Village forests mostly date from after 1992, when the slogan “8000 villages, 8000 forest” was launched. Their number has grown steadily since then. They are managed by committees, groups or village associations within the framework of collaboration with state services (especially those responsible for the environment) and decentralized communities since the advent of these. The forty-three (43) village forests identified and documented represent 2,710 ha or 63.04 ha on average. Documentation consists of the collection and analysis of detailed data on the forests considered.
The customary village authorities are the main actors in the governance and management of ICCAs and protected areas in Burkina Faso. They are directly involved in almost all cases (sacred woods) and indirectly through their positioning in positions of responsibility within formal structures such as village management committees, village groups, associations, decentralization bodies.
However, these remarkable conservation areas are threatened by forms of degradation inherent in various phenomena such as climate change, demographic growth or the development of large construction sites, in particular road construction works, dams, installation of mines. gold, etc. Non-conservation practices such as charring and extensive slash and burn agriculture exacerbate the severity of the situation. The absence of a legal framework which specifically protects them constitutes their exposure to all of these increasingly increased risks of deterioration.
The local authorities and systems of governance of ICCAs and protected areas that have enabled their preservation over the centuries need to be adequately supported so that they can still fulfill their environmental, social and economic functions. To this end, four (4) major recommendations can be drawn from the analyzes made by the populations:
1) maintaining recognition of the decision-making rights of communities over their ICCAs and their protected areas through the adoption of legal texts and consistent practices on the part of government authorities, municipalities and private companies;
2) support to communities so that they organize themselves so as to be more effective in defending their ICCAs and their protected areas at local and supra-local level (regional, national, etc.);
3) support for communities in carrying out physical actions that they deem relevant for the protection and enhancement of their ICCAs and their protected areas for their well-being as well as for the conservation of biological diversity; 4) the census and documentation of ICCAs and protected areas in Burkina Faso.
One of NATUDEV’s privileged areas remains the conservation of protected areas. NATUDEV’s actions concern the main categories of protected areas that Burkina Faso has, namely national parks, wildlife reserves, hunting concessions, game ranches, classified forests.
NATUDEV contributes to the conservation of protected areas through the improvement of relations between neighboring communities and state administrations in the sense of an increased place for populations in decision-making, conservation actions and access to natural resources and the benefits arising from their operation.
It supports the negotiation process of agreements (formal and informal) of collaboration between these actors (signature of agreements for sharing responsibilities and benefits, recognition of user rights), transfer of skills to the benefit of communities and villages, awareness and training sessions for protected areas and communities (knowledge of legislation, concerns of the different parties, etc.).
NATUDEV is active in the field of conservation of protected areas. She is convinced that the conservation of protected areas cannot be done without the participation of communities at the grassroots. This is why it has focused on developing the skills of local residents. NATUDEV helps them to form locally and legally recognized organizations, initiates training, exchange visits with them and technically assists them in carrying out their activities. By way of example, it has contributed, with its partners, to improving the capacities of municipal and village actors in the municipalities of Po and Guiaro for an increased role in the governance and management of the PONASI complex through a coherent whole activities, namely:
* General meetings of the villages bordering the wildlife migration corridor between the Po National Park and the Nazinga Game Ranch within the Pô-Nazinga-Sissili protected area complex (PONASI) in the South-Central Region of Burkina Faso (Nahouri Province)
* Holding of municipal sessions of Guiaro and Po on the legal recognition of said corridor
* Constitution of village associations and an inter-village association for the management of said corridor around its periphery
* Floristic and fauna inventory of corridor 1 of PONASI
* Ten master’s theses on the said corridor and its periphery (in sociology, geography, agronomy, plant biology, economics)
* A report from a Water and Forest Inspector on the said corridor
* A participatory development and management plan with an Environmental and Social Impact Notice (PAGEP / NIES) for the corridor (writing in progress on 07/01/2020)
* Reshaping of the perimeter track of said corridor
* Fixing of indicative and awareness panels around the said corridor