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Senegal - Main Details

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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Senegal is located 14 degrees north of the Equator on Africa’s west coast and influenced by three climatic zones (sahelian, sudanian, guinean). It has six ecogeographical zones and four main ecosystems (forest, agricultural, river and lake, marine and coastal) and a group of more particular ecosystems which accommodate a very rich variety of plants and animals. Yet due to human activities and deteriorating climatic conditions, including prolonged rainfall deficits, most ecosystems are being degraded. This trend is particularly well illustrated with respect to forest ecosystems where a loss of about 40,000 hectares occurred annually between 2005 and 2010. The exploitation of wood fuel products alone accounts for a loss of 4 million cubic metres each year. Habitat degradation is a serious threat to the survival of several animal species. In terms of terrestrial wildlife, this applies to the West African Red Colobus (a species of Old World monkey), the elephant, the lion and Giant eland, among other species.

Agricultural resources are the main source of food, employment and income for over 65% of the population and contributed 48.7% to the primary sector’s GDP in 2012. The main crops are rice, millet, maize, groundnuts, sorghum, cotton and cowpea that are heavily dependent on rainfall conditions. Irrigated agriculture has however been strongly developed for rice and sugarcane. Agriculture also supplies raw materials for processing industries, such as oil mills, textile mills and confectionery product manufacturing. Livestock resources comprise sheep, goats and cattle mainly and in 2012 contributed 4.2% towards the total GDP and 28.8% towards the GDP of the primary sector, while also ensuring the livelihoods of 30% of rural households. Thirteen agroforestry parks exist in Senegal that are however being progressively degraded which has led to a steady decline in production.

The fishery is also important to the national economy and contributes to improving the trade balance. In 2012, this sector contributed 7.5% towards the GDP of the primary sector and 2.2% towards the total GDP. It also generates direct and indirect jobs for 17% of the working population. Of note is the fact that the impacts of climate change have caused many farmers to turn to the fishery for their livelihoods. This has led to an increase in the numbers of artisanal fishermen while also threatening fishery resources. In some aquatic environments, in addition to resources being overexploited, new environmental conditions have been created by certain activities (for example, the establishment of dams in the Senegal River delta zone has favored the proliferation of certain species, such as Typha domingensis). In marine and coastal ecosystems, the high value placed on certain species, overfishing and an increase in population along the coast are negatively impacting resources (such factors have led to the country’s iconic white grouper being threatened today). The mangrove ecosystem is a characteristic of the country’s main estuaries and notably today is experiencing positive momentum after having negatively evolved for a long period.

Located in the Senegal River delta, the Djoudj National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an important wintering site for nearly three million migratory birds from Europe and Africa (for over a million birds, this constitutes the first stopover site after crossing the Sahara). Despite the environmental changes brought about by the construction of the Diama and Manantali dams, this wetland ecosystem has retained its different habitat types (wet to dry cycles). The Niayes is a strip of land along the northern coastline between Dakar and Saint Louis that is unique in terms of its exceptional bioclimatic and hydrological conditions, consisting of waterlogged flooded depressions created by fluctuations in the water table during the year. This feature allows for the formation of temporary or permanent marshes which constitute wetlands with high biodiversity potential. This area’s importance is also based on the presence of threatened or endangered, endemic or rare species. Unfortunately, this land is degraded today mainly as a result of droughts and anthropogenic factors.

Tourism is directly linked to biodiversity resources and contributes 4.06% towards the GDP. Among the medicinal plants sold, around 140 species are used in traditional medicine.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Ecosystem degradation is the result of a combination of factors that varies according to ecosystem type. The main factors are identified as overexploitation of biological resources, overgrazing, farmland expansion, bush fires, salinization/acidification, pollution and invasive species. Their impacts are accentuated by factors such as unfavorable climatic conditions, socio-economic, legal, institutional and scientific constraints, mining exploitation and urbanization.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Senegal’s first NBSAP was developed in 1998 and succeeded in establishing structures to support implementation, such as the National Committee on Biodiversity, Coordination Unit, National Focal Points and the National CHM. An analysis however revealed a low level of NBSAP implementation overall due to institutional, financial, technical, legal and scientific constraints.

Activities to revise and update the NBSAP, while taking into account the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Targets, began in September 2012. The revised NBSAP will contain a vision to 2030, 4 strategic directions, and 10 national targets focused on: strengthening biodiversity information collection; developing biodiversity research; taking advantage of knowledge on biodiversity; strengthening ecosystem resilience capacity; improving conservation; mainstreaming in development policies and strategies; promoting good biodiversity governance; valuation of ecosystem goods and services; promoting a legislative and regulatory framework for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits; promoting corporate social responsibility for biodiversity conservation.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Examples of actions are highlighted below (this list is not exhaustive):

Various actors, including the State, NGOs and environmental protection associations, are carrying out actions on biodiversity education, training, awareness-raising at various levels, including schools, universities, civil society, parliament, policy makers, among others.

The number of protected areas has increased which has served to strengthen the protected areas network; moreover a system for sustainably managing biological resources has been developed.

National strategies to conserve the lion and Giant eland have been developed.

Actions have been taken to address issues associated with pollution and invasive species.

Projects have been implemented on ecosystem services valuation.

Forest plantations have been completed and are dominated by species such as Casuarina equisetifolia, Western Anacardium and Eucalyptus camaldulensis. These plantations play a very important role from ecological and economic standpoints.

Private or community cashew plantations have also been established through forestry projects. Figures prepared in 2006 ranked Senegal as the seventh largest producer of cashews in Africa. This accounts for a large share of additional revenue sources for more than 100,000 people living in both rural and urban areas engaged in production, collection, transport, post-harvest, processing and export activities.

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Senegal has adopted a Biosafety Law, prepared a draft Framework Law on Biodiversity and a draft Law on the Coastal Zone. A National Policy on Wetlands has been developed, as has a National Strategy for Marine Protected Areas and on Plant Genetic Resources. Certain codes have also been revised (e.g. Forestry Code, Hunting and Wildlife Protection Code).

Biodiversity has been effectively integrated into national policies, particularly in national plans, such as the National Strategy for Socioeconomic Development, and in sectoral and intersectoral policies. Senegal has also developed a ten-year Action Plan on Methods of Sustainable Production and Consumption, and is promoting a policy of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for biodiversity conservation. Efforts are also noted in the field of spatial planning, industry, mining and tourism.

Senegal has ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, established a National Biosafety Authority and a National Biosafety Committee. The country is a signatory to the Nagoya Protocol on ABS and has developed a National Strategy on ABS.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Senegal recognizes the need to establish and operationalize a framework for monitoring actions carried out to implement the Convention to 2020. To ensure its effectiveness, this framework must be multisectoral and have a clear mandate. Financial resources must also be mobilized for these activities.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme