The coastal strip of Benin hosts a multitude of important wetlands that are rich in fauna and flora biodiversity. The continued destruction of these aquatic ecosystems is an ecological disaster that constitutes a major environmental challenge. Faced with this issue, Benin adopted a policy for the sustainable management of its coastal and marine areas, in accordance with recommendations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Abidjan Convention. As part of the implementation of the Integrated Marine and Coastal Zone Management project (GIZMaC), one of the three Mami Wata pilot projects, a six month-long study was carried out for the development of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) in Benin.
This study was conducted in two main successive phases. The first phase, devoted to the preparation of the report, helped defining the framing of the mission between regional experts, before organizing consultative sessions with riverside committees and local authorities. The second phase involved the data collection for the identification of EBSAs. The data was collected for the identification, characterization and mapping of EBSAs in five coastal municipalities. On the basis of the CBD criteria, two EBSAs were identified and mapped:
- EBSA 1: Bouche de Roy-Togbin, located in Ramsar site 1017 west of Cotonou.
- EBSA 2: Donatin, located in Ramsar site 1018 in Cotonou East.
Importantly, these two EBSAs will lay the foundation of future new Beninese Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which will enhance the preservation of coastal and marine biodiversity, and hence sustain important ecosystem services the local communities rely on for their livelihoods and well-being.
The full report (in French) can be found here: Description of the EBSAs in South Benin Report