Improving Governance of Natural Resources in the Periphery of National Park W in Benin


Improved livelihood security of poor communities neighbouring National Park W and sustainable and decentralised governance of natural resources


Background and activities

This sub-project focuses on the economic potential and management of  W National Park. It is a transboundary park shared by Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso and is located on the W-shaped part of the Niger River. The area found in Benin measures 563,280ha. 

The W National Park is currently experiencing biodiversity loss largely due to unsustainable natural resource extraction. The Park's management plan needs to be updated and does not currently cover the entire periphery. At least 200,000 people live in and around the Park and there is persistent conflict between herders, local farmers and park managers.  

Although there are several community hunting zones in the buffer area surrounding the Park, food and economic security is still lacking in these communities. Natural resource use is highly regulated by authorities and there is no decentralised mechanism in place for overall governance of the Park. Improved management regimes and income generating options would therefore help in alleviating poverty and other livelihood stresses.

The main goals of this sub-project are to decentralise decision-making structures and increase economic opportunities for local communities. This will allow them have a greater voice through participatory natural resource management and feel the benefits of conservation.

IUCN and its partners will sensitise communities to these issues by  leading workshops, providing active communication tools, and assisting in other activities aimed at facilitating dialogue and collaborative management of natural resources by farmers and other stakeholders in the buffer and transition areas of the Park.

This sub-project will also implement initiatives to develop eco-tourism ventures and improve farming practices of local communities. This increase in food and economic security will allow for reduced pressure on the Park's natural resources and promote livelihoods in the area.



Functioning decentralised and participatory mechanisms for natural resource management will be put in place and conflict over natural resource use between community members and authorities will be alleviated .

With help from its partners in Benin, IUCN will enhance the capacities of local officials and communities to manage natural resources and engage in transparent and participatory governance of natural resources.

As a result of eco-tourism development and implementation of sustainable farming practices, communities will have improved access to sustainable livelihood options and income generation.



IUCN- PACO provides technical support, guidance and leads monitoring and evaluation processes.

Benin-based organisations include:

The National Centre for Wildlife Management (or Centre National de Gestion des Réserves de la Faune - CENAGREF) is the main local technical assistant for this sub-project.

The Association of Civil Communities in the Protected Areas of  the W National Park and the Séri Zone (Association des Communes Riveraines aux Aires Protégées du Parc W et de la Zone de Séri - ACRAP/WS) are in charge of community training and promoting multi-level communication between farmers and other stakeholders.

Village Associations for the Management of Wildlife Reserves (or  Associations Villageoise de Gestion des Reserves de Faune -AVIGREF) are targets for capacity building and the development of effective governance following decentralised resource management.