EU funded mangrove management project - Ghana and eight other West Africa Nations benefit

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi
Some communities along the coast depend on mangrove forests for their livelihoods
Some communities along the coast depend on mangrove forests for their livelihoods

An integrated programme to protect the biodiversity of mangroves and other fragile ecosystems in West Africa to enhance their resilience to climate change in nine West African countries is being implemented.

The four-year project (2019-2023) on the “Management of Mangrove Forests from Senegal to Benin (PAPBio C1 Mangroves), seeks to protect mangroves in Ghana, Senegal,The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Benin, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Togo and Benin.

It was signed in July 2019 with €9.9 million funding from the European Union (EU) and is jointly implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),the Wetlands International Africa and the 5Deltas collective.

However, implementation stalled due to the coronavirus disease.

Read: Plant more trees to restore degraded lands.


Landscapes

The four priority conservation landscapes include Mono Volta (Ghana, Benin and Togo), Grand Saloum (Senegal and The Gambia), Basse Casamance (Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea) and Grand Mano (Sierra Leone and Liberia).

The goal of this project is to strengthen the management of protected areas and unprotected mangrove sites through linkages between governance and production systems with mangrove conservation structures for integrated protection of mangrove's diversity and ecosystems in West Africa and their enhanced resilience to climate change.

The IUCN will implement activities in the Mono-Volta landscape (Songor Lagoon and Anlo-Keta Lagoons in Ghana, Roy Mouth in Benin and Mono Delta Biosphere Reserve in Benin and Togo).

Read: Mole National Park, potential global destination — Census


Stakeholder consultation

In an interview during a project inception / stakeholders consultation workshop in Accra on February 18, 2021, a Project Officer at IUCN Ghana, Mrs Dorcas Owusuaa Agyei, said the project targeted mangroves in Ghana realising it has been sidelined for some time now and so were being degraded and consequently depleting the landscape.

“Bringing this project here in Ghana is really going to help to restore the mangroves. We also realise that the people depend on the mangroves for their livelihoods and it cannot be restored without targeting them.”

“So, it will be targeted to ensure that they have additional source of livelihoods such as aquaculture to sustain their income so that the pressure on mangroves will be limited,” she explained.

The Coastal and Marine Regional Programme Coordinator, Central and West Africa, IUCN, Mr Renaud Bailleux, noted that coastal conservation and mangroves were very important in the ecosystem, especially in protecting the coast against erosion, climate change and water rising.

He said many countries are now building concrete protection against the water rising, while mangrove provides natural protection of the coastal zones if conserved.

“Mangroves are a good source of biodiversity, very good for conservation of fish and fish production and a good source of livelihood if managed sustainably. There are many resources which can derived from mangroves,” he stated.

“Mangroves are a very valuable and unique ecosystem that we need the attention of all to protect,” he said.


Mono-Volta Mangroves Project  

The IUCN will implement activities in the Mono-Volta landscape (Songor Lagoon and Anlo-Keta Lagoons in Ghana, Roy Mouth in Benin and Mono Delta Biosphere Reserve in Benin and Togo).

The project landscape extends from the outskirts of Accra to the Mono River Delta. It includes the Ramsar sites of the Songor Lagoon (28,740ha) and the Anlo-Keta Lagoon Complex (127,780ha) and the entire Mono Delta.

The Songor site is an area of swamps and is home to several species of globally threatened turtles (leatherback turtle, olive turtle, and green turtles).

The Anlo-Keta site is part of the Volta estuary; it is surrounded by a complex of lagoons (the lagoons of Avu, Keta, Nogui, Logui and Angaw).

The project shall be executed under IUCN’s Coastal and Marine programme (MACO), based in Dakar, Senegal, with day-to-day supervision of the activities