By 2030, Burkina Faso aims to create strong and inclusive growth for the structural transformation of its economy,.


Nationwide mobilization

Multi-stakeholder Working Group on Integrating Biodiversity into Economic Development

December 21-23, 2021


In July 2021, Burkina Faso established an apolitical platform, the Multi-Stakeholder Working Group for the Integration of Biodiversity into Economic Development (GTMIBE), to reverse the trend of biodiversity degradation through constructive dialogue, information sharing and collaboration. This working group, chaired by the CBD National Focal Point, met in late 2021 in Koudougou to define its intervention strategy and adopted a three-year action plan with a budget of 305 million CFA francs organised into 5 objectives :

  • Promotion of the working group’s activities
  • Capacity building
  • Dissemination of knowledge for biodiversity mainstreaming
  • Promotion of multisectoral cooperation
  • Monitoring, evaluation and learnings of the implementation of voluntary commitments
Meeting of the workshop for the elaboration of an action plan for the GTMIBE in Burkina Faso

Diagnosis: issues

The challenge: to restore and adopt sustainable practices to preserve soils and biodiversity

Located in sub-Saharan Africa, Burkina Faso has different ecological zones with a tropical climate that alternates between a dry and a rainy season. Irrigated by three tributaries of the Volta and by two international river systems, the river Niger and the river Comoé, the country is nevertheless still vulnerable to droughts and water shortages. It also has a number of dams and dykes to meet the water requirements of the urban population and irrigate crops during the dry season.

Burkina Faso’s different ecosystems provide habitats for a large number of species. However, they are extremely fragmented and subject to growing pressure from man, especially on land resources due to the increase in population density (urbanisation) and growth which are leading to increasing deforestation, the fragmentation of the habitat and overgrazing.

The threatened species and highly biodiversified habitats are mostly confined to the protected areas, as elsewhere in West Africa. The lion, the leopard, the elephant, the buffalo, the warthog, the antelope, the monkey, the hyena, the jackal, the hippopotamus, the crocodile, the boa, the varan, turtles and hedgehogs are among the typical species found in Burkina Faso. Other threats, such as uncontrolled bush fires, erosion by wind and water and the loss of the soil’s nutritive components are also affecting the local biodiversity.

In view of the current pressures on soils, flora and fauna, increasing the coverage of official protected areas for medium and large vertebrates is being considered, in order to slow up the loss of biodiversity in the country.

1.647 species

assessed (including 3 endemic ones)

48 species

threatened (including 3 endemic) according to the IUCN Red List (2021-1)


Climate change – drought
Agriculture – annual and perennial non-timber cultivation
Use of biological resources – hunting and trapping of wild animals
Pollution – Agricultural and forestry effluents

Key points

The restoration of habitats has a particularly high potential for the survival of the species in the country. 

Therefore, ecological restoration actions through the targeted reduction of threats from livestock rearing, non-timber annual and perennial crops (cash crops in particular) and from agricultural effluents have significant potential to reverse anthropic pressure on biodiversity in Burkina Faso.

These results are the scientific basis for the stakeholder meetings to select the 3 engagement areas.

  • Agriculture: cotton cash crop
  • Livestock rearing
  • Mining sector: gold extraction
Cloud of the most frequently used words in the report of the national biodiversity threat assessment in Burkina Faso

Reports – Burkina-Faso national biodiversity threat assessment (FR)

Policy brief – Recommendations to mainstream biodiversity into economic sectors in Burkina-Faso (FR)

Videos – Speech by Simeon Sawadogo, Minister of the Environment of Burkina-Faso (FR)

Dialogue: stakeholders

Gold Industry

Extractive industries (particularly gold mining whose main ore is gold) accounted for 12.7% of Burkina Faso’s GDP in 2020. Industrial gold mining reached 62.14 tons in 2020, and artisanal production is estimated at 9.5 tons a year.

The combination of national legislation and international conventions provides a framework for gold mining that is aligned with sustainable development.  However, there are still gaps. These include the lack of consideration of biodiversity concerns in environmental assessments, the absence of national and sectoral strategies for biodiversity conservation and a lack of technical tools for monitoring and evaluation.  Moreover, legislation is not fully enforced due to the high number of artisanal sites that remain uncontrolled. At the same time, driven by significant reforms designed to boost economic growth in the sector, gold mining is putting strong pressure on land and on natural resources.

Mining activities represent a threat to natural ecosystems, in part because of direct impacts such as deforestation, pollution and degradation of natural resources. There are also indirect impacts caused by the construction of roads, which is opening up access to previously remote and unspoilt areas and exposing them to threats such as poaching. There are other economic and biodiversity costs inherent to the gold industry: 571,000 hectares of arable and pasture land have been lost due to mining operations. Meanwhile, the costs of environmental damage and inefficiencies in gold mining are estimated to represent 12.6% of the added value of the sector, or 0.28% of Burkina Faso’s GDP.

Avenues for commitments

  • Mining companies: support the management of protected areas, undertake and maintain reforestation once mining operations are completed 
  • Mining companies and artisanal miners: improve practices (especially the limitation of pollution)
  • State: improve the identification, supervision and support for artisanal sites


  • Institutional stakeholders: central government, national regulatory agencies (ANEEMAS, BNAF, ONASSIM, ANEVE) and local authorities: Official role in regulatory oversight, supervision of industry stakeholders, monitoring and control of activities, environmental surveillance and monitoring
  • Mining companies: Mining activities, implementation of own environmental policies, CSR initiatives, adherence to international standards
  • Semi-mechanized operators and artisanal miners: Mining activities, contribution to an environmental preservation and restoration fund, grouping into structured and functional professional organizations
  • Gold traders: Good knowledge of miners, essential for addressing the issues of smuggling and mercury trading
  • Civil society organizations: Civilian monitoring of compliance with national regulations and international commitments, awareness-raising and communication, regulatory oversight
  • Traditional authorities: Local legitimacy, hold the “social licence” to operate

Cotton Sector

Cotton is the major cash crop in Burkina Faso. It is also one of the main sources of income for over 5 million people (around 30% of the population). Annual production of cotton was 472,000 tons in 2021, and on average it provides producers with annual added value of 78 billion CFA francs.

