Story | 25 Oct, 2022

Engaging the forestry, agriculture and mining sectors to adopt sustainable practices in the Republic of Guinea

Unsustainable wood exploitation, traditional slash and burn agriculture practices and mining activities are accelerating biodiversity loss in the Republic of Guinea, according to a study examining the country’s economic sectors with the largest impact on the environment.  

To explore solutions, some 50 stakeholders participated in a two-day workshop in October in Kindia, where they discussed possible sectoral commitments for biodiversity conservation as well as strategies for mobilising stakeholders in the forestry, agriculture and mining sectors.  

Organised by the BIODEV2030 project, the workshop was praised by Cyril Aboly, a representative of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, for bringing stakeholders from the public and private sectors and civil society to the table to encourage them to contribute to solutions and make concrete commitments to halt biodiversity loss.

Understanding the national threats to biodiversity

BIODEV2030 was launched in the Republic of Guinea in 2021. The project first undertook an “assessment and prioritisation of threats to biodiversity at national and local levels in Guinea” led by Professor Alpha Issaga Pallé Diallo and a team of CERE researchers. The study provided an in-depth analysis of the threats and economic sectors that most affect biodiversity.

Based on the results of the assessment, the stakeholders identified agriculture (in particular rice growing and fruit and vegetable farming), forest exploitation (lumber and charcoal), and mining (bauxite and gold mining), as priority sectors to mobilise.

Identifying sectoral drivers of biodiversity loss and possible ways forward

The recent workshop was an opportunity for the stakeholders to take stock of the diagnosis of the prioritised sub-sectors, and discuss the opportunities, challenges and possible action plans. Each sub-sector was studied in representative regions of the country: the bauxite and charcoal sub-sectors were studied in Lower Guinea, fruit and vegetable crops in Middle Guinea, timber and rice in Forest Guinea, and gold panning in Upper Guinea.

"Our country is rich in soil and subsoil resources, in arable land with favourable rainfall for agriculture, the exploitation of which could significantly improve the lives of the population if it were carried out without impacting biodiversity,” said Bangaly Chérif, a representative of the President of the Guinean National Transitional Council (CNT) and the President of the CNT Commission in charge of economic affairs and sustainable development.

However, traditional agricultural practices, mining activities, unsustainable wood cutting, bush fires and other unsustainable methods of land use interact to accelerate the degradation of water, land and the environment. It is therefore essential to mobilize stakeholders to discuss and find sustainable solutions and upscale best practices that reconcile economic development and biodiversity conservation.

The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development encourages and “supports all the projects that allow the Republic of Guinea to honour its commitment made under the various United Nations framework conventions,” noted Mr Aboly. Therefore, the BIODEV2030 project is officially listed among the actors, technical and financial partners supporting the environment sector in Guinea, such as Biotope and Guinée Ecologie involved in COMBO+ - also funded by the Agence Française de Développement.

Next steps

In the coming weeks, prior to the Convention of Biological Diversity COP15 in Montreal in December, sectoral dialogues will be organised with stakeholders involved in the fruit and vegetable farming, charcoal and gold mining sub-sectors. The objective will be to develop common action plans for a sustainable pathway.

The BIODEV2030 project is financed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), coordinated by Expertise France and implemented by IUCN and WWF in 8 countries each.