2008 was a year of major changes within the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in general and in Central and West Africa in particular.
In May 2008, the regionalization and decentralization process, which had begun some 15 years ago, finally resulted in the merger of the Central and West Africa Offices into one single program: Central and West Africa Program (CWAP). The new program covers 26 countries, and its coordination unit (the Regional Bureau) is based in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. It has a membership of 70, including 15 States.
The restructuring of IUCN in Central and West Africa was conducted collegially, from July 2007 to May 2008, and the purpose is to make the Union a strong institution; one that is able to influence policies and to efficiently sustain conservation and sustainable development efforts that are better adapted to the current needs of the African continent. The year 2008 also marked the end of the 2005-2008 four year program and saw the preparation of a new program for the 2009-2012 period. Designed with the participation of IUCN’s members and partners in Central and West Africa, the new four year program 2009-2012 contributes to the objectives of the Union’s global program and will be implemented by all IUCN constituents (Secretariat, members, and commissions). One key innovation in the new program has to do with the place and primordial role conferred to IUCN’s members and its six commissions in the planning and implementation of the program. It also provides that significant efforts should be made in the areas of communication and information technologies. The new program was adopted at the 4th World Congress on Nature held in Barcelona, Spain, from October 4 to 14, 2008.
During the forum and the Assembly meeting, IUCN’s staff, members, and partners were involved in the preparation and implementation of the different activities organized in the thematic pavilion (water, forests, energy, safeguarding species, etc.); which helped Central and West Africa to participate in the Congress effectively. The forum and the Assembly were an opportunity for experience sharing and for discussion on the theme of the congress, which was: “A diverse and sustainable world.”
This report presents the main achievements of IUCN’s interventions in Central and West Africa in 2008, and bridges the former and new structures of its program in Central and West Africa. So far, these two regions had been treated separately in the programs; but they now are united because they present the same stakes and face the same environmental and social challenges. IUCN is therefore in a position to promote experience exchange in terms of conservation and sustainable development more efficiently between the players and partners in Central and West Africa. As a result, the structure of the 2008 report rests on the new configuration of the Central and West Africa Program.
Pr Aimé J. Nianogo,