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Togo - Country Profile

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Togo is one of the smallest countries in West Africa but it comprises various ecosystems types, such as aquatic ecosystems, mangroves and several types of forests. Three amphibian species and one plant species are endemic to the country. In 1990, the number of protected areas amounted to 83, but most of these areas are now inhabited. The Missahoè forest, which possesses important natural resources, benefits from an efficient conservation strategy through which local communities play a significant role. Human activities, problems with the legal and institutional framework, and a lack of scientific knowledge constitute the major causes of biodiversity loss.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

Considered as unique ecosystems, Togo theoretically hosts 83 protected areas, comprising national parks, floral and faunal reserves and classified forests. In this network, these 83 areas, classified between 1939 and 1957, cover a total surface area of 793.288,81ha equaling approximately 14% of the total national territory. There are 8 marine areas (33.297,41ha), 31 Today, with the population growth and the need for agricultural land, as well as the socio-political troubles of 1990, many of these protected areas are partially or totally inhabited.

Classified forests:

Maritime Region - 8 protected areas (33.297,41 ha)

Plateaux Region - 31 protected areas (142 870 ha)

Centrale Region - 11 protected areas (252.087 ha)

Kara Region - 22 protected areas (198.143,40 ha)

Savanes Region - 8 protected areas (166.906 ha)

TOTAL = 83 protected areas (793.288,81 ha)

Following many difficult long-standing land issues faced by the rural populations in the country, the formula to define the limits of protected areas extending into different administrative regions of the country was revised by public authorities in 1990. This initiative related not only to the expanse of land exploitable for diverse purposes, but also to the rational and more efficient use of classified forest area whose surface is estimated at 8,000 km2 or 14% of the country’s surface (56,000 km2).

Percentage of Forest Cover

Forests cover an estimated 8.000km2, equally approximately 14% of the national territory of Togo.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

In 1987, a ministry was created charged with the protection of the environment and the management of its natural resources. This political will was supported by: the adoption of Law no88-14 on 3 November 1988 instituting the Environmental Code; the ratification of numerous conventions, treaties and international accords relating to environmental and natural resources management; the adoption of the National Environmental Policy in December 1998; and the National Environmental Action Plan on 4 July 2001.

The national policy for environmental issues focuses on the sustainable management of natural resources and the environment. This policy dedicates the principle of sustainable use of the country’s resources in order to meet the ends of solidarity and equality between present and future generations. It counsels for the integration of environmental aspects into strategies, programmes and projects of all national developmental sectors.

The strategic orientations of this policy are:

• Reinforcement of capacities for environmental management,

• Promotion of the national ecological conscience by encouraging a more complete understanding of environmental issues and the development of favorable attitudes towards the environment,

• To take into account environmental issues in developmental planning and management,

• Promotion of the healthy and sustainable development of natural resources and the environment,

• The re-enforcement of sub-regional and international cooperation for concerted management of environmental problems.

These transversal strategic orientations aim specifically the integration of environmental issues in all activity sectors.

The Action Plan for the Conservation of Biological Diversity constitutes the operational translation of the National Strategy. This action plan was not formed in isolation of other environmental actions expressed in the National Action Programme for the Environment and the National Programme for Environmental Management. In fact, mutual re-enforcement and synergies are searched for within the implementation different action areas.

Beyond the clear link with the National Programme for Environmental Management, the biodiversity action plan targets 4 areas: in situ conservation; ex situ conservation; the viability of conservation efforts; and the sustainable and equitable valuation of biodiversity.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

Togo’s economic crisis forced the population to fall back on the natural resources of the country. In addition, concern for economic growth and production practices, in place in various development sectors to respond to the population’s needs, have multiple harmful effects on the environment and particularly on biological diversity. Beyond the traditional modes of conservation of biological diversity, Togo has taken important technical, legal, political and institutional measures to suppress these problems while instituting principles of precaution, prevention, information, education, communication, accountability, participation, inter-generational equity, coordination and exploitation of synergies and internalisation of costs for actors who degrade the environment. Also, within the framework of implementation of the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, the aforementioned principles will be reinforced through partnerships, decentralization, integrated and multisector approaches as well as by the Ecosystem Approach.

Reforms are in process at all these levels so that a better framework for the conservation and management of natural resources, in a spirit of participation, exploitation of synergies, coherence, decentralization and devolution, can be established.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

Reinforcement of the legal system in regard to the protection of specific areas is mentioned. Togo intends to improve monitoring and increase penalties for criminal activities.

The Protected Areas Rehabilitation Programme of Togo, financed by the European Commission under funds from STABEX 91-94, is in place since 2000, and is in its final phase. After having conducted a rapid evaluation on the state of the main classified forests in Togo, 7 priority areas were selected for initiating pilot rehabilitation processes. This programme incorporated essential preambles like: the establishment of a National Protected Areas System, which responds to the demands of international definitions, notably those of IUCN (1994); the operational re-qualification of the areas making up the system; and the consensual delimitation and organization of the management of these areas into a partnership, state and populace, appropriate to each case.

In fact, the results obtained from the last evaluations are mitigated: the administrative, jurisdictional and regulatory preambles were not fulfilled, handicapping all measures, and causing considerable delay. However, the motivation of the population, especially in light of the consensual re-delimitation work, was usually judged as encouraging. The partitioning of the re-delimitated areas will be an area of intervention. In any case, this program allowed: to clearly identify the obstacles linked to a lack of application of political will; to renew dialogue between the State and local populations, focusing on the controversial issues regarding the protected areas; and the preparation of conditions favorable to the future rehabilitation of at least 5 of the 7 priority protected areas.

The PNADE must consider the peripheries of protected areas as a priority in their interventions. This can be done by effectively re-qualifying these areas, and placing them in the national protected areas system, that remains to be created (the creation of a national protected areas system, and this re-qualification seem to constitute the preamble elements of the startup of PNADE).

This programme permitted the establishment of first contacts in regard to the possible integration of protected areas in the Savanes/Kara Region with the W (WAPO) complex composed of national parks in Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger. Promotion of synergy in national biodiversity management and implementation of a tranversal inter-state ecological approach when dealing with, among others, human, economic and scientific issues are potential functions of this expanded system. Transboundary factors and opportunities favouring regional integration of the management of the protected areas of the Sudano-Sahelian savannas were brought forth at the last meetings of WAPO’s ministerial orientation council. The following joint activities are envisaged:

a) Capacity-building (e.g. training for large tourist companies and surveillance committees, in GIS)

b) Access to information pertaining to research and inter-state meetings on hunting, anti-poaching campaigns, transhumance, introduction of species, etc.

c) The promotion of national areas within the context of transboundary tourism

d) The organization and development of the hunting sector for visitors and village residents, etc.

e) The eventual consideration of national needs in respect of the Ninth Federal Reserve’s (FED) regional integration programme managed by the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

Research has been undertaken in order to understand how traditional knowledge is contributing to the management and sustainable use of biodiversity. The study will focus notably on the traditional knowledge and practices related to sustainable forest and biodiversity management, and the eating habits and traditional use of threatened plant species. Initiatives regarding traditional medicine are also mentioned. Furthermore, specific programmes regarding protected areas are being established such as the revision of the delimitation of protected areas with local communities.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme