First West African Mountain Forum held in Togo


The first West African Mountain Forum was held in Kpalime, Togo on 5-8 October 2017. Although West African mountains are not the world’s highest, they have a key role for the food security of the area, are rich in biodiversity and are important to the overall sustainable development of the subregion. They also have strong cultural significance for local communities. Representatives of governments, local decision-makers, traditional authorities as well as NGOs and research institutes joined the forum to address some of the challenges facing West African mountains and their ecosystems.

Taking the theme “Mountains’ contributions to economic development and climate change adaptation”, discussions and exchanges touched on the need to raise awareness among stakeholders and West African communities on the benefits and challenges related to integrating mountains into national development policies and action plans, as well as the role mountains play in terms of climate change adaptation.

The forum was structured around five main topics:
• Awareness raising and advocacy on the importance of mountains in West Africa;
• Governance of mountain ecosystems and communities;
• Gender inclusion;
• Climate change threats in mountains areas; and
• Mountain ecosystem services (forest, water and biodiversity).

The forum provided the opportunity to bring together scientists, researchers and traditional authorities to share information and knowledge on sustainable mountain development, to highlight best practices promoted by actors in the field, and to identify and discuss the research needs of mountain ecosystems to ensure they are included in national investment and development plans. This included the mapping of ecosystems services supplied by West African mountain ranges, to demonstrate the importance of their fragile ecosystems, to provide evidence to decision-makers.

"West African civil society organizations mobilized for the protection and a better governance of their mountains," said Jules Yawo Kouma Adjima, Coordinator of the Platform of Civil Society Organizations for the Safeguard of Mountains (PSM).

The diverse audience worked together to develop a common strategy for advocacy for the integration of mountain ecosystems in national development policies and action plans in West Africa. Furthermore, the forum will elaborate a declaration with recommendations that will be presented at the Mountain Partnership Global Meeting in December 2017 in Rome, Italy.

The West African Mountain Forum was organized by the PSM in partnership with the Togolese Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, within the framework of the Mountain Partnership.

Download the recommendations (in French)

Photo: PSM/Jules Yawo Kouma Adjima


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