The marine and coastal zone of Benin constitutes the habitat of a very rich and diversified fauna which shelters endemic species including the red-bellied monkey (Cercopithecus erythrogaster), a population of African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis), four species of sea turtles, cetaceans (whales and dolphins). Nearly 60% of the fish species known in Africa exist in Benin’s coastal water. The avian fauna is made up of more than 60 families grouping more than a hundred species.
With this rich biological diversity, the marine and coastal zone of Benin is very attractive for the development of several socio-economic activities. Unfortunately, this zone and its ecosystem face many threats due to anthropic and natural actions. In view of these stakes and challenges, Benin has taken the initiative to join forces around an international and regional strategy to preserve its marine and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations. This noble vision is expressed through the ratification of environmental conventions, particularly the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Abidjan Convention.
This report on the State of the Marine Environment in Benin (BENIN-SoME) has diagnosed the issues that undermine the efforts of successive governments in the sustainable management of Benin’s marine and coastal resources. It is observed that many factors are hindering the effective implementation of legislation on the sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems. Among other obstacles, the lack of knowledge of the texts in force, and the absence of synergy of actions between the different institutions in charge of the management of coastal and marine areas must be corrected. Likewise, certain legal provisions are obsolete and deserve to be updated. This is the case, for example, of the framework law on the environment, the hygiene code, etc. It is therefore legitimate to examine this situation in order to identify and correct persistent irregularities.
This report, after a physical presentation of the Beninese marine and coastal environment, addressed the following points: (i) a socio-economic and institutional overview of the environment; (ii) the human and natural pressures on marine and coastal ecosystems; (iii) an assessment of the state of the environment; (iv) possible resource management options.
Following the elaboration of the report on the identification and description of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) of Benin in 2019, the Report on the State of the Marine Environment of Benin (BENIN-SoME) is part of the Government Action Program (PAG) 2016-2021, particularly its strategic axis 7, entitled “balanced and sustainable development of the national space”.
The production of the BENIN-SoME was made possible thanks to the funding of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the technical support of GRID-Arendal, the Secretariat of the Abidjan Convention and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to whom the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development expresses its gratitude.
Prof. Martin Pépin AÏNA, Managing Director for Environment and Climate
The full report (in French) can be found here: Benin SoME report