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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN GUINEA-BISSAU


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies     

Guinea-Bissau reaffirms its political commitment to integrate environmental policies into sustainable development and supports the CSD's programme of work for 1998-2000.

Following the Earth Summit, the government of Guinea-Bissau established the National Council for the Environment in an effort to facilitate the implementation of Agenda 21 goals and objectives.

Subsequently, in 1994, following the first democratically elected government, significant changes were made to introduce the environmental component into the government's institutional structure. A Secretary of State for Tourism, Environment and Traditional Arts (SETAA) was established, which a year later evolved into the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Traditional Arts (MTAA), to allow for a more systematic consideration of environmental issues in the decision making process regarding economic, social, and fiscal policies, energy, transportation, agriculture, trade, land planning, among others.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in coordination with the General Directorate for the Environment (DGA), proposed to the Government the creation of the Mongais do Cacheu Natural Park, and the National Park of the Orango Islands.

The Bolama-Bijagos Biosphere Reserve, designated by UNESCO as Global Patrimony, was created in 1996.

The government approved a legal framework for Protected Areas.

The Basic Law on the Environment, and a Project for the Protection of Fragile Ecosystems (Institutionalization of the Lagoa de Cofadas Natural Park) have been elaborated and are waiting for government approval.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In the process of carrying out its mandate, the MTAA promoted activities conducive to the elaboration of a National Environmental Plan. These activities included hosting a National Conference on the Environment, the first of its kind, which counted on the participation of all segments of society, including governmental and non-governmental organizations, local authorities, religious leaders, among others.

Following this national forum on the environment, technicians from all ministries came together to formulate environmental and sustainable development programmes/projects for the country, taking into account the need for a more participatory approach in the decision making process. These projects were later presented at an international round-table, held in Bissau in May 1996, with the participation of major donors and those financing development projects, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNESCO, UNEP, FAO, WHO, the European Union, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), USAID, the Portuguese Environmental Promotion Institute (IPAMB), and the governments of Portugal and the Netherlands, among others.

The joint-declaration adopted at this round-table, which will guide all planning activities, focused essentially on the following:

- Elaboration of a political strategy and National Plan for Environmental Management;
- Strengthening legal/institutional frameworks for capacity building and promoting education and training to improve the quality of human resources; and
- Assessment and inventory of current development programmes to identify complementary areas and additional financial and technological needs.

All cooperation partners who participated in the round-table reaffirmed their commitment to assist the government of Guinea-Bissau in achieving these development objectives.

Despite existing constraints, additional positive steps have been taken in the integration of environmental policy into the country's political and legal framework. It is necessary to safeguard the sectorial development plans, which will facilitate the elaboration of a strategy for the management and rational utilization of the country's natural resources, and improve the standards of living of the population. The following is a list of the goals achieved in the integration of environmental policy into the political and legal framework:

- In collaboration with the IUCN, the MDRA elaborated and proposed to government an environmental strategy for coastal management.

- The National Council for the Environment, in collaboration with the UNDP/UNSO, elaborated a draft National Plan for the Management of Natural Resources.

- The Ministry of Rural Development, Natural Resources and the Environment, in collaboration with the UNDP, elaborated a Water and Sanitation Master Plan.

- The Ministry of Public Works, with Portuguese cooperation assistance, elaborated a General Urbanization Plan for the capital, Bissau.

- The Ministry of Rural Development and Agriculture, with support from the World Bank, UNDP, and FAO, elaborated a Plan of Action for the Tropical Forest.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available. 

Status 

Located in the Sub-Sahel region, Guinea-Bissau became independent after eleven years of open fighting, which partially destroyed its agrarian and productive structures due mainly to the defection of the rural population. Its natural resources have been increasingly subject to erosion and exhaustion due to continued demographic pressures.

The country's geostrategic position, threatened by the advance of the Sahel desert, is further exacerbated by social factors, such as a high poverty rate and a per capita income of no more 200 US$. This places the country in a position of total dependence on its limited natural resources and increasingly low levels of official development assistance.

