Benin’s government with the help of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently launched a restoration of Mangroves Ecosystem and Forest protection pilot programme.
The project began with an awareness seminar on the importance of mangroves in biodiversity balance.
The programme aims to contribute to the welfare and food security of local populations.
“We know that these resources are increasingly threatened by logging and degradation. They must therefore restore those ecosystem to also promote the maintenance of biodiversity and the production of goods and services, that these resources are used for, to provide for the population,” said Dr. Antoine Elie Padonou, FAO Consultant.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) last year warned that 70% of the mangroves of Benin will disappear if nothing is done, with many implications including the destruction of fishing and spawning grounds.
Project Coordinator, Arnaud Quenum sustainability is at the heart of this initiative.
“We’re not saying that at the end of this two-year project, the entire mangroves will be restored. Not at all. We will initiate their restoration and awareness amongst the population so that they restore the mangroves themselves, to a point where the plants can survive the environment.”
FAO has injected nearly about 350,000 US dollars into the project. The UN agency is also providing technical expertise.
According to academics, the strong presence of traditional culture, religion and use of traditional management in Benin also contribute to the management of aquatic resources including mangroves.
FAO says the religious beliefs of many of the local populations living in the areas where these mangroves grow, often contribute to their conservation.