Regional Governance of Protected Areas in West Africa.

The overall objective of the PAPBio program, in which the action described in this grant application form is included, is to promote endogenous, sustainable and inclusive economic development that meets the challenges of climate change. Specifically, the program should achieve integrated protection of biodiversity and fragile ecosystems and enhanced resilience to climate change through improved regional governance of transboundary protected areas and biodiversity.
To this end, a grant has been awarded to IUCN for a Regional Coordination Management action (Component 2 - Regional Governance). This grant aims to promote regional governance mechanisms for natural ecosystems and landscapes, the management of protected areas, the promotion of regional conservation and sustainable development policies and the management of the PAPBio funding agreement. This regional dynamic will allow different actors (regional bodies, national administrations in charge of protected areas, riparian communities dependent on natural resources, local organizations and civil society) to improve the effectiveness of management of transboundary ecosystems and protected areas, share their experiences and knowledge and promote good practices. In addition, it will benefit the populations through the acceleration of the implementation of adaptation measures to climate change as well as in the fight against environmental crime that degrades ecosystems, weakens governance and generates insecurity.
The proposed action is consistent with the priorities identified in the action document for the Protection of the Environment, Biodiversity and the Fight against Climate Change in West Africa of the Regional Indicative Program of the 11th European Development Fund, responding to result area 3, objective 3.2 of the RIP. The action is in line with the environmental policies and strategies of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as with the EU strategic framework by contributing to the specific objectives of the Environment and Climate Change thematic area of the Global Public Goods and Challenges program. The action is also in line with the 2030 Agenda by contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13, 14 and 15, as well as to the Aichi Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and in the achievement of the strategic and operational goals of the 4th Strategic Plan 2016-2024 of the RAMSAR Convention. It also contributes to other SDGs and targets that address the links between human societies, ecosystem health and sustainability. The action also addresses the priorities of the European Union conservation strategy Beyond Elephants, in particular, the key areas for conservation WAF01 to 7; WAF 12 to 17; WAF 20. The action is also in line with and contributes directly to the IUCN's 2017-2020 quadrennial program, in particular Area 1 Valuing and conserving nature and Area 2 Promoting and supporting effective and equitable governance of natural resources. This action will be implemented in compliance with the gender equity promoted by the EU and IUCN in their respective gender-related policies.

2. general description of the approach
The proposed project scales up, at the regional level, the ongoing action of the European Union, WAEMU and IUCN in the W zone and then WAP with the ECOPAS (9th EDF, ACP, 2001-2005), W-UNOPS and PAPE (10th EDF, PIR, 2011 - 2012) projects. The project's generic intervention will thus focus on facilitating the implementation and monitoring of WAEMU and ECOWAS cross-sectoral policies, particularly environmental and water resources policies. This approach will make it possible to strengthen the foundations and boost and sustain cooperation between countries in the management of transboundary areas to ensure the continuity and sustainability of regional governance mechanisms.
The approach to implementing regional governance involves a participatory multi-actor process, which guarantees the legitimacy and effective adoption of the project's achievements in national strategies and policies. This governance project therefore requires a strong mobilization of actors through physical meetings and technical and thematic meetings necessary to involve state representatives and ministries, to make the initiatives legitimate and sustainable and to ensure the adoption of pilot studies and national ownership. The actions presented in this document will be implemented by IUCN and are the result of a collaborative process that spans several decades.
In this perspective, the action will intervene at different levels to ensure that all the issues related to regional governance are addressed in an integrated manner and at different scales:
At the regional level: Studies conducted through previous programs, such as BIOPAMA or the Support Program for the Parks of the Agreement (PAPE), have shown that the legal and technical tools, as well as the institutional, financial and operational capacities in the ECOWAS space, need to be updated and strengthened to allow for the sustainable and effective management of important transboundary landscapes. Thus, the action will (i) support regional integration institutions (UEMOA and ECOWAS) and protected area managers in strengthening operational mechanisms to improve management efficiency and optimize governance of ecosystems and natural landscapes and transboundary protected areas; (ii) strengthen operational institutional frameworks and mechanisms for the production and exchange of information on biodiversity conservation, mechanisms for coordination, consultation and harmonized and joint action (iii) support the implementation of the West African Forest Convergence Plan in synergy with the PAPFor; (iv) support the operationalization of the regional consultation mechanism on integrated ecosystem management (MRC-GIE) in West Africa; (v) strengthen the regional framework for sustainable development of natural capital (vi) support the operationalization of the Regional Observatory of Protected Areas in synergy with BIOPAMA and based on existing regional information systems; and (vii) ensure the monitoring and coordination of actions and contracts of the PAPBio financing agreement. This will contribute to the harmonization of institutional and regulatory frameworks and legal and policy tools for protected area (PA) management.
At the level of transboundary landscapes: The action will promote landscape approaches in the planning and management of transboundary ecosystems and protected areas, with a view to strengthening and optimizing transboundary coordination, ensuring more integrated management to better resolve conflicts and manage competition. Thus, it will (i) develop and deploy, in synergy with the Regional Observatory of Protected Areas established within the framework of BIOPAMA, tools for monitoring management effectiveness; (ii) improve the development of skills and management of human resources in conservation and transboundary management; (iii) contribute to preventing the extinction of the most threatened species; (iv) contribute to the enhancement of natural capital; (v) and finally, contribute to the fight against environmental crime. The deployment of these management effectiveness monitoring tools will thus make available and accessible data and information on biodiversity to support decision-making and evaluate progress in achieving the conservation and management objectives of the protected areas. The administrations in charge of protected areas will also see their capacities strengthened in order to improve their role in the management of transboundary landscapes.

