GNF - Living Lakes Network

Living Lakes – The international Network


The main purpose of this international initiative is the conservation and protection of natural resources, chiefly the drinking water reservoirs of the earth. UN investigations say that today about 2.2 billion people suffer from water shortages or bad water quality.

 Living Lakes

Overview about all Lakes and Wetlands of the Living Lakes Network


Nokoué Lake – Benin


2 February 2019

Lake Nokoué is Threatened Lake of the Year 2019.


Background Nokoué Lake

Lake Nokoué is an oval shaped, brackish lake located in the very south of Benin, with riverine freshwater influx in the north and seawater influx in the south of the lake. The lake is directly connected to the ocean via the 4.5 km long and 300 m wide Cotonou channel. Another connection to the sea is a channel on the eastern side of the lagoon which passes by the capital Porto-Novo. Freshwater influx is supplied by the rivers Quémé and Sô, which form deltas at the eastern and northern end of the lake respectively. The size of the shallow lake (0.4 - 3.4 m depth) varies seasonally. During the dry season it covers an area of approximately 160 km². However, the lake’s size is tripled when the surrounded areas are flooded for a few weeks a year during the rainy season. Consequently, Lake Nokoué is surrounded by seasonally inundated forests and marshes.


Lake Nokoué, including the surrounding area, is an essential habitat for birds and was therefore designated as Ramsar Site in 2000. The highly biologically diverse area is an important nesting site for a wide variety of aquatic species. It is a unique habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna, including some endangered species, and is a vital sanctuary for some of these. 


The country’s largest city Cotonou, with a population of about 700,000 inhabitants, is located on the narrow stretch of land between Lake Nokoué and the Atlantic Ocean. The lake village Ganvié is on the northern shore of the lake, just at the mouth of the river Sô. With 20,000 inhabitants, it is probably Africa’s biggest lake village, which attracts a lot of cultural and eco-tourists. Apart from tourism, the village’s most important sources of income are fishing and fish farming.


Project measures Nokoué Lake

Our partner Amis de l’Afrique Francophone-Bénin (AMAF-BENIN) is a humanitarian organization founded in 2008. Its objectives are to improve education, promote development and establish dialogue frameworks. In general, AMAF-BENIN is working towards a healthy and productive lifestyle for the local community, especially in the poorest areas. One mechanism for this is to ensure access to an improved drinking water source. Additionally, AMAF-BENIN promotes sustainable management of both humid and arid areas, as well as the natural resources. The organisation also works to increase the capacities of the local population with the help of various projects and advocacy.


AMAF-BENIN promotes nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in order to make the conservation of nature and biodiversity a higher priority in the future, thereby ending impoverishment in Benin. Topics such as gender issues and the social distress faced by neglected children, young people and unemployed women, are also addressed.


During the “Benin clean-up” project that was carried out around Lake Nokoué by AMAF-BENIN and partners, a large amount of people from Cotonou and other communities around the lake and channel were mobilized. The involved population helped to remove harmful waste from the lake and Cotonou channel. Additionally, the public was informed and discussed the effects of toxic waste emissions on human health and the environment in general. Another goal of the project was to educate the local population and fishermen about sustainable actions and use of the lake.



Partner Organisation Nokoué Lake



Amis de l’Afrique Francophone-Bénin (AMAF-BENIN)

Contact person: Mr Fataï Aina

Rue 213, Carré N°903 Saint-Jean Cotonou


Phone: +229 98146364




The Living Lakes Network – Saving the Lakes and Wetlands of the World


Living Lakes strives for effective protection of water in the most important lake areas around the world - A world-wide future-oriented initiative! At the moment, 113 members belong to the network. Further information about each lake or wetland you find under the lists for each continent.

Our Mission

Living Lakes is an international network and partnership whose mission is to enhance the protection, restoration and rehabilitation of lakes, wetlands, other freshwater bodies of the world and their catchment areas.

Our Vision

All lakes, wetlands and freshwater bodies of the world should be healthy ecosystems and where they are used by human kind that use should be sustainable and not damaging to the environment.


  • Conserving the biodiversity and the preservation of fresh water resources, lakes and wetland ecosystems.
  • Restoring altered and disappearing wetlands and lake ecosystems. 
  • Improving the quality of life for the local communities (Agenda 21).
  • Building a commitment towards a sustainable use and development of these ecosystems (for example, through agriculture, fishery, tourism, settlement and water use).
  • Promoting the use of applied sciences and technologies towards the conservation of these ecosystems.
  • Supporting educational programs and cooperation with local communities towards the conservation of the biodiversity of these ecosystems.
  • Disseminating information relevant to these ecosystems.
 Sailing Boats at the Broads in England
 Riverine vegetation in Sri Lanka
 Lake Hovsgol in Mongolia


Distinction as “Official Project of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005 – 2014”

In November 2013, the project “Living Lakes” has received for the fifth time the distinction as official UN Decade Project for the year 2014. The first distinction occured for the years 2006 and 2007.

 Logo UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005 – 2014