The cotton industry is regulated by a set of measures to promote biodiversity and sustainable development. However, there is still insufficient control at various points in the value chain. These weaknesses are due to many organisational factors, lack of resources, lack of technical capacity for implementation and inadequate publicising of legislation.

10-15% of the country’s agricultural land is used to produce cotton. Between 2010 and 2019, there was a 28% increase in the area planted with cotton, mostly at the expense of previously uncultivated natural spaces. Cotton farming is a threat to natural ecosystems and to population well-being (fragmentation or decline of natural habitats, pollution).

Avenues for commitments

Cotton producers: expand use of agro-ecological practices in cultivated areas and introduce more sustainable farming practices

Cotton companies and research institutes: develop networks for farmers to share experiences, knowledge and services; subsidise organic inputs; support research and development activities and promote agro-ecological farming techniques

State and local authorities: promote secure land tenure in rural cotton-growing areas; provide technical and financial support for the introduction of sustainable practices and the promotion of accreditation 


  • Cotton producers: organised into cooperatives (SCOOPS-PC), which are represented by departmental unions (UDPC), provincial unions (UPPC) and national unions (UNPC-B).
  • Institutional stakeholders: develop agricultural policy and contribute to preparing and implementing the regulatory and legislative framework and to developing infrastructure.
  • Cotton companies (SOFITEX, SOCOMA, FASO COTON organised into a professional association of cotton companies): responsible for procuring inputs, advising producers, purchasing and gathering cottonseed, and marketing the final products and by-products.
  • Interprofessional Cotton Association: responsible for setting purchase prices for cottonseed and inputs, approving cotton research programmes, and creating a forum to discuss issues of common concern among its members.
  • Processors: the industries that use the cottonseed (shredding, textiles).
  • Input suppliers: each cotton company procures inputs (pesticides, fertilisers, processing equipment, organic feed) from its geographical area.
  • Transporters: various operators, depending on the substance transported (cottonseed, fibre or inputs)
  • National and international banks: responsible for providing seasonal credit through the purchase of cottonseed, procurement and supply of inputs, equipment loans for producers and funding for industrial investments.
  • Cotton research (INERA): plays a key role in the production system, through four strands (improved plant material, agronomy and farming techniques, cotton plant resistance, and agricultural economics and sociology)

Livestock Sector

Over 80% of Burkina Faso’s population practises livestock farming. The sector contributes 18% of the country’s GDP and produce from the sector generates 26% of Burkina Faso’s export revenue. Two main systems operate in parallel: traditional pastoral farming (which relies on forage from pastures during seasonal transhumance) and improved livestock farming (a minority but growing activity, involving semi-intensive to intensive rearing which requires more inputs). 

The State and its partners are taking several strong measures to support the development of sustainable pastoral farming. Examples include creating and developing designated areas for grazing, and establishing a livestock development fund to help producers to buy equipment. However, overall the public infrastructure to support production is inadequate and unsustainable, due to lack of adequate public investment and/or proper management.

The traditional farming system, combined with the increase in herd sizes, is resulting in degradation of the environment and putting pressure on natural resources. Livestock farming is the main driver of changes to habitats in Burkina Faso (deforestation, destruction of riverbanks and riparian forests). The strong pressure on pastures is also contributing to desertification. In addition, the sector contributes to the propagation of invasive species and the transmission of diseases.
The human population is suffering the impacts of overgrazing: the erosion of soils and biodiversity is reducing herd productivity (and therefore farmer income), requiring changes to diets and reducing the availability of medicinal plants. 

Avenues for commitments

Farmers and socio-professional organisations: promote and implement agro-ecology principles; develop new pastoral areas; control and reduce the load on pastures

State: establish boundaries and secure access for pastoral areas; prepare land charters to minimise impacts on biodiversity; create buffer zones between pastoral and agricultural activities


  • Livestock farmers: Represent 75% of the working population. Young and with low literacy skills; only a small proportion belong to socio-professional organisations
  • Socio-professional organisations: Three main functions: preparing and implementing development policies for the livestock sector; informing and training their members in farming methods and conflict management; representing farmers and providing them with technical support
  • (Sub-)regional farmer associations: NGO status, active in advocating for secure access to pasture, raising awareness, informing farmers about good farming practices and mobilising financial resources
  • Institutional stakeholders (ministries responsible for livestock farming, agriculture, environment and territorial administration): Official role through preparation and implementation of government policies, spatial planning and management of infrastructure and equipment
  • Research institutions (CNRST, INERA, IRSAT, IDR): Train senior managers and help to develop and disseminate technical approaches and advanced technology for livestock farming

Reports – In-depth sectoral analysis and commitments’ identification for biodiversity in Burkina-Faso (FR)

Policy brief – How to combine cotton production & biodiversity preservation in Burkina Faso (FR)

Policy brief – How to combine gold extraction and biodiversity preservation in Burkina Faso (FR)

Policy brief – How to combine livestock & biodiversity preservation in Burkina Faso (FR)

Access to all documentary resources of BURKINA-Faso