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Equatorial Guinea - Country Profile

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Biodiversity Facts

Status and trends of biodiversity, including benefits from biodiversity and ecosystem services

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Located in the Gulf of Guinea, Equatorial Guinea is part of the tropical region of the African Atlantic coast. The country consists of two biogeographic divisions (continental and insular), is rich in tropical rainforests, as well as other biodiversity within the context of Africa, and hosts many sources of water due to its continental rivers and islands. Its land area covers more than 28,052 km2, while its continental shelf covers 14,710 km2 and its EEZ 314,000 km2.

In 1990, Equatorial Guinea's economy was largely based on the export of roundwood and previously on the production of cocoa and coffee. Since 1995, the country’s economy has become largely dependent on deposits of oil and natural gas, although the export of roundwood, particularly to Asian forestry companies, still occupies an important place in the economy. Forest cover has declined dramatically over the last 15 years (from 1,670,000 hectares in 1997 to 740,122 hectares in 2013). Moreover, approximately 60% of forests are exploited under leases of logging companies granted by the State. These activities significantly impact on 80-90% of the human population that is directly dependent on forest resources for subsistence.

The country is also home to at least 23 species of primates, which is an extraordinarily high number in relation to the country’s size. Yet many primate species are now threatened with extinction. A particularly critical case exists on Bioko Island where 6 of the 11 primate species found on the island are endangered due to intensive poaching to supply lucrative domestic bushmeat markets. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that forestry operations tend to favor easy access to poachers and that most primates on Bioko Island are not found anywhere else in the world.

Marine biodiversity is of vital importance to the people of the Island of Annobón, where over 80% of the working population is engaged in artisanal fishing. However, the country, as a whole, currently imports 70% of the fish it consumes. On the coast, artisanal fisheries receive little support and there is virtually no community management system for enhancing resilience to the impacts of climate change. This type of situation, which also exists with respect to agriculture, underscores the potential for future food security problems due to a lack of strategies promoting local production and establishment of local markets. Foreign fishing companies are granted licenses by the Ministry of Fisheries and the Environment and primarily fish for tuna.

It is estimated that more than 500 plants and 100 species are used in various forms of traditional medicine. An example is Prunus Africana, an endemic plant species found on Bioko Island whose bark has been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments; today it is also sold abroad, primarily to pharmaceutical companies in Spain. The production and sale of ornamental plants is another important economic activity.

Main pressures on and drivers of change to biodiversity (direct and indirect)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The main pressures on biodiversity relate to: overhunting, particularly associated with the bushmeat trade, especially on Bioko Island; reduction in forest cover; forest operations which provide easy access to resources for poachers; and problems related to the control, monitoring and evaluation of fisheries activities.

Measures to Enhance Implementation of the Convention

Implementation of the NBSAP

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Adopted in 2005, Equatorial Guinea’s first NBSAP contains 6 general objectives and 10 strategic programmes, the latter focusing on: institutional strengthening; development of legislation; biodiversity education; protected areas; marine systems; inland waters; agricultural lands; island ecosystems; scientific research; and the petroleum sector. Examples of activities taken to implement the NBSAP are highlighted in the next sections.

A revised and updated NBSAP has been completed however its adoption is pending. This NBSAP emphasizes the implementation of the current global agenda, establishing well-defined mechanisms for mobilizing financial resources, sectoral and inter-sectoral mainstreaming and identifying alternative livelihood options for local populations aimed at reducing pressures on biodiversity.

Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Fifteen national targets have been developed taking the global targets into account and based on the country’s most urgent needs. They can be viewed at: http://www.cbd.int/countries/targets/?country=gq

Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

The Law on the Sustainable Use and Management of Forests was revised and updated in 2013.

Biodiversity has been mainstreamed in the development strategies of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Ministry of Fisheries and Environment, Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy, Ministry of Information, Press and Radio and in the National Strategy for Poverty Reduction to 2020. Synergies have also been identified with regard to implementing international and regional treaties, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (National Adaptation Plan of Action, REDD+), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC).

In 2010, Equatorial Guinea adopted a National Action Plan on Coastal and Marine Ecosystems under the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME) project (covering 16 countries in the project region).

To date, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes have not been effectively enforced due to a shortage of financial and human capacity, though recently there has been a move to strengthen capacity in this regard. In 2013, EIAs were carried out in regard quarry (aggregrate) operations for construction projects on the continent. NGOs are also being supported by the Government to raise awareness among oil companies on sustainability issues, including conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment before beginning operations.

Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation

The content of this biodiversity profile is still draft. The text below has been prepared by SCBD and remains subject to final approval by the Party concerned.

Although at present such a mechanism does not exist, this matter is addressed in the country’s Target 13 which calls for the establishment of a monitoring system by 2020.

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  • United Nations Environment Programme