Evaluating the official achievement of Aichi Target 11 for West African countries: a twofold challenge of accuracy and catching-up

Pierre Failler, Grégoire Touron-Gardic, Marie Suzanne Traoré, Sui Chian Phang

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Since Aichi Target 11 imposes 10% of national protected marine surface by 2020, the least developed countries have particularly shortcomings towards this goal, this article evaluates the progress of seven West African countries. We compared the area reportedly protected sites from two different sources, the world database on protected areas (WDPA) – which is the official tool to monitor the Aichi 11 Achievements – and the West African Marine Protected Area Network, which conducted a comprehensive survey in collaboration with the national institutions in charge of MPAs. Overall, the countries included in this study are unlikely to achieve the Aichi target. Comparing WDPA protected area figures against database created directly from national data showed large discrepancies. According to national data, Mauritania (3.71%) and Guinea-Bissau (2.15%) had the highest protected areas. Senegal had 1.61% of his EEZ under protection, while other countries had <1%. The difference between WDPA and national data was high with Guinea-Bissau already at 10% of EEZ protected areas status according to the WDPA. WDPA overestimated 5935 km2 of MPAs, corresponding to 41% of the actual total area. Possible explanations for the differences include: countries not transmitting information or doing so incorrectly; methodological transformations of data are inducing errors; and multiple MPA statutes leading to double counting of protected areas. This study also shows that for these countries, to achieve Aichi Target 11, large offshore MPAs are the only viable option, and therefore identifies potential sites, that should be considered in addition to conservation of coastal zones. However, their viability may be constrained due to oil activities and lucrative fishing. The increasingly anthropized littoral zone offers less space favourable to MPAs, while 138,723 km2 still need to be covered in these countries to reach 10% of marine protected area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134284
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date4 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Convention on biological diversity
  • Institutional framework
  • Marine protected areas
  • West Africa
  • World database on protected areas


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