7. Ensure environmental sustainability

A Concert on Water and Sanitation – Artists Come Together for the Cause, by Hervé Honla - Presentation by Kpénahi Traore

concert eau et assainissement

More than half of the Earth’s surface (about 75%) is covered by water (oceans), but more than half of the Earth’s inhabitants live without access to safe drinking water and in the most basic sanitary conditions; a fact which is especially true for African populations. Burkina Faso is not exempt from the problem of restricted access to clean drinking water, being one of the most affected countries.

From 20 to 22 December 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources held a National Water Forum in the capital, Ouagadougou, in preparation for the World Water Forum, held from 12 to 17 March 2012 in Marseilles, France. In the belief that any means of drawing attention to the issue is a good one, a concert was organised to promote access to safe drinking water for the whole population of Burkina Faso. This article discusses how the event went and assesses whether this approach could represent an effective course of action to raise awareness of such important issues.

Download A Concert on Water and Sanitation – Artists Come Together for the Cause, by Hervé Honla - Presentation by Kpénahi TRAORE

Waste Management, An Endless Struggle. Pollution, Citizens Unaware of the Risks - Presentation by Kpénahi Traore


The article analyses a specific example of the serious problem posed by waste management, especially in developing countries, which often do not have adequate policies or resources to tackle the problem (the solution to which is included within MDG 7). By contrast, Burkina Faso – and particularly its capital Ouagadougou – present a successful example of waste management, with the municipal authorities having found a way to solve the problem.

Pollution affects the air, water and the ecosystem, and threatens the survival of the atmosphere as well as the health of citizens. Furthermore, citizens, beyond producing substances that cause pollution (greenhouse gases, transportation, industrial plants, dust ...), also contribute to environmental pollution through the production of waste and the use of firewood. The situation is even more serious where the families that produce this waste are not aware of the dangers to which they are exposing themselves.


Download Waste Management, An Endless Struggle. Pollution, Citizens Unaware of the Risks

Access to Drinking Water in S. Nicolau (Cape Verde), by Ary Tolentino

Interviewer: Ary Tolentino

Respondent: Adilson Melicio

Date: December 20, 2011

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Source: Inforpress

This interview by Ary Tolentino of the community radio station of Ribeira Brava City (S. Nicolau) with Adilson Melicio, a delegate of the Ministry of Rural Development and the Environment and Rehabilitation and Environmental Hygiene Assessment Officer, is useful as the participants discuss the way in which drinking water can be brought to the entire island of San Nicolau (Cape Verde). It is a short interview that helps us to understand the experience of Cape Verde in terms of access to water – one of the key points in relation to MDG 7 (7.C) on environmental sustainability and the country's development more broadly.

Download: Access to Drinking Water in S. Nicolau (Cape Verde), by Ary Tolentino

Voisins Solidaires Association - Presentation by Kpénahi Traoré - Photo Reportage by Warren Sare


Burkina Faso is a country in the Sahel where national policies and programmes often do not reach all sectors of society.
In environmental terms, the ambitions outlined by sub-goal 7.A (to integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources; to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation; and to achieve, by 2020, a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum-dwellers) have yet to be achieved. Some neighbourhoods do not have access to basic sanitation services, nor to any services related to the collection of household waste or other waste that pollutes the environment. It is for this reason that various local initiatives have been established, including the Voisins Solidaires Association, whose members met in October 2011 with the aim of ridding the Ouagadougou neighbourhood (area 28) of unsanitary waste. Girls and boys of all ages have been given training to ensure that the operation is a success.
Photographer Warren Sare, in these images, shows members of the association in action. This initiative aims to clean up the environment where people live, allowing for healthy and sustainable human development. This is not the only activity carried out by the association; it has also installed traffic lights on the neighbourhood’s streets and created a public garden.

The G7 and the Champions League – by Nina-Joëlle and Ouallo Eyoum Nganguè - Presentation by Eyoum Nganguè

For a long time, photo-stories constituted a literary genre through which stories were told via images in a very simple way, for the enjoyment of housewives under the age of fifty. With the advent of the TV series, however, this medium became obsolete, but has come back into fashion thanks to the tabloids. The magazine Planète Jeunes has chosen to use this method of communication to convey messages to readers located in different regions of the world (Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean), where reading is still not ingrained in the habits of the population. The scene presented here is a football match between a group of reasonably self-confident girls and boys. But the winner is not who you would expect…

Schermata 2014-02-03_a_22.50.01

In an urban African neighbourhood, a group of seven young girls, referred to as the "G7", decided to launch a campaign against teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases after one of them experienced these problems. Today the group, which came together in support of Gaya, receives an out-of-the-ordinary visit from two boys seeking their help because their sisters have been denied the opportunity to progress in their jobs due to the fact that they are girls.

At this moment, Marius, Gaya’s boyfriend, arrives at her house, but quickly becomes very unhappy about the presence of the other two boys and, in particular, dislikes the "feminist activity" that Gaya is engaged in. Annoyed, he tells the girls that they must play a football match against the boys. At this point, Gaya takes the lead and announces that the "G7" will play the Mighty Boys (as Mario and his friends refer to themselves).

The girls get organised using their blog and Facebook. They mobilise the public and take steps to gain the support of sponsors, as well as obtaining the necessary authorisation. Mario and his friends take fright and want to cancel the football game. But it is too late: the invitations have already been sent and on the big day, at the Nelson Mandela stadium, the girls are the ones who triumph.Will the boys learn their lesson? It is hard to say. However, despite the defeat at the football stadium, it cannot be said that love has no future!

Download Il G7 e la Champions League.

