Workshop in Abuja Agrees on Key Policies for Sustainable Land Use in West Africa

Bonn, 2 December 2016 - from 24 to 26 November 2016 a workshop on “Sustainable Land Use in West Africa: National and International Policy Responses that Deliver for Migratory Birds and People” took place in Abuja, generously hosted by the Federal Ministry of Environment of Nigeria.

The workshop brought together government representatives of Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal; UN organizations such as FAO, UNCCD and UNEP/CMS; the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); universities, research organizations and civil society (BirdLife International).

The background for the meeting is the African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan (AEMLAP) which was adopted by Resolution 11.17 at the CMS Conference of Parties in Quito in 2014) and which identifies land-use changes as one of the most relevant threats for the conservation of migratory birds in Africa. These changes are occurring rapidly and are having an impact on the habitats of migratory birds and require an integrated approach to land use management.

“Supporting the development of environmentally sound land use policies in West Africa will contribute to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and migratory birds can play a very important role as indicators of land use change. The CMS workshop held in Abuja constitutes a landmark that will foster cooperation among governments, UN agencies and other stakeholders to promote sustainable land management practices that deliver for biodiversity and people.”
Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the UNEP/CMS Secretariat

Development in West Africa is a high priority for its people, but must not be done in a way that undermines their future livelihoods by compromising sustainability. A range of land use changes are driving species declines, negatively affecting the provision of ecosystem services and reducing the ability of vulnerable people in the region to develop resilient livelihoods in the face of climate change. These include expansion and intensification of agricultural land use, loss and degradation of tree and forest cover, and declines in the extent, productivity and biodiversity of wetlands.

The workshop adopted the Abuja Declaration on Sustainable Land Use for People and Biodiversity in West Africa, which identifies the key underlying drivers of land use change, the key harmful land use changes, and examples of good sustainable management practices and approaches.  The Declaration recommends a participatory approach to land use planning and supports agro-ecological farming practices such as agroforestry, conservation agriculture, climate smart agriculture, integrated pest management and invasive species control.

Together, these issues are central to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Aichi Targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the CMS Strategic Plan.

A draft Resolution on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds, especially in relation to sustainable land use in West Africa, was also agreed and will be submitted for adoption at the CMS Conference of Parties in October 2017 in the Philippines.

“I wish to stress the fact that our role as Government is mainly catalytic, our programmes in the Ministry constitute the framework for a dynamic, evolving process for the cooperation among stakeholders. These programmes are catalysts for the involvement of entire societies and point of reference for all agents involved in the process of environmentally sustainable development in the country. I therefore urge you all to join hands with the Government towards achieving sustainable land use that benefits people and biodiversity, including our wonderful migratory birds." 
  Ms Amina J. Mohammed, Honourable Minister of Environment of Nigeria

This CMS workshop was made possible thanks to financial support granted by the Government of Switzerland.

For more information about this meeting please contact Borja Heredia, Head of the Avian Species Team, [email protected]

Last updated on 02 December 2016