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UNESCO: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization


Natural Sciences

Savanna Ecosystems

Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Dryland Biosphere Reserves in West Africa

Savanna Ecosystems

Regional Project on building scientific and technical capacity for effective management and sustainable use of biodiversity in dryland biosphere reserves in West Africa.

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves extended to West Africa in 1977 by the creation of the park Taï in Côte d'Ivoire. If the concept of biosphere reserves emphasizes the integration of local communities into the management and evolution of the biodiversity, it also provides for the access rules required for the protection of ecosystems which, in some cases, can become sources of conflicts between villagers and reserve managers.

The UNESCO - MAB / UNEP - GEF regional programme, which includes six biosphere reserves in West Africa, aims to improve the understanding of "societies - savannas" interactions in order to facilitate the dialogue between different stakeholders intervening in protected areas.

Man and his interactions with nature is at the centre of the MAB-UNESCO Project co-financed by the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and the GEF (Global Environmental Facility), launched in September 2004 for a duration of four years. Land occupation, plant species collecting, and exploitation of natural resources by local communities represent different types of pressure on biodiversity. This programme aims to reduce anthropogenic pressures by means of alternative economic activities for communities living in the vicinity of the reserves, taking full advantage of methods proposed by social sciences.  

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Ms Meriem Bouamrane
  • Programme Specialist, MAB Clearing House, Periodic review of biosphere reserves, Research and training programme on dialogue and concertation in biosphere reserves (conflict prevention and management of biodiversity), Michel Batisse Award, EuroMAB
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