The European Union, the Ministries of Environment of Guinea and Ivory Coast, and the Forest Development Authority of Liberia officially launch this Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the Project to support the Preservation of cross-border Forest Ecosystems of the Nimba Mountains (Nimba project), funded by the European Union. This project, amounting to nearly 2.4 million euros, equivalent to 2.8 million USD, over a period of 39 months, aims to protect the biodiversity and ecosystems of the forest landscape of the Nimba Mountains in the three countries (Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Liberia). It is implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
The Nimba project is part of the Program to support the Preservation of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa (PAP-FOR), funded by the European Union with a budget of more than 20 million euros, equivalent to more than 23 million USD, which aims to protect the biodiversity and forests in 5 West African countries. This program is in line with the forest convergence plan (PCF) adopted by the regional institutions of West Africa aimed at combating the decline of forests and the loss of many animal species. It is a joint initiative of ECOWAS, UEMOA and the European Union.
The forest landscape of the Nimba Mountains has the status of a Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been included since 1992 in the list of world heritage in danger. Covering an area of over 11,000 km2 among the three countries, the reserve is home to more than 50 water sources, 300 species of vertebrate animals, 2,500 species of invertebrate animals and 2,000 species of plants. This biodiversity is threatened by human pressure, such as mining, deforestation, farming and poaching.
In order to implement these activities, UNOPS teams will support the departments in charge of the protection of the Nimba Mountains Biosphere Reserve in the three countries, while working in close collaboration with the local communities, which will be involved in the entire project, from the design of territorial development plans to the development and operationalization of management systems for forest protected areas as well as the integrated management of natural resources.
"To preserve the biodiversity of the Nimba Mountains, the project will implement the landscape approach, which consists of taking advantage of the presence of the biosphere reserve to strengthen socio-economic development around the area while improving monitoring and application of the law within the reserve of the Nimba Mountains", declared Mr. Juan Jose VILLA CHACON, Head of Cooperation of the European Union in Guinea.
"It is exciting to see three countries jointly working towards the protection of forest ecosystems and its biodiversity. We at the EU won't spare efforts to support them on their endeavour. If the last West African Rainforests are lost, and nearly half of them are in Liberia, we will all suffer the consequences. It is a matter of pride but also a big responsibility for Liberians", emphasized David PALACIOS, Programme Manager in charge of Forestry, and Environment & Natural Resources at the Delegation of the European Union to Liberia. Conakry and Monrovia, June 23, 2021