Niger Basin Initiative

Geographical location:

Africa/Madagascar > Africa General

Africa/Madagascar > West Africa > Guinea
Africa/Madagascar > West Africa > Mali
Africa/Madagascar > West Africa > Niger
Africa/Madagascar > West Africa > Nigeria

View of the Niger river banks, Mali.
© WWF-Canon / Thomas SCHULTZ-JAGOW

Summary

The Niger River Basin, stretching from the highlands of Guinea down to the delta in Nigeria, is a spinal column for the economy of West Africa. Communities living within the basin are heavily reliant on the environmental products and services provided by the river, which also supports 243 fish species (including 20 endemic species) and provides vital stopover sites for millions of migratory birds.

The river basin faces many challenges, not least from a burgeoning population. This project aims to integrate environmental concerns into planning and development processes at a basin level.

Background

A combination of human population growth (on average 3% per year) and unsustainable resource use is threatening the Niger river’s current and future ability to support the basin’s rich biodiversity and provide resources to the communities living along its banks.

Various international, national and local organizations are working to address these problems, but at the present no initiatives address the integration of environmental concerns into planning and development at a basin level.

WWF has entered a strategic partnership with the Niger Basin Authority (NBA), working with Wetlands International and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in an alliance called the Niger Basin Initiative.

Recognising the importance of the basin’s ecosystem for human livelihoods and water supply, the goal of the initiative is to secure a dynamic river system that supports a complete and regionally typical flora and fauna, and satisfies human water and food needs.

The cooperation agreement signed between the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) and WWF sets out to promote development that is socially equitable, economically viable and ecologically sustainable.

The purpose of the 2-year project is to reinforce the capacity of environmental organizations and secure their contribution to intergovernmental decision-making affecting sustainable development of the Niger River Basin.

Objectives

1. Develop and implement throughout the basin an integrated development framework: the Sustainable Development Action Plan (SDAP) for the Niger River Basin.

2. Consolidate the legal and institutional framework so as to make it favourable to dialogue and consultation for cooperative action among the riparian countries of the Niger River Basin.

3. Develop water resources in the Niger River Basin in a sustainable and equitable manner so as to promote prosperity, security and peace for all the populations living in the basin.

4. Adopt a pragmatic and consensual approach in the conduct of the shared vision development process.

Solution

1. Policy and advocacy strategy designed and implemented toward integration of environmental concerns into key national and regional planning processes affecting the Niger River Basin.

2. An effective alliance of environmental NGOs established and actively engaged in national and regional planning and policy processes affecting the Niger River Basin.

3. Awareness increased of the benefits of improved natural resource and environmental management amongst stakeholders and decision makers at local, national and regional levels.

The principal target groups are the civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in different aspects of environmentally sustainable development within the Niger River Basin.

In addition to the target groups, the beneficiaries will include the Niger Basin Authority (NBA), planners and decision makers, who have identified the need for a broader dialogue with civil society in the context of a shared vision process.

Indirect and longer-term beneficiaries will be the wider community of some 70 million West African people who depend on the Niger River Basin for forest and environmental goods and services. Conservation of the region’s unique biodiversity represents a global benefit.

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