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Niger - Country Profile

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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.

Niger is a landlocked country in the Sahelian region of Western Africa that has witnessed an accelerated level of biodiversity degradation over the last three decades, due to drought and anthropogenic factors. Approximately 84% of the country’s population relies on the agricultural sector for employment and subsistence. In 2010, this sector contributed up to 45.2% towards the GDP (29.5% agriculture, 11% livestock, 4.6% forestry and fishing).

Agrobiodiversity production in Niger is dominated by cereals (e.g. millet, sorghum, rice, corn, wheat, fonio) and cash crops (e.g. cowpea, groundnut, onion, sesame, sorrel, tomato, cotton). A study completed in 2008 revealed that the export of these products represented 16% of the country’s total exports. However, threats to agrobiodiversity are leading to a decline in the production potential of agroforestry ecosystems, species and varieties. Livestock resources include cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses, poultry, accounting for 62% of export earnings in the rural sector and 21% of all exports. The current rate of livestock exploitation however remains considerably low (only 10%) and could be raised to a higher level with substantial opportunity for improvement in earnings. Livestock is threatened at present by habitat modification linked to, for example, the drying up of Lake Chad; nomadic pastoralism is less productive as a result of poor rainfall distribution, overgrazing, land and population pressures; and certain breeding practices have led to genetic degeneration. In spite of there being distinct improvement in protected areas coverage, the general trend for wildlife biodiversity is marked by habitat degradation and a decline in species diversity (which is also linked to revenue losses in the ecotourism sector).

Forest biological diversity (especially forest ecosystems) is in an advanced state of degradation due to several factors, such as the advancing agricultural front, bush fires, lack of or inadequate management plans, exploitation of immature fruits and climate change. The current situation is characterized by plant regression and a decrease in plant diversity. Niger’s waters cover an area of around 410,000 hectares and are rich in fish, crustaceans, mollusks and algae. However, droughts combined with human actions have led to a gradual impoverishment of fish resources. A reduction in flood areas and overfishing, among other factors, have led to a decline in production and made it difficult to renew stocks. Data collected at various intervals between 1970 and 2010 highlight significant fluctuations in catch size.

The forest products sector that is the most developed and best tracked is the commercial wood energy sector, generating both public and individual revenues. The implementation of village forest management has had positive impacts on this sector and in reducing poverty.

A study prepared in 2010 revealed that a total of 46,337 ornamental plants were sold for income.

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.

Threats to Niger’s biodiversity are characterized as anthropogenic and natural. Direct and indirect anthropogenic threats include poor agricultural practices, poaching, habitat degradation or destruction, overexploitation of wildlife, pollution. Natural threats are mainly related to climatic contingencies which themselves are secondary to declining rainfall levels, recurrent droughts, poor distribution of rainfall over time and space and extreme temperatures.

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.

The preparation of the second edition of Niger’s Stratégie Nationale et Plan d'Actions sur la Diversité Biologique, adopted in 2014, was guided by the objectives of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020) and the National Plan for Social and Economic Development (2012-2015). Niger has undertaken measures to mainstream biodiversity, integrally or partially, in several additional planning frameworks, including the National Environmental Plan for Sustainable Development and the Strategy for the Initiative on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agricultural Development. Gender consideration is set down as a principle in the new NBSAP. A decentralized bottom-up approach to implementation is being promoted. It is anticipated that the main impact of implementation will be a reduction in the level of poverty for Niger’s population.

The revised NBSAP contains 5 strategic objectives that have been mapped to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets: i) conserve and sustainably exploit ecosystems, species and genetic resources; ii) reduce various forms of pollution; iii) improve and develop tools for managing protected areas; iv) take into account biodiversity in policies and strategies; v) address the effects of climate change. Eighty actions have been formulated, along with associated responsible actors, indicators, verification sources, costs per year (including funding gaps), hypotheses and risks.

The total estimated cost of NBSAP implementation to 2020 is FCFA 420 647 660 000. Needs regarding capacity-building and access to technologies for implementing the new NBSAP have been identified, as have activities required to increase levels of communication and public awareness. Niger intends to adopt a system for monitoring and evaluation based on the principles of Results-based Management (RBM).

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.

Seven protected areas exist today comprising 14.29% of the national territory. Management units have been created for all protected areas and a co-management approach for five protected areas has been implemented as has a management plan for Park W. Additionally, a management agreement has been adopted for the Aïr and Ténéré National Nature Reserve and management plans for wetlands developed. Furthermore, the National Nature Reserve of Termit and Tin Toumma has been established. There are also 12 designated Ramar sites in Niger. Regarding urban and peri-urban forestry, many plantations (including the Niamey Green Belt comprising 2,500 hectares) have been established by the State, communities, projects (including private) and often with local populations.

Niger has developed a ten-year plan on methods for sustainable consumption and production.

Microfinance institutions have been created in the agricultural sector. The private sector is being encouraged to invest in ex situ conservation (conventional breeding). In addition, the development of market chains for gum Arabic and palm leaves, among other products, is being promoted.

Niger has established a National Forest Seed Centre, and also possesses a gene bank containing over 5000 entries with 4000 accessions of major crops (e.g. millet, sorghum, cowpea). A strategy and action plan for sustainable livestock development has been adopted, and local livestock breeds are being genetically improved through the implementation of a national improvement program.

The country has also implemented its Master Plan for Traditional Medicine and conducted phytochemical analyses on medicinal plant species. Traditional knowledge is being taken into consideration in national policies and strategies, notably in the National Sanitation Plan (2011-2015), which envisions the integration of traditional medicine in the health system. Niger is a signatory to the Nagoya Protocol and is currently engaged in activities regarding its ratification.

Three observatories have been established at the Aïr and Ténéré National Nature Reserve, the National Nature Reserve of Termit and Tin Toumma and the Tamou Total Wildlife Reserve.

Tree studies recently conducted in certain parklands point to the successful outcomes of assisted natural regeneration activities undertaken by NGOs.

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.

In 2010, Niger adopted an Ordinance on the Water Code. Niger has also adopted a decree promoting the use of butane gas.

Niger has undertaken measures to mainstream biodiversity, integrally or partially, in several planning frameworks, including the National Environmental Plan for Sustainable Development and the Strategy for the Initiative on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agricultural Development.

Niger has achieved good progress in regard to raising awareness of biodiversity issues, to which the NGO community has contributed significantly. Modules on biodiversity information and awareness-raising for teachers and students have been developed and administered. Training has been provided on assessing the economic value of biodiversity, and an information-sharing workshop was held on environmental evaluation and accounting. Niger has also taken efforts to increase awareness about the Law on Pastoralism (2010) and has operationalized its National CHM. A network of environmental journalists has also been created.

Human resource capacity and infrastructure have been improved with regard to fisheries and aquaculture, with the participation of the population in the management of water and aquatic resources being promoted nowadays. Training programmes have been conducted for local populations on various topics related to invasive species, including how to conduct economic valuations on these species, and in the use of biological control agents.

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.

Niger recognizes the need to put in place mechanisms, including internal and external components, to monitor and evaluate NBSAP implementation.

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  • United Nations Environment Programme