The democratization of civil society, adherence to international organizations, and the opening up of borders to the free movement of goods, services, and individuals create new challenges and expectations, but also threatens to increase the pressure on fishing resources, particularly in the coastal area and forests, among others.

Currently, the country's situation is characterized by

Under these circumstances, it is difficult to anticipate an improvement in the quality of life and the chances to live in harmony with the environment and equitably share its resources.

National Decision-Making Structure

1. National Sustainable Development Coordination Body: Yes
2. National Sustainable Development Policy: Yes
3. National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD  
4. Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21:  
5. Environmental Impact Assessment Law:  
6. Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making: Yes

National Instruments and Programmes

1. Sustainable. Dev. or environmental education incorporated into school curricula:  
2. Sustainable Development Indicators Program:  
3. Ecolabel Regulations:  
4. Recycle/Reuse Programs:  
5. Green Accounting Program:  
6. Access to Internet:  
7. Access to World Wide Web:  
8. National World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Development or State of the Environment:  

Policies, Programmes and Legislation

1. Combatting poverty: Yes
2. Changing consumption and production patterns:  
3. Atmosphere:  
4. Land Use Planning: Yes
5. Forest and Deforestation: Yes
6. Desertification and Drought: Yes
7. Sustainable Mountain Development: No
8. Sustainable Agriculture: Yes
9. Biological Diversity: Yes
10. Biotechnology:  
11. Oceans and Coastal Areas: Yes
12. Freshwater Management: Yes
13. Toxic Chemicals: No
14. Hazardous Wastes: No
15. Solid Wastes: Yes
16. Radioactive Wastes: No
17. Energy: Yes
18. Transport: No
19. Sustainable Tourism: No

Challenges 

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Guinea Bissau to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

It has been a concern of recent governments to strengthen the intervention capacity of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Advancement of Women so it can be more effective in promoting the role of women in Guinea-Bissau's society. This Ministry is responsible for elaborating the Governments' policy on women and for providing support to women's organizations. It should be noted that women's NGOs, in collaboration with the above Ministry, organized in Bissau the first fair on a variety of products made exclusively by women.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was ratified in 1985.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In recent years, the government of Guinea-Bissau has implemented policies, plans, and strategies aimed at achieving gender equality. These plans included promoting women's education, training, nutrition, and health, as well as their participation in decision making regarding environmental management.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

Women in Guinea-Bissau have played an active role in the decision making process, both economic and political, since the country's independence. Women's organizations have always fought to defend women's own interests and to attempt to define their place in society.

Women in Guinea-Bissau play an important role in the development process. Aside from being active in all productive sectors, they also participate in nature conservation activities. The country's social and productive structure depends heavily on women's participation. There are many women's associations, including the Castanhez Initiative which has been active in forest conservation.

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Challenges 

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Guinea Bissau to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies       

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

As in many developing countries, the percentage of youth in Guinea-Bissau is relatively high, accounting for nearly 30% of the country's total population. The government and NGOs are working together to increase educational opportunities for children and youth, including education on environmental issues. The environmental component is being taken into consideration in this process.

Challenges 

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Schools and health centres have been used for community mobilization to promote the important role that both parents and children can play in awareness raising and the sensibilization of local communities regarding environmental issues.

These activities represent an opportunity for children and youth from different schools and villages to get together and form their own youth groups. Most of these initiatives are sponsored by NGOs, which depend on the assistance and support of the government and the international community. Both UNICEF and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature have been particularly active in promoting activities for children.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Guinea Bissau to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects  

No information is available.

Status 

Local indigenous populations play an important role in the development process. Development partners, such as the government, national and international NGOs, among others, often seek their advice and participation in development projects. Their knowledge of local realities and respect for nature are recognized as an valuable contribution to all development activities, including sensibilization campaigns to raise awareness for the need to use natural resources more efficiently.

