The "Partnership for Environmental Governance in West Africa (PAGE)" is a regional initiative implemented by the Central and West Africa Programme of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-PACO) in collaboration with its partners. It provides support to environmental policies in West Africa. It is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) over a period of five years (2014-2018).
The PAGE program is implemented in West Africa, especially in the Volta, Niger, Senegal and Mono basins. It is built on the achievements and the partnerships of the Poverty Reduction and Environmental Management Initiative (PREMI) implemented from 2009 to 2013 and other programs of IUCN-PACO in West Africa, for a better implementation of environmental policies, capacity building of stakeholders and a more open governance of natural resources.
Reconciling sustainable resource management and development in the West African context
One of the greatest environmental challenges West Africa is facing is the need to reconcile development needs with sustainable natural resource management. Today, there is an urgent need to enhance biodiversity in order to alleviate poverty.
In a context of increasingly degraded natural resources
West Africa is the most densely populated region of Africa. Although urbanization is accelerating, especially in coastal cities, the region is still mostly rural and the main activities on which the vast majority of the population depends for employment and income generation are agriculture, fishing, pastoralism and the direct use of fauna and flora. These activities are mostly based on the exploitation of natural resources subject to continuous degradation processes related to the increasing needs of a growing population, coupled with the threat of change and climate variability.
Concerted action for sustainable solutions
Adjusting the region’s development trajectory so that it fully integrates biodiversity enhancement and conservation and involves all stakeholders including the most vulnerable in identifying just and lasting solutions, requires much more than technical solutions, equipment and infrastructure. This is why through PREMI and now PAGE, IUCN and its partners are coordinating their efforts to make the decision-making process more inclusive and transparent based on the use of reliable knowledge and tools tailored to the needs of actors. Thus, from the level of a few sites to national and regional levels involving a wide range of actors, IUCN has initiated dialogues and coalitions for action, always aimed at supporting and achieving political and economic dynamics for regional integration at work in West Africa.
Coordinated and multi-actor based interventions under five specific areas
1. Setting up of IWRM in West Africa
The ambition of the PAGE Programme is to contribute to the current dynamics by further involving the user in water management and enabling the Water Resource Coordination Center (WRCC) to assert its leadership in the coordination of the regional policy on water resources in West Africa, more particularly in the Volta, Senegal, Niger and Mono river basins.
2. Mainstreaming of the environmental dimension in river basin management
By building pathways for experience and best practice sharing, PAGE is bringing actors together, specifically the academics, practitioners, the media, decision-makers and opinion leaders.
3. Sustainable management of ecosystem goods and services
Improving the health of ecosystems and increasing the goods and services that they render would directly benefit the production systems of local societies. The communities will thus develop their resources and capacity to cope with climate change. The PAGE supports the acknowledgement of the contribution of ecosystems to agricultural production systems and to the well-being of the populations.
4. Integrating the climate change issue in the planning process
The consideration of adaptation to climate change in development planning appears as an imperative nowadays for policymakers at all administrative levels. The tools developed to that effect such as the toolbox for planning, monitoring & evaluation of climate change adaptation capacity (TOP-SECAC) have proven to be efficient. To respond to this imperative, every country should have a critical mass of trained experts. The PAGR supports the creation of such expertise.
5. Restoration of degraded ecosystems
Ecosystems are overused, which undermines their balance and their very existence. In the face of this situation, PAGE has undertaken actions to reverse the current degradation trend and establish sustainable management systems of natural ecosystems.
Strengthen partnerships to address environmental challenges
Following PREMI, actors have agreed on the importance of building partnerships to achieve significant and lasting results. PAGE is built around the establishment and strengthening of various types of partnerships.
- Support existing institutions: Give each partner the opportunity to play their role, with IUCN contributing on the one hand to build the capacity of organizations and institutions, and on the other hand to connect field actors to national, regional and even global policy-makers and economic decision-makers, to improve on policy and legislative processes.
- Enriching PAGE through partnerships and co-funding: rally additional skills and resources within and outside IUCN to cover the diversity of themes and achieve the targeted ambitious outputs.
- Support local actors in the quest for technical solutions: facilitate the process of dialogue between actors in order to develop long-term visions shared by the actors in the river sub-basins, ownership by partners action strategies, quest for solutions and raising first and foremost local resources.
For more information
Maxime Somda, PAGE regional coordinator, E-mail: email@example.com