Conselho de Gestão da Área Marinha Protegida Comunitária Urok
Operating the Bijagós Archipelago off the western coast of Guinea-Bissau, Conselho de Gestão da Área Marinha Protegida Comunitária Urok (Management Council of the Locally-Managed Marine Area of the Urok Islands) was created in 2005 by indigenous Bijagós communities to strengthen social, cultural, and environmental resilience. The Marine Protected Area (MPA) covers 54,500 hectares of culturally and ecologically important sites around the islands of Chedia, Nago, and Formosa, including over 3,000 hectares of mangrove forests providing crucial fish habitat. The council brings together indigenous communities, officials from the National Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas, and the non-governmental organization Tiniguena in a collaborative effort to safeguard key ecosystems, promote community development, and support local culture. In one of the most vulnerable countries in West Africa to climate change, the traditional knowledge of Bijagós people inform MPA conservation for future generations, safeguarding sacred sites, ecosystem well-being, and mangrove forests essential for climate resilience.
Equator Prize Winner: 2019
Location: Archipel des Bijagos, Guinea-bissau
Biodiversity: Forests, oceans and coast