Source: Planète Jeunes n. 131


Operation Zero Plastic Bags in Ouagadougou, by Raphael Kafando

Plastic bags are a constant threat to the environment, and especially to animals. Surveys in Burkina Faso have shown that, in the capital, 80% of animals who chew the cud and 10% of cattle have died from ingesting the plastic bags that litter the city. Even in the face of bad weather, and even after 100 years, plastic bags do not break down because they are not biodegradable. This is the reason why municipal authorities in the city of Ouagadougou have launched an operation to fight the invasion of plastic bags.


This article describes a competition known as “Operation Zero Plastic Bags”, which seeks to free the city of plastic bags and encourages a spirit of eco-citizenship within communities. Residents of the five boroughs of the city of Ouagadougou are challenged to collect plastic bags and take them to a collection centre in exchange for a sum of money. Upon completion of the operation, the district that was able to mobilise the greatest number of people was declared the winner. "Operation Zero Plastic Bags" is a joint initiative of Burkina Faso’s Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development and the city of Ouagadougou.

Source: Quotidiano Cyriaque Paré, Sidwaya.

Belwet: A Model for the Future, by JESP - Presentation by Kpénahi Traoré

Jatropha Curcas, a well-known plant in Burkina Faso, has in recent years proven its contribution to people’s well-being through its use as an ingredient in various products (including cosmetics and food products for both people and animals). However, its main advantage is that it acts as a source of fuel at a time when the use of biofuels is recommended and many countries are developing mechanisms to switch to the exploitation of this type of energy. Jatropha is therefore an alternative that can be used to secure the future of African countries.

Trees ForTheFuture

Today, we live in a world in which biodiversity and future energy supplies are the subjects of major international meetings. The search for future energy supplies has become a concern of the major powers, who have become increasingly interested in the use of biofuels. In Africa, particularly in Burkina Faso, a solution appears to have been found, namely Jatropha, a plant whose properties now appear beyond question. Jatropha, also known as "the green gold of the Sahel" is a plant that grows in semi-arid climates and is currently being exploited in Burkina Faso. Through the exploitation of jatropha, it is not only possible to produce energy, but also to preserve the environment and protect biodiversity.

This article, entitled "Belwet: A Model for the Future" is a good example and a response to the two targets outlined in Goal 7 of the MDGs: 7.A "Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources" and 7.B "Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss."."

The article explains the process of using and processing Jatropha to create various products that could contribute to the protection of biodiversity and ensure the production of biofuels in the future, since it produces oil that is similar to diesel. The cultivation of Jatropha may lead to a route out of poverty for the most disadvantaged populations. As explained by the author of the article, this crop can "enable the rural population to improve their productivity and increase their income." In his article, the author sees Jatropha as a means of combating unemployment, and promoting empowerment and private initiatives that could provide a solution for African countries, and a means of reducing their dependence on international aid.

Download Belwet un modello per il futuro.

Source: Le Promoteur.

The Application of Environmental Law. Identifying Obstacles that Limit a more Effective and Efficient Application of Norms, by Juste Patoin - Presentation by Kpénahi Traoré



Living in a healthy environment is a right pursued by those who hope to live in a healthy world and to keep it that way for future generations. However, this right is not effectively provided for and its existence is marginal in our society. Environmental rights refer to all legal provisions relating to the management, use and protection of the environment, but also to the prevention and reduction of environmental damage, including, for example, pollution and compensation for victims of environmental damage – the example of the disposal of toxic waste from the Probo Koala ship in the city of Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire springs to mind.

In the case of Burkina Faso, this right is protected by legislation established in the 1990s, following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Brazil in1992. Yet awareness of this legislation remains scant, impeding its effective achievement. This is the case for the majority of French-speaking countries in Africa. These countries are also engaged in efforts to find common solutions to the implementation of environmental legislation.

This article examines the case of a working group attended by a number of French-speaking African countries, which met between the 21st and 23rd of November 2011 in Ouagadougou to discuss environmental rights. The objective was to review national legislation relating to the environment and to identify obstacles to its implementation. The aim of the meeting, which was organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Ouagadougou and the Institute for Energy and the Environment of the Francophonie, was to identify possible solutions to remove the obstacles that impede the effective implementation of these laws.

Participating countries were required initially to consider the application of legal norms concerning environmental rights in French-speaking areas. According to Jean Koulidiati, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development in Burkina Faso, environmental law is compatible only with those other rights that do not reflect the new challenges experienced today, including renewable energy and the protection of the environment. Jean Koulidiati invited experts in the field to investigate the obstacles to the implementation of environmental law and the actors involved in its execution, as well as their roles and responsibilities.

Regional director of IUCN for Central and West Africa Aimé Joseph Nianogo has made various proposals in this regard, particularly relating to the specialisation of judges in matters relating to environmental law. He also supported the teaching of this subject in schools and directly to the magistrates, police officers and customs officials most closely involved in its implementation.

In my opinion, sustainable development and the survival of future generations depends largely on the environment, which plays a crucial role in the international debate. The leaders of French-speaking countries would therefore gain from promoting environmental rights and from working to spread the associated benefits to the broader population.

Download The Application of Environmental Law

Source: Le Pays No. 4996

"The official tree planting ceremony held by SORAZ" by Daouga Hamani, Niger – Summary by Kpénahi Traoré

Target 7.A: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources


Niger is located in the Sahel region of West Africa. Over half of the country is covered by the Sahara desert, with this proportion continually increasing as the desert advances. Niger lost around 679,000 hectares of tropical forest between 1990 and 2005, with the rate of desertification constantly increasing. Niger’s authorities have become aware of this, and now have no option but to pay special attention to this environmental danger.

Download the abstract of "The official tree planting ceremony held by SORAZ"