Guinea-Bissau makes gender, agriculture and tourism a priority in establishing its National Adaptation Plan

August 29, 2022
Photo: UNDP Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau faces some of the world’s most difficult development challenges and is at risk from the impacts of climate change, with agriculture, water and the coastal zone being particularly vulnerable. As an archipelago on the West coast of Africa, Guinea-Bissau is classified as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS). Despite its development status and political instability, Guinea-Bissau has been an early mover developing policy and programmatic responses to climate change since 2006.

By 2016, Guinea-Bissau produced a National Adaptation Programme of Action, a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)and ratified the Paris Agreement. Although some climate change mainstreaming activities have been conducted, climate adaptation considerations and planning are still in early stages of development. 

To support the country’s climate adaptation needs, the Green Climate Fund approved approximately US$ 2 million in financing to establish a National Adaptation Planning Process in Guinea-Bissau, with implementation support from UNDP.

The goal of this project is to strengthen Guinea-Bissau’s adaptive capacity by developing an enabling environment that integrates climate change adaptation into the national planning process, with a focus on the agriculture and tourism sectors

Agriculture is the backbone of Guinea-Bissau’s economy and people’s livelihoods as 85 percent of the population’s income is derived from agriculture. Small holder farmers and villages make up 90 percent of the country’s production of agriculture commodities, such as cashew nuts, rice and livestock. 

In contrast, the tourism sector was selected as an area of focus for this project because it has significant growth potential, but it is also vulnerable to climate change. Guinea-Bissau offers untouched beaches, tropical forests, turquoise waters, and unique biodiversity that includes saltwater hippos across its 88 islands and islets. 

A sustainable tourism sector holds tremendous potential to serve as a mechanism for poverty alleviation and sustainable development as biodiversity‐based tourism could create many jobs, both directly and indirectly.

Guinea-Bissau has two major national development policy documents in place, the Terra Ranka and the Second National Poverty Reduction Strategy – both articulate the importance of and framework for sustainable development that reduces gender inequality and promotes women’s empowerment across all aspects of society. Mainstreaming gender into its national climate plans and policies is a priority for Guinea-Bissau and the National Adaptation Plan will promote gender from the start of the process. 

The National Adaptation Plan project will conduct climate risk assessments in the city of Bissau and of the agriculture and tourism sectors. The assessments will analyze the severity of current and potential future impacts and help to inform the rest of the adaptation planning process. 

The project will conduct a stocktaking exercise of ongoing and planned national development activities, undertake consultations with stakeholders involved, and identify entry points for the integration of gender responsive adaptation planning. Additional capacity development trainings will be provided in the ministries engaged in the climate adaptation planning process. 

Additionally, an online portal will be developed to host important climate information and data that will be essential for understanding risks, vulnerabilities, planning and implementing climate adaptation measures. The portal will have a user-friendly format, allowing for more easily accessible climate change research and projections and project information, as well as other climate change relevant information, including gender and disaggregated data. This information will benefit government policymakers, planners, as well as the public.

The project was approved in June 2022 and will be implemented over three-years with UNDP support. Several ministries will be supporting the project to achieve its objectives, including the Ministry of Environment and Biodiversity, The National Climate Change Committee, Ministry of Economy, planning and regional integration - The Directorate-General of Planning, and the Ministry of Finance (MF), among others. Civil society and the private sector are also key stakeholders who will participate throughout the project.