World Wetlands Day, an opportunity to celebrate the rehabilitation of a lake at in the heart of Bissau

The World Wetlands Day that was organised in Guinea Bissau by the Coastal Planning Department in collaboration with the Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas (IBAP), the Wetlands Protection Organisation, the Monte-Ace NGO and the Municipality of Bissau provided an opportunity to celebrate the restoration of “La lagoa de N’Batonha”, a wetland in the heart of the capital city. Until it was restored, this lake served as a site where people used to dispose of their waste and refuse, with all sanitary risks involved.

On the initiative of the MONTE-ACE NGO and with funding from the European Union and Instituto Camões, the Municipality of Bissau decided to re-establish a recreational and natural area for its inhabitants. “La lagoa de N’Batonha” will also provide all the services usually provided by wetlands, including protection from floods, filtration of pollutants and groundwater recharge. The project was also designed to serve as a hotspot of environmental education for schools in the capital city, including through the creation of an interpretation centre on wetlands.

This example of partnership with the Municipality of Bissau in the service of citizens and nature was welcomed on the occasion of the celebration of the World Wetlands Day where a number of leading figures made a statement, including the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Minister of Territorial Administration, the Director General of the Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas, the Representative of IUCN, the Delegate of the European Union as well as the Coordinator of the MONTE-ACE NGO.

Central to these statements was the need to find an alternative to the construction of a thermal power plant within the boundaries of the Lagoas de Cufada Natural Park, an internationally significant wetland listed as a Ramsar site. The celebration took place near Lagoa de N’Batonha in a festive musical and theatrical atmosphere entertained by the Netos de Bandim band. Let’s applaud this initiative that gives back wetlands their rightful place in the heart of the city for the good of the general public and the education of the youth!