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Djibouti - Country Profile

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Djibouti is made up of rich and varied terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The terrestrial ecosystem is separated into the mountainous region and the semi-arid lowlands (plateaus, plains and depressions). These lowland regions are mainly steppes, and shrubby and partially treed grasslands. Vegetation is dominated by species adapted to dry climates such as acacias. Djibouti also comprises a rich marine biodiversity as it is found along the Red Sea. It has 370 km of coastal area and 4 principal islands. In terms of known biodiversity (terrestrial and marine), Djibouti counts 826 species of plants and 1417 species of animals, including 493 invertebrates, 455 fish, 40 reptile, 3 amphibian, 360 bird and 66 mammal species. Djibouti is located at a major ornithological crossroad in the transcontinental North-South migration corridor. During the autumn season, close to 1 million birds per year have been observed. There are several species of flora and fauna threatened with extinction. About 20 terrestrial species are identified as being endangered at a global level. Among these are 4 mountain tree species and animals such as the greater spotted eagle, the warthog and the cheetah. 2 marine mammals, and 4 marine turtles are also considered threatened. Threats to biodiversity include: degradation of habitat from natural and anthropogenic activities; overexploitation; uncontrolled hunting and fishing; competition for resources with domestic livestock; and predation by invasive species like the crow.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

The Djibouti Republic does not possess terrestrial protected areas, but has 2 marine protected areas: Muscha Regional Park and the Maskali Reserve.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

According to the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, the principal issues to be addressed include: alleviation of advanced degradation caused by anthropogenic pressures; revision of the urban scheme and an improvement in the management of solid and liquid wastes; motivation and implication of all stakeholders; promotion of new sustainable activities such as ecotourism; decentralization of environmental information which must reach the ensemble of districts and encouragement of sustainable development at the local level.

Implementation of the Convention

Measures Taken to Achieve the 2010 Target

One of Djibouti’s national objectives is to conserve biodiversity in-situ in zones of ecological significance at the national or international level. The country has created several terrestrial and marine protected areas, although they are not currently under surveillance. Measures, such as awareness raising workshops, have been taken in areas where some species, like marine turtles, are illegally exploited. Environmental concerns have been integrated into some sectoral activities, such as fisheries. Furthermore, many programmes encourage the conservation and sustainable use of resources. However, the level of poverty experienced by the population constitutes a serious obstacle. Several other measures related to the monitoring of illegal fishing, trade of wild animals, and cutting of living trees have been taken. Djibouti possesses one of the biggest ports in the region, therefore monitoring of marine pollution is very important. The protection of natural sites that are important for tourism is among the other issues mentioned in the Third National Report. Although several issues have been identified, there are unfortunately few actions being implemented in the field due to the lack of human, financial and technical capacities.

Initiatives in Protected Areas

One of the objectives is to ban all human activities in protected areas so they can become refuges for many animal species. In 2000, new zones that could potentially become protected areas have been identified. These areas have been chosen notably because they are home to rare plant and animal species

Initiatives in Access and Benefit Sharing

Djibouti established a partnership with the laboratory of plant biotechnology of Riyad in Saudi Arabia following the donation of varieties of date palm plants present in Saudi Arabia. The country also mentions that a treaty may be signed with the “Institut de la Recherche pour le Développement de Montpellier” (France). In addition, Djibouti has signed three international conventions in regard to intellectual property.

Initiatives for Article 8(j)

A development programme regarding date palm plants is being implemented.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme