depth understanding of the various socio-economic factors that determine the implementation of more environmentally friendly daily practices.

As part of work to draw up the local development plan for the six-targeted villages that border the Mount Nimba Integral Nature Reserve (RNIMN), a workshop was held from 23 to 24 February 2023 in Danané, Côte d’Ivoire. The workshop attracted about 30 participants, including Mr. BENE Kouakou Jean-Louis, Secretary General of the Prefecture of the Department of Danané, and Colonel ZANNOU Moïse, Director of the West Zone of the OIPR. Standing in for the OIPR Director General was Colonel KOUAME N’dri Pascal, Head of the Technical Support Unit at the OIPR General Directorate, and representatives of the press.

Lieutenant SINAYOKO Yaya, in charge of the six (6) communities for the OIPR-West Zone Directorate (DZO), presented on behalf of the six targeted communities Gbapleu, Bouan-houyé, Kpoleu, Yéale, Danipleu, and Gbantopleu in Côte d’Ivoire, and explained to participants the process of drawing up local development plans with the participation of the reserve’s forest-edged communities.

At the end of the workshop, participants agreed to implement the measures discussed by defining deadlines for each activity. The joint team (DZO/OIPR and UNOPS/PAPFor) decided to meet as regularly as needed to assess the effectiveness of the recommendations and to discuss other issues related to the management of the Mount Nimba Integral Nature Reserve (RNIMN).

At the end of the presentations, the participants evaluated the plans together, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each. Recommendations and suggestions were made to improve them and make them more sustainable for the long term.

The six communities pledged their commitment to set up a committee to monitor the implementation of the LDPs.