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GRID-Arendal is involved in the Blue Bijagos Project, led by the PRCM with funding from the Blue Action Fund, aiming to address marine conservation challenges. Focused on establishing two new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and a connectivity corridor, the project prioritizes sustainable MPA management and the promotion of eco-friendly livelihoods. GRID-Arendal plays a pivotal role in steering two critical components of this initiative, showcasing a commitment to harmonizing human activities with the preservation of the unique biodiversity in the Blue Bijagos region.

The Bijagós Archipelago, an ecological gem off Guinea Bissau's coast, is celebrated globally for its rich biodiversity. UNESCO designated it a Biosphere Reserve, WWF recognized it as a conservation priority, and it's a Ramsar site. Its upcoming nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site underscores its significance. The archipelago's economic impact on Guinea Bissau is substantial, contributing to fisheries and offering untapped eco-tourism potential. Safeguarding biodiversity in the Bijagós archipelago is not only vital for global conservation but also the local economy. The Bijagós people, deeply connected to their environment, rely on activities like cashew production, rice farming, subsistence fishing, shellfish collection, and non-timber forest product harvesting. Their animistic culture and reverence for sacred islands emphasize sustainable resource use, intertwining spiritual life with regional biodiversity.

Protected areas of the Bijagós archipelago

Economic challenges persist in the Bijagós Archipelago, where limited resources for education, healthcare, and staple foods have led to unsustainable fishing practices, while a lack of state presence has allowed illegal fishing practices to harm local communities and deplete vital resources.

The Blue Bijagos Project, backed by the Blue Action Fund, seeks to address these challenges by establishing two new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and a connectivity corridor, with a focus on ensuring the sustainable management of these MPAs to effectively protect marine resources. Additionally, the project aims to promote sustainable livelihoods that are in harmony with environmental conservation efforts. GRID-Arendal spearheads two critical components of this initiative:

  • Capacity Building: Through the Blue Capacity Hub, stakeholders will receive training in "Blue Planning in Practice" (BPiP) and "Sustainable Blue Economy" (SBE). This education will empower local trainers to apply these practices within their communities, promoting participatory management of marine resources.
  • Monitoring and Surveillance Enhancement: In the coming 2-5 years, GRID-Arendal will bolster surveillance capabilities through investments in advanced tools and equipment, involving an assessment of the existing monitoring system to identify areas for enhancement, and offering guidance on fortifying current technologies while evaluating innovative tools such as drones, night vision binoculars, and remote sensing devices.

By addressing the systemic issues and leveraging the archipelago's strengths, the Blue Bijagos Project aims to create a sustainable future for both the people and the unique ecosystems of the Bijagós Archipelago.

Tags: MPA Bissagos Islands Bijagos

Related Sustainable Development Goals

GRID-Arendal's activities support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


GRID-Arendal's activities are nearly always a cooperative undertaking made possible through collaboration with partners and donors.

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