Guinea Bissau is a country located on the west coast of the African continent. Despite having a rich culture and strong natural resources, it is one of the most impoverished nations in the world, the World Bank says. Guinea Bissau had a GDP of just $1.63 billion in 2022 and, in 2018, almost 22% of the population lived in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $2.15 per day. Progress toward the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is essential for global poverty reduction. And likewise, achieving the SDGs in Guinea Bissau is essential for the country’s overall growth, development and poverty reduction progress.
According to the Sustainable Development Report on Guinea Bissau, major challenges remain in 13 out of 17 SDGs. Also, significant challenges remain in SDG 10 (Reducing Inequalities) but the country has achieved SDG 13 (Climate Action). For the remaining two SDGs, there is no data to assess.
UN Investment and Aid
In April 2022, the U.N. and the government of Guinea Bissau met to discuss the government’s implementation of the Cooperation Framework strategy, which runs from 2022 until 2026 and aligns with the country’s National Development Plan and the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The framework focuses on three outcomes: “Governance, economic transformation and human development.” Poverty reduction and wealth inequality fall into the first two focuses. The overall aim of this plan is for the U.N. to assist Guinea Bissau in meeting the 17 SDGs.
In the year 2022, the U.N. committed almost $87 million to help Guinea Bissau move closer to reaching the SDGs. In 2023, so far, the U.N. has provided $75.3 million, mostly used in the areas of health and well-being (49.3% of the total value), peace, justice and effective institutions (11.6% of the total) and zero hunger and sustainable agriculture (17.1% of the total).
UNDP Aids Development in Guinea Bissau
Among Guinea Bissau’s development cooperation partners and organizations, UNDP is the main partner, and it already has an office in the country and projects aimed at specific local needs since the country’s independence in 1975.
The UNDP acts in the country and, consequently, for international development, supporting good governance in order to achieve equality and opportunity for all. The UNDP focuses on good governance to ignite progress in the development of other key areas. These other areas are democratic governance, efforts toward national social cohesion and peace, gender equality, poverty reduction, environmental sustainability and health.
With regard to methodologies and work strategies for development, the UNDP identifies and states that current development challenges are interconnected and interdependent. This means that an integrated approach is necessary rather than isolated efforts in order to bring about lasting change in development and poverty reduction in Guinea Bissau.
UNDP Projects in Guinea Bissau
To help Guinea Bissau move closer to achieving the SDGs, the UNDP has implemented several projects:
- Building Forward Better in Guinea Bissau: This project began in January 2022 and will end in December 2024 with the aim of advancing progress on the SDGs overall.
- Political stabilization and reform: Building trust and inclusive dialogue within the national political regime in order to make it more democratic and in line with U.N. principles.
- Blue economy as a catalyst for green recovery: The project focused on leveraging the country’s blue economy through open and interactive dialogue involving the private sector and civil society, thus obtaining investment from multiple parties. The project began in January 2021 and ended in December 2022.
- Stabilization of the justice sector: A proposal that seeks to achieve political stability, considering that the main cause of the difficulty of development is due to the existing political crises in the country, in order to support the justice sector in accordance with the principles of the system international human rights, resulting in the consolidation of internal peace.
Overall, the efforts of the U.N. and its agencies prove vital in helping Guinea Bissau meet the 17 SDGs with just seven years remaining.
– Letícia Lacerda