The project “Biodiversity Businesses in Fazao-Malfakassa National Park: A Means to Poverty Reduction, Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development” – a unique example of triangular partnership between the Government of Togo, the Government of India and UNESCO – was recently approved in principle by the India-UN Development Partnership Fund Board.

The demand-driven project comes in response to a proposal of the Government of Togo highlighting its commitment toward attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNESCO will implement the project in close collaboration with the Togolese Ministry of Environment.

The Fazao-Malfakassa National Park in Togo is on the path to obtain Biosphere Reserve status, a designation afforded by UNESCO Member States to nature-protected areas that combine scientific knowledge and participatory governance to: reduce loss of biodiversity; improve livelihoods of local people; and enhance social, economic and cultural conditions for environmental sustainability.

$1-million in support from the India-UN Development Partnership Fund will strengthen the park’s efforts to increase biodiversity-friendly livelihoods for 350 families. This will become a model example for sustainable development.

Convinced that inter-sectoriality and holistic approaches to development are critical to advance on the SDGs, India is supporting the UN System across its various Agencies, Funds and Programmes,” stated H.E. Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in New York. “This is the first initiative of the India-UN Fund to be implemented by UNESCO, and we hope a harbinger of more to come.”

Through the establishment of biodiversity businesses, with a focus on youth and women entrepreneurship, the project is expected to undertake modern initiatives such as carbon sequestration in biomass, payments for watershed protection, bio-prospecting, biodiversity offsets and management services, ecotourism, recreational hunting and sport-fishing.

UNESCO’s expertise promoting biodiversity-friendly jobs is highly relevant for rural populations in protected areas,” explained Mr. Yao YDO, Regional Director of the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Abuja. “Thanks to India, we are delighted to expand our support incubating small businesses in bee-keeping, snail rearing, mushroom farming, carbon sequestration in biomass, watershed protection, bio-prospecting and/or ecotourism in Togo.”

The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation is the Fund Manager and Secretariat of the Board of Directors of the India-UN Development Partnership Fund. It supports the work of the Fund through the overall project cycle.

Launched in June 2017, the Fund portfolio supports 31 projects across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.