IUCN in Central and West Africa
IUCN has been active in Central and West Africa for more than thirty years; first through several national offices in West Africa, then a Regional Office for Central Africa (BRAC) in 1995, and a Regional Office for West Africa (BRAO) in 1997. In 2006, IUCN's administrative reorganization process to reconfigure the Regional Offices in Africa and West Asia led to the merger of BRAC and BRAO into a single program in 2008: PACO (Central and West Africa Program). The regional office was then based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
In 2019, PACO coordination was partially relocated to Dakar, Senegal.
PACO is a mechanism for achieving the mission and vision of IUCN in the region, consisting of 25 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo)
PACO's actions are part of the implementation of the IUCN's four-year program. They concern both the issue of conservation policies and global, regional and local environmental governance as well as field projects related to the sustainable management of biological diversity. To date, it is deployed through :
8 country programs (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal), which implement their programs and projects and ensure a better anchoring with the global programs and the IUCN Commissions.
4 regional thematic programs (RTPs):
Forest Conservation, based in Yaoundé, Cameroon;
Water Resources and Wetlands, based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso;
Marine and Coastal, based in Dakar, Senegal;
Protected Areas and Biodiversity, based in Dakar, Senegal
01 project office (Ghana).
Pursuing its policy of partnerships aimed at providing hosting to institutions, projects or regional networks of great importance for conservation, PACO currently hosts TRAFFIC (The wildlife trade monitoring network).
Members and Commissions
As of today (December 2019), PACO has 115 Members out of the 1400 at the global level, including 10 States, 11 governmental agencies and 81 national and international NGOs operating in various fields of activities related to PACO's thematic programs. It has 1 Regional Members Committee (CREMACO) and 8 National Members Committees (Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal).
PACO also has nearly 600 members of IUCN Commissions out of the more than 15,000 at the global level.