Lower Ouémé Valley, a vital biosphere reserve

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In southern Benin, the first UNESCO biosphere reserve was created, which came from the will of the NGOs in the Mono Delta, almost a year ago. In order to obtain the classification of Unesco, the NGOs therefore worked with the local population and proposed a community management plan. A special place, today threatened.

the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) takes place until September 11 in Marseille, in the south of France. As a consultant to Unesco, the IUCN is involved in the development of biosphere reserves around the world, including the one in the lower Ouémé Valley, in Benin, which is soon celebrating its first year.

This biosphere reserve has become crucial for the region: “The peculiar thing here is that it is this reserve that feeds a large part of Benin because within this reserve we have the river Ouémé, Lake Nokoué and the So River. Much of what is produced feeds not only Benin, but neighboring Nigeria “, comments one of the actors in this creation, Maximin Djondo, head of NGO BEES, for education and the environment at Benign.

Website threatened today But today this website is threatened, especially because it is located in a very populated cross-border area: “Demand is increasing, therefore production is increasing. And the population that occupies this space is increasing. Therefore, the pressure on natural resources is becoming stronger despite the fact that it is a Ramsar site of international importance, Djondo adds. In the heart of the galleries also protects an endemic species of red-bellied monkeys, which are also threatened by overexploitation of timber.

Just as in order to obtain the UNESCO classification, NGOs therefore work with the local population to preserve this environment: “we must succeed (…) in defining new management rules so that the pressure is stopped or reduced, so that resources are not completely depleted for future generations . The next step is a careful implementation of the management plan so that everything we have planned to improve the diversity of this important ecosystem is taken into account and can benefit the local population ”.

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