IUCN welcomes the Republic of Guinea as a new State Member

27 August 2012 | News story

IUCN extends a warm welcome to the Government of the Republic of Guinea, which has officially announced its decision to become a Member of IUCN by endorsing the IUCN Statutes. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests has been designated by the Government of the Republic of Guinea as its liaison with the IUCN Secretariat.

Located on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, Guinea became an independent republic in October 1958, making it the ninth State in Africa to gain its independence. With an area of 245.857 km², the Republic of Guinea shares hundreds of kilometres of its borders with neighbouring countries: Guinea-Bissau in the north-west, Senegal in the north, Mali in the north-east, Côte d’Ivoire in the east, and Sierra Leone and Liberia in the south

Guinea has a population of 9 million, in other words an average density of 22 inhabitants per km². This population is made up of around 30 ethnic groups, each with its own local language, whilst French is the country’s official language.

Bordering on the North Atlantic Ocean, the country has 320 km of coastline. The Fouta Djallon massif, considered the “water tower of West Africa”, is located in Guinea. Indeed, several rivers (Niger, Senegal, Gambia, and Mano) and their main tributaries (Tinkisso, Milo, Niandan, Falémé, etc.) have their source in Guinea. In order to protect this site of international importance, and with the backing of the African Union and FAO, 8 countries in West Africa have just begun a regional programme for the restoration and integrated development of the Fouta Djallon Highlands (the Fouta Djallon Highlands Integrated Natural Resources Management Project).

Commenting on all this potential, Aimé Joseph Nianogo, IUCN Regional Director for West and Central Africa declared that: “We are delighted that the Republic of Guinea has become a Member of IUCN. In addition to being considered as West Africa’s “water tower”, this country is extremely rich in plant and animal species. However, its natural resources currently face many threats, caused by the climate and, above all, human activity. The issues and the challenges are thus enormous and involve us all”.

Moreover, within the context of the improvement of the national legal framework for the protection of the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources, the Ministry for Environment, Water and Forests recently made a call for an expression of interest in the creation of a Blueprint Law on the protection and development of the environment in the Republic of Guinea. The aim the consultation is to proceed to the updating of the 1987 Environment Code, whilst at the same time taking into account new universal notions, concepts and principles in this subject.

In this context, the Honourable Saramady Touré, Minster for Environment, Water and Forests of the Republic of Guinea stated that: “The management of natural resources in general has become a matter of extreme concern in our country. And we are certain that collaboration with IUCN will favour joint, coherent and efficient development for the well-being of the population”.

Since 2009, IUCN has carried out activities in Guinea in various sectors such as the restoration of forest ecosystems, the management of marine and coastal resources, the conservation of protected areas and the equitable sharing of benefits derived from major hydraulic works. The Republic of Guinea’s membership of IUCN will help reinforce these initiatives, and establish a lasting partnership between the Union and the Guinean authorities.

For more information, please contact: Monique C. Yigbedek Bisseck, Head, Constituency Support and Development Unit, IUCN West and Central Africa Programme: monique.yigbedek@iucn.org