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PAPFor annual steering committee meeting

6 December 2023

Following the first two meetings in September 2021 and October 2022, the regional programme steering committee held its annual meeting on Wednesday 25 October 2023 to review progress and plan for 2024.

Members of the PAPFor steering committee

  • European Union Delegations in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria;
  • The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU/UEMOA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS);
  • Representatives of national authorities in charge of protected areas and other relevant state agencies or ministries;
  • PAPFor implementing agencies working in the six transboundary forest landscapes and their local partners;
  • The PAPFor regional coordinator and AGRECO, as secretariat.

Progress and objectives

This third session of the Steering Committee was attended by almost 50 participants, who reviewed the progress made and the results achieved in relation to the indicators in the PAPFor funding agreement.

After words of welcome from the Delegation of the European Union in Burkina Faso and the UEMOA, the meeting enjoyed a presentation from BirdLife International and RSPB on activities in the Gola – Foya landscape, where PAPFor funding will end this December. This was an opportunity to learn a large number of lessons that will enable the programme to be formulated in a relevant way for the future; we will tell you more about this in the next newsletter.

The Regional Coordinator then presented the programme’s major advances, taking up the key points of the annual technical report that had been produced and shared beforehand. Given that the programme is slowly coming to an end (scheduled for mid-2024), a special effort has been made to assess the extent to which the results of the programme have been achieved.

One example of the programme’s progress is the assessment of protected areas’ management effectiveness using the IMET tool: almost 80 % of protected areas in the PAPFor landscapes have benefited from an IMET assessment and training in using the tool, which is essential for improving the management of protected areas.

Out of a total of 24 indicators linked to the PAPFor Financing Agreement, 17 have already been achieved and 3 will be achieved within the next few months, so that more than 80% of the results will be achieved by the end of the programme.

Budgetary aspects

Between 42 % and 80 % of the programme budget has been spent, depending on the landscape, with an average of 60 % by 31 August 2023.

The committee noted that the implementation period ends for Gola in December and for the Taï – Grebo-Krahn – Sapo and Cross River landscapes it ends in April 2024. With regard to the other three landscapes, it was noted that a number of objectives could not be achieved within the planned timeframe, but that there would still be a significant budget left over. The Steering Committee has therefore recommended an extension of these three contracts, which will end between September and December 2024, at no additional cost.


The Eurata consortium gave a presentation on the progress made in implementing the PAPFor communication plan, with significant progress on the Facebook page, the website, newsletters, the finalisation of three posters and a gallery of photos and videos taken in the landscapes. Two story-maps are being finalised and are ready to be submitted for validation.

Document on the state of forests and forest protected areas in West Africa

As part of the implementation of the PAPFor Programme, under the aegis of ECOWAS and UEMOA, the PAPFor Regional Coordination is preparing a reference document on the state of Guinean forests and the main forest protected areas in West Africa. This document, of around 200 pages, will be published online in April 2024.

The aim of the document is to raise awareness of the exceptional value of the Guinean forests stretching from Guinea to western Cameroon, by describing the unique biodiversity they contain, and to take stock of the various threats to these forests. The document also briefly presents the 30 most important forest protected areas in West Africa.

This ambitious initiative is the product of collaboration with the national administrations in charge of protected areas, the agencies implementing the PAPFor programme and various regional experts, as well as Nature Plus.

A presentation of this initiative was given by Nature Plus, and helped to ensure greater contribution and ownership by the various participants at the meeting, with concrete recommendations for finalising the document and ensuring that it meets everyone’s expectations.


The EU Delegation in Burkina Faso and the UEMOA highlighted the significant progress made over the past 12 months. They urged the implementing agencies to speed up their efforts to make up for the remaining delays in implementation.

The Burkina Faso DUE gave a brief presentation of the future NaturAfrica programme, which will take over from PAPFor and PAPBio from next year, and which we will report on in the next newsletter.

A few of the participants at the 3rd PAPFor steering committee meeting, on 25 October 2023