Burkina Faso has a tropical climate with two distinct seasons: rainy and dry. Land is diverse in the country and classified into the following categories: forests, agricultural ecosystems, pastoral ecosystems, wetlands, urban areas, mountain ecosystems and conservation areas. The ecosystems host a large variety of species including 128 species of mammals, 516 species of birds, 60 species of reptile and amphibians, 121 fish species, 1,515 species of insects and 1,951 species of flora . Furthermore, Burkina Faso possesses interesting sites such as the Pics de Sindou, the Karfiguela Waterfall, the Sacred Dafra Pond and Lake Tengréla. In addition, the Hippopotamus Pond and the Oursi Pond have been established as Ramsar sites .
Despite this, since the 1970s, as most of the Sahelian countries, Burkina Faso has experienced endemic drought, with the most serious droughts occurring in the periods 1972-1974 and 1983-1984. Drought has exacerbated the loss of vegetation and biodiversity and is caused in part by the pressure on land resources from demographic growth, increasing population density, expansion of agriculture, and periodic overstocking and overgrazing of livestock. Other environmental threats include uncontrolled bush fires, erosion from wind and water and loss of soil nutrients .
Burkina Faso’s ecosystems and species are thus being threatened with five species being Critically Endangered according to the IUCN Red List, namely: the Lion, the African Wild Dog, the Rueppell’s Griffon, the Slender-snouted Crocodile and the Western Chimpanzee .
Burkina Faso’s biodiversity is being eroded mainly because of three types of threats: the increased rates of deforestation (4% per year according to the FAO), the reduction in freshwater bodies and wetlands, and the decreased yields from agricultural systems. Drastic droughts, together with harmful human activities, have greatly contributed to the degradation of agricultural soils .
One of the main threats to agro-biodiversity is climate change, which leads farmers to adopt adapted varieties and plant species to the detriment of local species which often turn out to have significant genetic diversity .
Key policies and governance approach
Burkina Faso’s policies, strategies and plans are align with the commitments made by the country at the national, sub-regional (West Africa), regional and international level.
One of the main biodiversity-related documents developed by the country is the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP), adopted in 2001 and revised in 2010, is to ensure that populations manage biodiversity in a sustainable manner by 2025. Under the Convention on Biological Diversity, it emphasizes the need to motivate the population to preserve species and restore habitats and manage natural resources in a dynamic and sustainable manner. Specific objectives were also established, such as increasing agricultural and pastoral production; protecting and restoring renewable natural resources; ensuring that the population’s needs are fulfilled; improving the quality of the environment.
The objective of Burkina Faso’s NBSAP was to implement, realistic actions for the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity by involving populations and giving them a sense of responsibility in regard to issues .
Other related policies are the National Strategy for the Sustainable Management of Fisheries Resources (2010) with the objective of developing the country’s fish farming potential through a rational and sustainable management of fishery resources and of their habitat and the National Sustainable Development Policy (2013) with the aim of defining the overall framework of implementation for a sustainable development in the country.
At the legislative level, Burkina Faso has put several important pieces of legislation in place (e.g. Environment Code, Forestry Code, Guidance Law on Water Management; Mining Code; Law on Pesticide Control; Health Code; General Code for Local Governments; Law on the National Strategy for Genetic Improvement). The adoption of new texts and/or the rereading of old texts can be noticed, in particular of the (i) Law No. 050-2012/AN of October 30, 2012 on the regulation of interprofessional organizations in the agricultural and forestry sectors, pastoral, fisheries and wildlife in Burkina Faso; the (ii) Law No. 003-2011 of April 5, 2011 on the Forest Code and the (iii) Law No. 006-2013 of April 2, 2013 on the Environmental Code .
Biodiversity is a cross-cutting topic, and it is managed by several ministries, which areas of competences cover (i) agriculture and food security, (ii) environment and sustainable development (iii) animal and fishery resources, (iv) water, hydraulics and sanitation. The ministries with these competences are the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA), the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD) and the Ministry of Water, Hydraulic Planning and Sanitation .
Successes and remaining challenges
In Burkina Faso, actions have been taken towards the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and NBSAP implementation, the rehabilitation and restoration programmes for pastoral areas, to increased in the number of forests, fauna and pastoral areas under management; for the creation of community-managed forest areas and collective pastures, to increase community involvement in the management of biological resources, restoration programmes through afforestation initiatives, to have an integrated management of water resources, and to have agricultural designs adapted to new climatic requirements and resistance to diseases .
However, the integration of biodiversity into relevant sectoral and intersectoral strategies, plans and programs in Burkina Faso has proven to be a major challenge for the implementation of the 2011-2015 action plan . Among the major obstacles that have marked its implementation, we can mention (i) the poor consideration of biological diversity concerns in development priorities in Burkina Faso (insufficiency or even absence at the national level of a specific budget allocated to actions of the NAP/biological diversity), (ii) the absence and or dysfunction of the management bodies provided for by the CBD (National Biodiversity Committee, technical monitoring of the CBD, etc.), (iii) the insufficient staff (in quantity and quality) with regard to the cross-cutting nature of the CBD.
Initiatives and Development Plans
Burkina Faso is part of the ambitious initiative “The Great Green Wall” with the goals of restoring 100 million ha of currently degraded land, sequester 250 million tons of carbon and create 10 million green jobs . The country has the highest intervention area with 13.3 Mha. Burkina Faso, through this project, aims to increase its resilience to climate change and land restoration. The emphasis is on activities that will minimize erosion and maintain soil fertility while increasing the sustainable use of non-timber products, as well as promote revenue-generating activities for women to ensure food security for households. The country already had some key results such as 16.6 million of plants and seedlings produced, 20 383 ha of reforested lands, 250 ha of dune fixing, 29 602 ha of restored lands, 12 500 ha under ANR, approximately 2 800 km of windbreaks, 26 869 people trained on food and energy security as well as maintenance of biodiversity, 45 383 jobs created, 6.5 million USD from IGA, 51 633 improved households and 19 913 kg of seeds produced (30 woody and 13 herbaceous species) .
There have also been various efforts to strengthen capacity. For example, the Programme for Capacity Management in Mining and Environment was established to improve environmental knowledge within the mining sector.
Goals and Ambitions
Burkina Faso believes that wealth and natural resources belong to the people and they should be used for improving living conditions. This belief is central to poverty alleviation through biodiversity conservation .
The issue of environmental governance and particularly the National Strategy and Action Plan on of biological diversity in Burkina Faso should judiciously be based on:
- Existing integrated policies and intersectoral synergies (synergies between conventions)
- The definition of a strategy for seeking sustainable financing (State, PTF, financing of Conventions and Initiatives available at the available at the international level);
- Institutional management based on the CONEDD (in relation to the stakeholders), for implementation and monitoring and evaluation;
- A capitalization, communication and dissemination component (including = national reports on the implementation of the Convention);
- Sub-regional and international cooperation (CILSS, Liptako-Gourma Authority, Basin Agencies, etc.), especially in the area of scientific research and valorization of results.
 CBD. Burkina Faso - Main Details.
 Mongabay Website. List of Critically Endangered species in Burkina Faso.
Ministere De L’environnement Et Du Developpement Durable, Secretariat Permanent Du Conseil
National Pour L’environnement Et Le Developpement Durable (2011). Plan D’action National 2011-2015 Du Burkina Faso Pour La Mise En Œuvre De La Convention Sur La Diversite Biologique.