Strengthening ecological connectivity in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo Forest Complex between Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia

Project description

Title: Rural economic development and biodiversity in Côte d’Ivoire: strengthening ecological connectivity in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo Forest Complex between Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia
Overall term: 2014 to 2017

Context

With their wealth of natural resources and rich species diversity, the West African countries of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia have a good basis for economic development. However, years of civil war have significantly destabilised both nations. Now, a high population growth rate and weak economic development are exerting serious pressure on the region’s natural forests whose resources are under threat from agricultural activities and overharversting. The project area, which stretches from Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire to Grebo Forest and Sapo National Park in Liberia, covers the largest remaining rainforest in West Africa. With many endemic species, most of the project area is an official conservation zone. However, the exploitation of natural resources has fragmented the forest area and reduced natural habitats.

The weak government structures in the countries concerned, as well as a lack of HR and organisational resources, only serve to compound this situation and hinder connectivity between the forest ecosystems. As a consequence, neither the government institutions nor local actors feel responsible for dealing with the problems.

Objective

Government institutions and local actors in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia successfully work together to connect the forest ecosystems in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo border region.

Approach

The project aims to strengthen the capacity of the institutions involved to co-manage the region’s natural resources and biodiversity. At the same time, it is improving connectivity between the ecosystems and protected areas while strengthening cooperation between the two countries.

The project focuses on three different areas of activity:

  • National authorities in Côte d’Ivoire are to set up an ecological corridor between Taï National Park and Grebo Forest. To this end, OIPR (Office Ivorien des Parcs et des Reserves) and other relevant political institutions – including the ministries of planning, agriculture and forestry – are to be assisted in creating the necessary enabling conditions. Furthermore, regular communication and exchange forums are to foster cooperation between the political actors at national level.
  • The project also provides for measures that will enhance the performance capacity of the local Ivorian and Liberian partners. Joint transboundary management is intended to safeguard the ecological corridors more effectively. By way of support, the project is to set up a network of all the protected areas. The exchange of knowledge between all the partners involved in the project on the Liberian and Ivorian sides will help make the entire region more stable and secure and also better able to address the issues described above.
  • Grebo Forest is to be turned into a national park to ensure better connectivity between the various protected areas and buffer zones. GIZ’s mandate is to assist national authorities in building up management resources in the field of biodiversity and protected area management. In addition, it will oversee studies on topics such as the use of land, the environment and natural resources. Moreover, consultations with the local population and non-governmental organisations are to support the transition from having protected-area status to being a national park.

The consulting firm AMBERO supports the implementation of the project.