The numbering of the results is the same as in the CF PAPBio (4 to 7).
Result 4: West Africa has an operational and effective management system for protected areas and their peripheral zones. The proposed action will lead to the establishment and operationalization of a regional coordination and management system for protected areas and their peripheral zones in West Africa:

a structure in charge of putting in coherence and operationalizing a regional framework of functioning in network of protected areas;
a strengthened and more effective RAMPAO as a regional mechanism for marine and coastal conservation, supported by a policy dialogue and multi-actor specifically dedicated to the promotion of MPAs
An information system that allows for the collection, processing/analysis, storage, reporting and communication, and monitoring of the state of the environment and climate change;
a mechanism for coordinating and monitoring the integration of biodiversity and protected areas into regional sectoral policies and/or strategies;
a regional capacity for ecosystem-based natural capital accounting to provide the region with an up-to-date knowledge base on the quality of transboundary ecosystems and protected areas and the potential and value of their multiple services to the environment and society; and
the provision of a harmonized reporting system for the benefit of all protected areas in the region. The action will work to connect the elements of this system so that it provides data and information for decision making regarding the management of protected areas and their peripheral zones.

Result 5: Experiences, knowledge and skills are exchanged and capitalized at the territorial, national and regional levels. On the one hand, the proposed action will lead to (i) the establishment of a virtual hub that will be a space for collaboration and virtual exchanges between the actors of conservation and management of protected areas (politicians, experts and professionals, local actors, communities and other actors of civil society), of valorization of practices, experiences; ii) the emergence of a community of practice on the conservation and management of protected areas which will be composed of key actors (politicians, experts and professionals, local actors, communities and other actors of the civil society) who will meet virtually through the hub and physically through meetings and exchange visits
On the other hand, the proposed action will lead to the establishment of: i) a harmonized curriculum and training devices for ecoguards; ii) a regional training curriculum, supported by a scholarship system for managers, and iii) an accreditation and certification system sanctioning the training of managers and professionals of protected areas.
Result 6: Cooperation in the fight against environmental crime is strengthened and the security of conservation areas is improved. On the one hand, the action will lead to the establishment of a regional framework for cooperation in the fight against environmental crime, the essential elements of which are: (i) a database; (ii) periodic reports allowing for a better characterization of environmental crime; and (iii) units in the chain of control and surveillance strengthened in the fight against environmental crime
Résultat 7 : Suivi du programme PAPBio
On the other hand, the action will lead to the formulation and multi-stakeholder validation of proposals for the harmonization and strengthening of legal frameworks for the fight against cross-border environmental crime.
Finally, the action will lead to the establishment of a regional capacity for the reception, translocation and ex-situ conservation of critically endangered species resulting from seizures in the fight against environmental crime.
In order to ensure the monitoring of the actions of the PAPBio funding agreement, the project will set up and support the operationalization of a harmonized monitoring system through a common results framework that will be adapted to the different local contexts. The elements of the monitoring and evaluation system will include: a common results framework; criteria for measuring progress, results and impacts; main diagnostic and evaluation instruments; selected and organized tools and methods for operationalizing the system and a monitoring plan; and a system for collecting and making available monitoring information on the PAPBio projects by the agencies involved in implementation.

monitoring information of the PAPBio projects by the agencies involved in the implementation.
The described action takes place in the 15 countries of the ECOWAS zone, in particular in the landscapes targeted by the component 1 of PAPBio. These landscapes are : The W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (WAP) in Benin, Niger and Burkina Faso, the Air and Ténéré zone in Niger, the landscape of the Gourma Elephants Reserve in Mali and Burkina Faso, and the coastal areas from Senegal to Benin. However, the project's effects will be felt particularly in the UEMOA administration in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and the ECOWAS administration in Abuja, Nigeria.
In addition to the sites subject to Component 1 investments, the project will intervene in specific sites for the implementation of pilot actions within the framework of an ecosystem services accounting (ESA) study (Lead Partner: VITO) in the transboundary protected area complexes and peripheral socio-ecological landscapes of WAPO (Parc du W, Arly, Pendjari, Oti) and the Niokolo-Koba - Foutah-Djallon Complexes
In the interest of regional coordination, institutions in charge of protected areas, the sites concerned by the PAPFor (another financing agreement planned under PIR environment 11th EDF) could be involved in the exchanges