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Niger - Main Details

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Niger is an overall arid country, with 75% of its territory covered by desert ecosystems, including the terrifying Ténéré desert, particularly famous for its aridity. Despite its aridity, this ecosystem is home to Niger’s largest protected area, refuge for many threatened species, which covers an area of approximately 7.7 million hectares. Protected areas cover 6.6% of the national territory and include the W National Park, home to 70% of Niger’s biodiversity. Also, “L’Aïr Ténéré” has been added to the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1998. From the 2124 plant species known to exist in the country, 210 are considered very important for their nutritive components, especially in times of famine. 3200 animal species, including 2021 insects, have been identified. This country is home to rare species such as the addax and the oryx. Increase of population and soil degradation constitute two of the threats facing Niger’s biodiversity. 85% of the population lives in rural environment and works mostly in agriculture.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

Protected areas in Niger cover approximately 8.5 million hectare, equivalent to 6.6% of the national territory. The five existing protected areas are the W National Parc (220,000 ha), the Gadabegi total reserve (76,000 ha), the Dosso partial faunal reserve (306,000 ha), the Tamou total faunal reserve (75,000 ha), and the “Aïr Ténéré” National Nature Reserve (7,736,000 ha), which includes the Addax Sanctuary (1,280,500 ha). Niger is also about to create a protected area in the Termit desert zone to protect threatened migratory sahelo-saharan species such as the Addax, dama gazelle and ostriches. With the establishment of this protected area, Niger will near the 11% norm as recommended by UNESCO. Niger also foresees the creation of several fishing reserves to ensure a rational management of aquatic resources.

Percentage of Forest Cover

In 2005, forest cover, including managed and degraded forests, was estimated at 11.2 million ha, of which 0.6 million ha was classified forests. This represents 8% of the national territory.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

The strategic objectives focus on: a specific framework for biodiversity related sectors; the multisectoral integration of biodiversity programmes; technical models of integrated management; and further research and adequate use of results. The strategy covers 16 priority themes, such as wild fauna, energy, agriculture, territory planning, water management, community participation, traditional knowledge and spiritual values, and environmental emergencies. In addition, the action plan focuses on 7 projects related to: alternatives to conventional energy sources; conservation of genetic resources; sustainable use of ecosystems; monitoring of the constitutive biodiversity elements; capacity building and institutional support; biotechnologies and biosafety; and information, education and dissemination of biodiversity information.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

Niger is committed to achieving the 2010 target through its Rural Development Strategy adopted in November 2003, which contains 10 structural programmes and 4 sectoral priority programmes. The action plan of this strategy was adopted in October 2006. The strategy takes into consideration some of the objectives relating to protected areas, reduction in the loss of certain species, sustainable exploitation of resources, restrictions for commercial trade of threatened species, reduction of habitat degradation, adaptation to climate change, reduction of pollution, etc. Also, regarding alien species, a specific programme has been established to fight the invasion of the water jacinth. On the judicial front, dispositions for the protection of wild fauna and flora are taken through the creation or revision of legal texts such as the: framework law on ranching; law N°98-007 on hunting and fauna protection regimes; law N°98-042 on the fishing regime; ordinance N°97-001 on the institutionalisation of environmental impact assessments; law N°2004-040 on the forest regime; and framework law N°98-56 on environmental management. On the basis of this framework law, several regulatory texts are being drafted to ensure sustainable management of Niger’s environment. In order to combat poverty in riverside populations in protected areas, the State yielded the management of certain tourist camps directly to local populations.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

Specific plans and strategies, such as Rural Development Strategy and its action plan, include objectives related to protected areas in regard to five of the work programmes: agricultural biodiversity, inland water biodiversity, arid and sub-humid land biodiversity, forest biodiversity, and mountain biodiversity (Niger being a continental country). Within Niger’s protected areas, special attention was given to some threatened species such as the giraffe, the West African River Manatee, the Addax and the fauna of the W Park and the Aïr Ténéré reserves. Protection reinforcement and resource valorisation is carried out through some projects and programmes such as: ECOPAS, WAP, COGERAT, etc. The most significant impact is the involvement of riverside populations in the management of protected areas as a result of Niger’s participatory approach and the accountability of local populations through decentralisation. In 2005, a study on the identification of human and institutional resources capacity building needs for the implementation of in-situ conservation measures and sustainable use of biodiversity was completed. A regional capacity building programme on protected areas is currently being carried out. Niger implemented information and outreach activities aimed at riverside populations in protected areas for the sustainable management of resources. There are also some activities related to resource knowledge, such as bird inventories in wetlands and creation of observation networks for certain threatened species.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

A study on the evaluation of capacity building needs in regard to this article has been undertaken in 2005. Objectives related to article 8(j) have been taken into consideration in national strategies related to biodiversity and rural development. The State supports traditional practitioners in the promotion of innovations and traditional knowledge. Representatives of indigenous groups are members of the national commission on biodiversity and are thus involved in discussions. Finally, within the National Auto Evaluation of Capacity for Reinforcement project, the capacity reinforcement of stakeholders in traditional knowledge preservation and valorization was recognized as a priority activity for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme