To promote the conservation of biodiversity and fight desertification while fulfilling the basic needs - such as safe drinking water, health care and rural electrification - of the populations living in the buffer and transition zones around the W National Park.
In 2003, the Partnership completed a demonstration project in the W National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. The project was conducted in collaboration with the three host countries - Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger - as well as with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU).
The project identified renewable energy supply systems that will promote the conservation of biodiversity in the core area of the park and fight desertification while fulfilling the basic needs - such as safe drinking water, health care and rural electrification - of the populations living in the buffer and transition zones around the park. A number of different installations and measures were implemented under this project, including:
The feasibility study for the pilot project was completed in 2001 and the project began in the first semester of 2002. Construction works were completed in Niger in May, in Burkina Faso in July and in Benin by the end of 2003.
Repeated field visits were conducted from 1999 to 2003 to increase the awareness of villagers that maintaining the biosphere is beneficial to the human populations living nearby.
Management of the installations has been transferred to the local populations, who, through cooperatives based on traditional systems already in existence in West Africa, have taken over ownership of the equipment and installations and the responsibility for their operation and maintenance.
The project has resulted in direct job creation, increased eco-tourism within the region, improved health care and access to safe drinking water for populations in and around the W Park.
In 2006, a five-year maintenance and monitoring plan, funded by the European Union, was launched to ensure the preservation and sustainability of the project, under the administration of the W Park local project (ECOPAS).