Bijagos, Guinea-Bissau




Guinea Bissau


East Atlantic flyway


Migratory Birds for People


Organisation name

Casa Ambiente e Cultura Boloma Bijagós, RBABB - Reserve de la Biosfere de Archipel de Bolama Bijagós, IBAP - Institute for Biodiversity and Protected Areas

Financial support

FIBA, Noé Conservation, MAVA, GEF, CBD Habitat

Number of staff


Number of visitors per year



- To identify the main priorities for intervention in areas that impact on the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity as well as on the cultural heritage of the Bijagós archipelago;

- To formulate a set of guidelines and approaches that allow the various stakeholders to place their action in a common, articulated perspective, strong in its coherence and integration of components and actors;

- To promote a framework of partnership and cooperation likely to stimulate the animation of the processes, to increase the synergies of the initiatives, to reinforce the collective capacity of advocacy in favour of the archipelago and to propose a concerted programme of intervention able to answer the expectations of the populations, the authorities and the donors.

The state of conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity in the Bijagos archipelago is, in general, very good. This is largely due to the natural protection afforded by its insularity (difficult access and dumping of products), the traditional conservation measures adopted by the Bijagó people, as well as more recent conservation measures promoted by IBAP and its partners (especially in the MPAs). Nevertheless, there are wide variations on this topic. For example, while on the one hand the large wintering populations of waterbirds do not suffer from any known serious threats in the short to medium term, on the other hand there are several species of cartilaginous fish that have suffered severe population declines which, in the case of sawfish Pristis spp, have already led to the almost complete disappearance of two species, with several other species of rays and sharks seriously threatened. Some regional extinctions have even been confirmed, such as the elephant, once abundant in Bolama. For many species, the status, population trends and threats are not clearly known, so actions to improve this knowledge are a priority.

Of the 17 globally threatened species, 15 (88%) are susceptible to threats from fishing activities and 8 are in the highest threat categories (Endangered or Critically Endangered) and are vulnerable to accidents caused by fishing gear or, in the most frequent case, are even victims of intentional capture. It should also be noted that of the 17 species that appear as threatened in the red list, only one (the dwarf crocodile) lives in the sea. In addition to marine species, in the international context, interest is also focused on habitats. This is the case of the mangrove (tarrafes), the sand and mud banks that put the coastal region of Guinea-Bissau on the international scene.


Work areas

Main CEPA activities

There is a need to revive a dynamic of collective participation in the management of the Biosphere Reserve. In view of the possible classification of the archipelago as a World Natural and Cultural Heritage site, it is even more crucial for stakeholders to support the conservation imperatives. This implies a major effort in the field of communication aimed at :

Informing stakeholders about the values of the Reserve's natural and cultural heritage, the issues at stake, the risks, the rules in force, the opportunities, the measures to be recommended, the developments observed, etc., considering that well-informed stakeholders are likely to contribute more effectively to the objectives of the RBABB and MPAs;

Animate the conservation and sustainable development process on the basis that it is a collective effort that must be organised around a shared vision. This presupposes that the majority of actors, the youth in particular, are involved in the dynamics through lively information, exchange opportunities capable of generating enthusiasm for alternatives for sustainable and equitable development;

Coordinate efforts by facilitating contacts between stakeholders and providing them with an equal level of information to move in the same directions;

Promote advocacy actions aimed at better defending the interests of the archipelago vis-à-vis development opportunities in the interest of local populations and environmental protection;

Strengthen the adhesion of national and international partners and, more globally, of "friends of the archipelago" whether they are ordinary citizens, artists, researchers, political figures or development partners to support the dynamics proposed in the framework of this Action Plan.

Three main successes

Appreciation of local populations of conservation aspects especially with Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

A good awareness of the people on the Biosphere Reserve aspects especially with the conservation of biodiversity including waterfowl.

Very good relations between institutions to have a common goal at the Biosphere Reserve level.

Three main challenges

Lack of support to local initiatives for development aspects.

Local administration is less concerned and proceeds to sell land for the construction of hotels and other tourist infrastructures without respecting the zoning of the Biosphere Reserve.


Areas of expertise

Interpretation techniques

Creating signage / site information; Producing written materials; Using audio-visual tools; Developing nature trails

Visitor centres

Setting up a new visitor centre; Managing / creating habitat; Running a visitor centre; Building / maintaining structures


Working with disabled people; Engaging young people; Working with volunteers

Education and communication

Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools



Biosphere Reserve of the Bolama Bijagós Archipelago, Avenida Don Settimio Arturo Ferrazzetta, P.O. Box 70 Bissau, Guinea-Bissau

Tel. (245) 320 71 06/07. Email:


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