Mano River Union Forest Ecosystem Project


  • Reference: P-Z1-C00-018
  • Appraisal Date: 31/03/2016
  • Board Presentation: 31/05/2016
  • Status: LendingLEND
  • Implementing Agency: MANO RIVER UNION
  • Location:


Programme activities will be implemented in the identified transboundary landscapes and will be based on the strategic thrusts of the MRU Joint Plan as well as national and sub-regional plans for transboundary management of natural resources in the Mano River Union States.

The programme contains the following three components:

(i) Sustainable ecosystems management

(ii) Livelihoods improvement; and

(iii) Institutional support and programme coordination.

Component 1: Sustainable ecosystems management

This component will include:

(i) support to landscape management structures comprising state biodiversity conservation and management programmes;

(ii) environmental education and communication, consisting of community dialogue and negotiations; advocacy especially regarding transboundary laws and regulations;

(iii) climate change interventions will include capacity building for institutions and communities to benefit from emerging global programmes such as REDD, and providing support for climate change interventions at the local levels. Programme activities to support landscape management structures will include - demarcation of about 100,000 ha of forests; establishment and rehabilitation of 5,000-ha forest plantations; creation of five ecological centres; establishment of 20 guards-posts; provision of equipment for forest protection activities; and training of populations in biodiversity protection and utilization. Lead agency staff will also be trained in ecological monitoring and anti-poaching interventions. Environmental education will include advocacy interventions such as compliance with international laws on biodiversity conservation and translation of legal texts; and the production of required documentation.

Climate Change interventions will include:

(i) community training on carbon credit negotiation;

(ii) national staff training on carbon stock estimation;

(iii) participation in workshops on climate change;

(iv) study tours of beneficiaries and national staff;

(v) promotion of biogas digesters; and

(vi) development of REDD sub-projects. Studies show that protecting even 1% of the wider Upper Guinea forest ecosystem (or 40 thousand km


The overall project goal is to contribute to the sustainable management of the Upper Guinea Forest Ecosystem for global ecological balance including carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation, and the improved livelihoods of local communities.

The specific objective of the project is to achieve sustainable management of the transboundary Mano River forest ecosystems and for biodiversity conservation and livelihoods improvements as well as strengthen the capacity of the Mano River Union states for that purpose.


This initiative will contribute to the rehabilitation and conservation of forest ecosystems and to the improvement of livelihoods in the target landscapes. Despite the potential wealth of natural resources in the region, a high level of poverty persists in the four target countries. Conflicts in the region have also adversely affected economic development and natural resources management. The target countries recognize the economic and environmental benefits that natural resources present and have Poverty Reduction Strategies containing economic pillars that guide the sustainable management of forest ecosystems to varying degrees. The Bank CSPs are also aligned to the PRSPs.

The combined population in the four countries is estimated at around 40 million of which over half are rural poor and depend on natural resources for sustaining their livelihoods. The economies are dominated by agriculture and forest related activities. Forest ecosystems rehabilitation and conservation will be accompanied by activities that contribute to the diversification of local economies and improvement of livelihoods. This initiative fits into the the Bank's Agricultural Sector Strategy (2010-2014) which is anchored on the NEPAD Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The CAADP which is supported by the African Union and NEPAD provides a framework for accelerating agriculture growth in Africa. The rehabilitation and conservation of the targeted forest ecosystems will contribute to CAADP Pillar 1 (Expanding the areas under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems). The project will contribute to Pillar 2 of the Bank's Agricultural Sector Strategy which focuses on renewable natural resources management.

This project responds to the objectives of promoting regional public goods and will contribute to the ECOWAS and African Union's objectives of regional integration particularly in West Africa. It will also be a response by the Bank in contributing directly to the management of transboundary forest resources and protected areas of Mano River Union Member States as stipulated in their 2012-2014 Strategic Plan. The project is of high importance in addressing environmental issues, especially in zones seriously affected by socio-political problems with displaced and suffering populations, which demand support under these very difficult contexts.

There is significant interest in reversing the degradation that has taken place in this ecosystem. The potential for economic integration and regional public goods are important areas for the Bank and for the Mano River Union member states. The forest ecosystems have a high potential for offering carbon sequestration benefits to Africa and the world. Significant opportunities for initiatives based on REDD and other climate change financing mechanisms exist and the opportunities will be tapped. In addition, the Bank is seeking partnerships and co-financing with donors such as GEF, USAID and EU who are active in supporting the forestry sub-sector in the sub-region. A GeF co-financing commitment of USD 6.3 million has already been secured. .


The project will contribute to poverty reduction through improved environmental management and sustainable management of natural resources. In addition, it will contribute to enterprise development and job creation for local communities adjacent to the forest ecosystems. The project will also contribute to improved governance in the environmental sector. Special attention will be given to the participation of women in conservation and income generating activities supported by the project. Women represent a significant proportion of the rural poor in the region and depend on these natural resources for livelihood. As primary users of forest products, they will be facilitated to participate in the enterprises supported through this project. Women will be particularly encouraged to take a leading role in project implementation as well as being part of various committees.

Key contacts

MOHAMEDAHMED Siham Abdel Rahman - RDGW1

Estimated Cost

UAC 11,500,000
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