Degradation of the Inner Niger Delta (IND), Mali

The Niger River (4200 km long inhabited by 2 million people) is a lifeline for the nine riparian countries. Nevertheless, it has suffered for many decades from human pressure and new uses disturbing the characteristics, structure and functioning of its ecosystems. From its start in Guinea Chonakry until its end in the Niger Delta in Nigeria, the Niger River suffers from deviation and dams for irrigation as well as electricity generation, and pollution.

This intensive use added to growing population and climate changes, among which severe droughts and their impacts, have had severe consequences on the status of the Niger River and its tributaries, biodiversity, landscapes, key habitats and floodplains, such those of the Inner Niger Delta. See our latest study on the impact of climate change and dams on the Delta. 

Climate change

Most climate scenarios indicate less rain in the Sahel in the future. Moreover, all recent climate research indicates an increase of the temperature. Thus, a reduced river flow of the Niger is to be expected given the increased evaporation rate in conjunction with the rise in temperature. This will further impact on the livelihoods of the Delta's inhabitants, as crop growing seasons shift or get shorter, and fish production and water availability will be affected. 

Preventing sustainable solutions

Wetlands International works to prevent disasters, build capacity and make the Delta's communities more resilient to these changes.

However, at the local level there are problems that are a barrier to achieving sustainable solutions to problems in the Inner Niger Delta. These include the low priority for environmentally sustainability  approaches to livelihood support amongst communities, development agencies and government . There are also few incentives - like Biorights - to maintain the environment when life in the Delta is heavily focused on securing resources and maintaining livelihoods.

However, in joint efforts with our partners we do provide these incentives. Read more...

Dams in the Niger River causing problems in lower parts of the Basin