Strengthening forest ecosystem connectivity in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo region in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia
Title: 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)
Countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia
Lead executing agency: Côte d’Ivoire: Ministère de la Salubrité, de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable (MINSEDD); Liberia: Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs (MPEA)
Overall term: 2015 to 2020
The West African countries Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia are rich in terms of biodiversity and raw materials. The exploitation of natural resources and expanding agricultural activities are increasing the pressure on natural forests and biodiversity hot spots, i.e. regions with a large number of endemic and potentially endangered plant and animal species.
The project area stretches from the western border of Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire across the adjacent Grebo Forest to Sapo National Park in Liberia and contains the largest remaining rainforest in West Africa. Most of the forested areas have protected status. They are uniquely biodiverse and home to many endemic species. However, efforts to preserve this biodiversity are threatened by insufficient organisational capacity and personnel resources, weak governmental structures, rapid population growth and the exploitation of raw materials. These factors also make it harder to maintain connectivity between protected areas. To date, neither state institutions nor local actors have worked together to link the forest ecosystems in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo border region.
Government institutions and local actors in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia are working together to connect the forest ecosystems in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo border region.
The project aims to strengthen local expertise and capacity for the joint management of natural resources and biodiversity and in this way to help bring about a lasting improvement in connectivity between the region’s ecosystems and protected areas. It operates in the border area between Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire and focuses on promoting cross-border cooperation and dialogue between local and national actors and on the participation of women in decision-making processes. There are four priority areas of activity:
- Informing local people in the Taï-Grebo corridor region about land-use planning decisions and ensuring that they are involved .
- Incorporating collaborative decisions in regional land-use development plans which can be used in the medium term to direct the sustainable management of the area.
- Developing the skills and capacity of all the actors involved so that they can participate competently in the planning and implementation of national and cross-border measures.
- Supporting the efforts of the Liberian Forestry Development Authority (FDA) to establish national park status for the Grebo-Krahn Forest.
The project forms part of a wider strategy together with a KfW Development Bank project to preserve biodiversity in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo rainforest complex.
The project’s implementation partners in Côte d’Ivoire are the Parks Authority (OIPR) and the Department for Ecology and Nature Conservation (DEPN) in the Environment Ministry. Other organisations involved are the Foundation for National Parks and Reserves (FPRCI) and the international non-governmental organisation Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF). The project’s implementation partners in Liberia are the Forest Development Authority (FDA), specifically the Conservation department. The international NGO Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF) is involved here as well.
The establishment of a corridor has been recognised by the Ministry of Environment in Côte d'Ivoire. In 2016, the Ministry set up a national steering committee, whose operating expenses are covered by the national budget. The committee meets regularly. Its members are the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Forestry and other ministries. There are plans to extend membership to further ministries and to local territorial authorities and sub-national government administrations.
A road map was developed and implemented for the declaration and management of the Grebo Forest as the Grebo-Krahn National Park and its incorporation into the network of protected forest areas. The Grebo-Krahn National Park was established in Liberia in mid-2017.