Fouta Djallon Highlands Integrated Natural Resources Management Project

Project symbol: EP/INT/503/GEF
Participating countries: Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone
Project duration: 01 Jul 2009 - 31 Dec 2012 (first phase) | Nov 2015 - 2021 (second phase)
Donor: Global Environmental Facility (GEF)


The Fouta Djallon Highlands (FDH) are a series of high plateaus concentrated in the central part of Guinea and extending into Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone. This area is the point of origin of a number of transboundary rivers in West Africa, notably the Gambia, Niger and Senegal rivers, as well as a number of small water courses. Due to their geographic and climatic diversity, the highlands and the surrounding foothills support a rich variety of ecosystems.

While international recognition of the need for a more collaborative approach to the integrated management of FDH dates back to an International Soils Conference in 1959, a concerted action under the aegis of the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) was agreed upon only after the Sahelian drought in the early 1970s. With the assistance of UNEP, FAO, UNESCO and UNSO, the AU established since 1981 the Regional Program for the Integrated Development of the FDH (RPID-FDH), involving eight countries that depend on waters from the highlands: Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Despite these efforts, the FDH natural resources continue to be under serious threat of degradation, resulting in accelerated reduction of vegetative cover; acceleration of soil erosion and reduction of soil fertility; loss of biodiversity; increase in water run-off, siltation and sedimentation of watercourses as well as drying up of springs.

The project

The Fouta Djallon Highlands Integrated Natural Resources Management Project (FDH-INRM) has been developed and is implemented in the framework of the RPID-FDH. It is conceived as a 10-year project with two phases, a first phase of 4 years (GEF budget of US$5 million) and a second phase of 6 years (GEF resources earmarked for US$6 million).

Photo © Mika Huettner/ Flickr


The development objective of the project is to ensure the conservation and sustainable management of the FDH natural resources in a medium to long term time frame (until 2025) in order to improve the livelihoods of the rural population directly or indirectly connected to the FDH. The environmental objective of the project is to mitigate the causes and negative impacts of land degradation on the structural and functional integrity of the FDH ecosystems.

To achieve these objectives, the project is supporting activities in four different components as follows:

Component 1: Enhanced regional collaboration in the planning and implementation of natural resources management activities through support to the establishment of a regional legal and institutional framework; support to the adaptation, harmonization, dissemination and implementation of national laws and regulations; and setting up a regional observatory to assess and monitor the status of the FDH natural resources and trends in degradation.

Component 2: Improved natural resources management and livelihoods in the FDH through support to integrated management activities of the natural resources in the pilot sites and river basins; and identify and promote new income generating activities to improve the living conditions of the populations in the FDH.

Component 3: Increased stakeholder capacity in the integrated management of natural resources through training of local institutions, community based organizations and other stakeholders.

Component 4: Project management structures operational and effective, monitoring and evaluation system set up to measure outputs, outcomes and impact of the project, dissemination of information.


Jul 2009

Start of project implementation

Nov 2009

Project Steering Committee Meeting in Bamako

Jan-Mar 2010

Selection of pilot sites

Jul 2010

International consultant visit to set up the M&E system

Dec 2010

Regional project workshop in Kindia

Dec 2010-Mar 2011

Field visits to all pilot sites to establish an inventory of natural resources and prepare the watershed management plans

Apr 2011

Regional workshop in Dakar to finalize the regional framework document

Nov 2011

Ministerial Conference in Freetown

Mar 2012

Start of field activities in Guinea

Jul 2012

Start of field activities in Senegal

May 2012

Mid Term Evaluation

Dec 2012

Conference and technical workshop in Dakar to launch the GEOPortal and the land cover and land cover change database

Jan 2013

Start of preparations for the project's second phase. Start of field activities in Mali

Apr 2013

Start of field activities in Guinea-Bissau

last updated:  Wednesday, April 29, 2015