At a glance
In addition to globally relevant biodiversity from its forests (e.g the BijagÃ³s Archipelago is a biosphere reserve) Guinea-Bissau has abundant natural resources, ranging from sizable deposits of oil, to bauxite and phosphates. It also has some of the most productive land in the world. The main rain-fed crops are cashew, wetland rice monoculture in cleared mangroves, and shifting upland rotations of rice, maize, millet and sorghum. The cashew sector represents nearly all of the countryâ€™s export revenue andfunctions as the main cash crop for local populations. Rice production is the second most relevant crop and is crucial in combating poverty due to its role in food security. Increased domestic rice production is seen as a means to both offset staple food imports and boost rural incomes (DENARPII). However, uncontrolled land clearing for upland rice cropping is also the main deforestation and ecosystem degradation driver, which compounded by current climatic predictions greatly enhance the risk of irreversible land-productivity loss. This can compromise food security and deplete the country Ìs main economic resource. Nevertheless, and contrary to what happens in many other developing countries where agriculture is the main economic activity, if wisely managed, there is a large potential for growth in the agricultural sector of Guinea-Bissau. DENARPII also recognizes the untapped potential of tourism (particularly eco-tourism), which currently represents a marginal but growing contribution to Guinea-Bissauâ€™s economy.
Guinea-Bissau has adopted a series of strategies and policies that deal, directly or indirectly, with climate change. The most important are: the National Programme of Action of Adaptation to Climate Change (NAPA, 2006) and the Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2011). These documents are currently being updated with the objective of developing a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and a third communication to the UNFCCC (2015); institutional aspects are central in both.
With the aim of adopting actions directed toward mitigating the effects of climate change, attracting investment and promoting the sustainable management of natural resources, the Government of Guinea-Bissau initiated participation in the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative (under the UNFCCC) by applying for membership of the UN-REDD programme in the beginning of 2014. The potential effectiveness of implemented activities can only be guaranteed with credible baselines and operational monitoring and tracking of land use changes and forest-related processes. It was determined that this can best be achieved by developing a first and crucial building block in the SNAP â€“ on the basis of which monitoring can be gradually extended to the rest of the territory. This process will be assisted by the expansion of the SNAP from 11 to 25% of the national territory in 2015, when the on-going project2 for installing and staffing two new large protected areas and connecting corridors is concluded. In this context, two coastal protected areas (Cacheu and Cantanhez national parks) are the focus of the first REDD+ pilot projects, with the objective of demonstrating how carbon payments could be utilized to secure both reduced rates of deforestation and improvements in livelihoods through benefit sharing.