UNDP has been working with coastal communities in Guinea-Bissau to tackle climate risks, in an effort to build resilience and empowerment in matters related to climate change. The Coastal project is financed by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and by UNDP Guinea Bissau. The project covers three main geographical areas of the country and, on the 5 and 6th of July, an official field mission took place in the Varela-Cacheu zone led by the Minister of Environment and Biodiversity.
The focus of the field mission was to connect with local administrative and traditional authorities as well as with local communities to better understand the zone’s economic activities and ecological strengths and vulnerabilities.
The field visit was a success. In attendance were representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Biodiversity, the Director of IBAP, the Governor of Cacheu and local authorities of São Domingos. From UNDP’s side, the Deputy Resident Representative for Programme, the Head of the Sustainable Development Unit and the Coastal project team were also present to connect with the local authorities and local communities’ beneficiaries of the project. According to Mrs. Jihene Touil, Head of UNDP’s Sustainable Development Unit, the field visit can be described as “an opportunity to strengthen the link with the local communities and have the sense of real issues and potential of the pilot zone to be able to better tailor the project interventions to the reality of the beneficiaries”. Mrs. Touil continued, saying that “the mission was also a message to the local communities that the project’s approach relies on continuous consultations with them for better commitment and sustainability of the interventions”.
As a SIDS country, Guinea-Bissau’s coastal communities are one of the main actors to support the country in its efforts to combat climate risks. The Coastal project allows to put the coastal communities at the forefront of climate adaptation and resilience and to strength Guinea-Bissau’s SIDS characteristics.