CITES to help combat illegal wildlife trade in West Africa’s most important protected area complex
At the Triple Point in the heart of Park W, where the territories of Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso meet, the General Directors of the wildlife management agencies from each of the three countries signed an agreement to strengthen collaboration in wildlife law enforcement in this critical wildlife area. This effectively gives the ‘green light’ to initiate activities designed under a major CITES initiative to build law enforcement capacity, strengthen the integrated management of the transboundary area, and enhance the protection of what is widely considered the most important area for wildlife in West Africa, including due to its 8,900 elephants.
The activities to be implemented under the agreement were defined late last year at a meeting that brought together senior management and area wardens from the five protected areas in the three countries that make up the W-Arly-Pendjari Protected Area Complex (WAP). This targeted intervention, which is expected to last into 2019, is funded by the European Union through the CITES Minimizing the Illegal Killing of Elephants and other Endangered Species (MIKES) project and is being implemented in partnership with the IUCN Regional Office in Burkina Faso.
The WAP was selected as one of the eight “Focal Sites” under the MIKES project where support for wildlife law enforcement capacity building is most needed. The areas were prioritized based on detailed assessments of existing law enforcement capacity, as well as on their importance for elephant conservation, the co-occurrence of other key CITES-listed species, and the level of poaching and other threats impacting each site. In each site specific packages of activities have been developed to ensure that the support addresses the unique issues in each area.
MIKES is a project of the ACP group of States, supported by the EC through the 10th EDF, and implemented by the CITES secretariat. The European Union continuously invested in the WAP since 2001 with the European Development Fund (EDF) through two programmes on the regional investment fund: ECOPAS in the Parc W from 2001 to 2008, and PAPE in the WAP from 2011 to 2016. The support provided under the MIKES project ensures that this will be continued up until the end of 2019.