Protecting the WAP biosphere reserve

Project description

Title: Transboundary biosphere reserve in WAP region
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger
Co-funded by: European Union (EU)
Lead executing agencies: Benin: Ministère de Cadre de Vie et du Transport chargé du Développement Durable (MCVDD), Burkina Faso: Ministère de l’Environnement de l’Eau et de l’Assainissement (MEEA), Niger: Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte Contre la Désertification (ME/LCD)
Overall term: 2015 to 2023


The W National Park takes its name from the W-shape  of the River Niger. Together with the adjacent Arly and Pendjari nature reserves, it forms the W-Arly-Pendjari region (WAP region) in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger.

The WAP region is the largest contiguous savannah conservation area in West Africa, home to significant populations of wild animals. At the same time, its exceptional biodiversity is treatened bypoaching, inadequate protection systems in national parks, growing demographic pressure and the significant effects of climate change.

An operational system between the cross-border  governments is in place and constantly being developed to enable the various private and public institutions to coordinate and cooperate consistently expanded to enable different private and public-sector institutions to coordinate and cooperate in the the stewardship of the area. Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger have signed an agreement in 2019 to improve the park’smanagement.


By protecting the WAP area, Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger benefit from positive development that respects the friendly and inclusive environment, as well as meeting the challenges raised by climate change.


The project is being implemented with the financial support of the European Union (EU) and involves cooperation with the ministries responsible for protected areas as well as  other local authorities and organisations, universities, NGOs and the private sector.

The collaborative efforts are aimed at ensuring the integrity of the WAP region. To achieve  this, the project

  • mobilising financial resources,
  • reduces poverty among the local communities,
  • involves  local people in managing the protected areas,
  • improves economic benefits for communities and
  • supports reforestation and ecological restoration measures.

Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger intend to optimise and extend  joint management of the national park. Tha antipoaching campaign, the implementation of ecological control system and the development of tourism are at the heart of their concern.

Last update: June 2023

Additional information