In this context, the first Secretary of State for Tourism, Environment and Traditional Arts, immediately after it was created, met with local authorities, religious and tribal chiefs from every region, among others, to inform them about the government's policy for natural resource management and the contributions they could make to the development process.

Challenges 

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Guinea Bissau to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies     

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

A government NGO coordinating agency, SOLIDAMI, was established to promote the role of NGOs as social partners, to facilitate dialogue, partnership and cooperation among them, and to facilitate as well their participation in national mechanisms and policies designed to implement sustainable development projects. The aim is to make use of NGOs intervention capacity in specific areas, to complement government activities, particularly in education, poverty eradication, environmental conservation, among others.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

The government of Guinea-Bissau recognizes formal and non-formal organizations as well as popular movements as development partners in the implementation of Agenda 21 goals and objectives. NGOs play an important role as members of the civil society for they strengthen the democratic and participatory approach.

Challenges 

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

 

This information was provided by the Government of Guinea Bissau to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects  

No information is available.

Status 

A country with an area of 36,125 Km2, Guinea-Bissau has a population of about 1 million divided into 20 ethnic groups. There are three major provinces divided into eight administrative regions and each region is subdivided into various administrative sectors.

This structure has been fairly preserved since independence. Local administrative power was initially in the hands of village committees formed by elected village representatives. However, in recent years it has been passed on to local religious and traditional leaders, on whom most development projects for specific ethnic regions depend for their execution. These local leaders play a vital role in the civic education of their people; they mobilize local communities and raise awareness for the need to promote sustainable development.

The introduction of a new administrative system will allow the newly established autarchies to enter into dialogue with the local population, organizations, and the private sector to develop local sustainable development plans. Local authorities, in collaboration with other civil society representatives, will define strategies to implement these plans.

Challenges 

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

 

This information was provided by the Government of Guinea Bissau to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

WORKERS AND UNIONS

No information is available.

* * *

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

No information is available.

* * *

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY

No information is available.

* * *

FARMERS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Guinea-Bissau has established a legal and institutional framework, including the Law on Land and a Comprehensive Agrarian Policy, to serve as the basis for promoting sustainable agricultural development. These legal instruments will allow for a more decentralized decision making process, encourage sustainable lifestyles, rural development, and efficient management of fragile ecosystems and water resources.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Taking into account the fact that agriculture is the primary activity on which most of the population depend, that most rural activities are carried out in close contact with nature and that it becomes increasingly vulnerable due to over exploitation, the government promotes activities aimed at achieving sustainable agricultural development. Agriculture is often subject to decreasing levels of rainfall, lower soil productivity, and monoculture. The government has therefore promoted a number of activities.

In light of the structural adjustment programme, carried out in collaboration with the IMF and the World Bank, the government encourages sustainable farming practices and the export of monoculture products. It also provides incentives for women to promote horticulture, by providing technical assistance and improved seeds.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status  

No information is available.

Challenges 

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

Most of these activities were carried out, in cooperation with the Swedish and Dutch governments, in pilot projects, such as the PDRI - Integrated Rural Development Project Zone I, and others, based on the needs of women farmers.

 

* * *

 

This information was provided by the Government of Guinea Bissau to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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SCIENCE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

This issue is being addressed by the National Research Institute (INEP).

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects  

No information is available.

Status  

No information is available.

Challenges 

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Guinea Bissau to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The government of Guinea-Bissau, through the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Traditional Arts, intends to implement measures to ensure that decision making processes take into account the need to improve the quality of and access to information, particularly information regarding natural resource management. In this context, an agreement was signed with Portugal with the view to establishing a database to be used in the project for the elaboration of the National Plan for the Environment.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status  

No information is available.

Challenges 

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

In an effort to facilitate decision making processes and to monitor natural resources management more efficiently, the government has requested to join UNEP's International Environmental Information System (INFOTERRA), the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS), and the Global Resource Information Database (GRID).

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Guinea Bissau to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 1997.

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

No information is available.

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