The Republic of Guinea is a medium sized (245,800 km²) country on the Atlantic coast of West Africa. In spite of its size, Guinea is very diverse with a mangrove-rich coastline, several mountain ranges which give rise to mighty rivers such as the Gambia, Senegal and Niger rivers, large areas of savannahs and rainforests with many endemic species of fauna and flora. Although it is severely defaunated, the country holds the largest remaining population of critically endangered chimpanzees in West Africa. It also contributes several key biodiversity areas to the west African rainforest’s biodiversity hotspot.

Land cover and land use in Guinea in 2020 (IGNFI, 2020)

Guinea holds more than a third of the world's bauxite reserves (25 billion tonnes) and is experiencing a mining boom in its Fouta Djallon mountains, around Boké. Large mining projects for iron ore on the Pic de Fon (Simandou) and Mount Nimba have also recently been relaunched. These investments come with associated transport infrastructure (roads, rail, ports, etc.) and growing energy needs. To meet them, Guinea is developing its vast hydropower potential, which also implies building access roads and powerlines.

Despite its wealth of natural resources, Guinea remains one of the poorest countries in the world (per capita GDP is less than 900 USD/year). At least a fifth of the country’s 13 million people live in the capital, Conakry, and the urban population is expected to grow rapidly in the coming decade. For now, however, most Guineans are very reliant on natural resources and ecosystem services for their livelihoods.


Réunion de travail du CN-CIBE (novembre 2023 à Conakry)

COMBO works closely with the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD) and has contributed to the creation by the Guinean government of a dedicated body, the CN-CIBE (Comité National pour la Compensation des Impacts sur la Biodiversité et les Ecosystèmes), responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of the country's strategy for mitigating and offsetting the impacts of development on biodiversity. The CN-CIBE brings together several ministries as well as representatives of civil society and has successfully prepared a strategy for applying the mitigation hierarchy in Guinea, which was approved by the government in 2019.
Within the MEDD, the COMBO programme works closely with the Agence Guinéenne d'Evaluation Environnementale (AGEE), which is responsible for environmental authorisations within the Ministry of the Environment. COMBO also works with the agencies that manage protected areas in Guinea: the Office Guinéen des Parcs Nationaux et Réserves de Faune (OGPNRF) and the forestry administration (Direction Nationale des Forêts et de la Faune), as well as technical partners operating in the country: the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF), Kew Gardens, the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG), Fauna and Flora International (FFI), the Jane Goodall Institute and many others.
To reduce the impact on biodiversity, particularly in Guinea, engagement with the private sector is crucial. In this context, COMBO was one of the first programmes to support the creation of the Bauxite Environment Network (REB), which brings together several bauxite mining companies to share lessons and solutions to common biodiversity issues.

Objectives & Activities

The COMBO+ programme in Guinea aims to reconcile economic development and conservation objectives by helping to define and implement policies aimed at achieving no net loss, or even a net gain, of biodiversity by applying the Avoid/Reduce/Compensate sequence of the mitigation hierarchy. This project is part of the process of achieving national biodiversity objectives arising from the CBD COP 15. 
In order to implement this programme at the heart of the challenges faced by Guinea, the activities are based around four main objectives:

1.    Institutionalising policies : 
Supporting and accompanying the government in setting up appropriate governance systems and policies to guide the implementation of the mitigation hierarchy at national level while supporting the achievement of national biodiversity targets and the enforcement of laws and in particular the environmental code.

2.    Operationalising the tools for implementing the Mitigation Hierarchy (HA)
Develop technical tools for assessing habitats and identifying areas where biodiversity conservation is a major issue.

3.    Capacity building and awareness raising
Build the capacity of governments, civil society, financial institutions and businesses in the concepts and implementation of the mitigation hierarchy.

4.    Formalising methods for implementing biodiversity conservation actions, including offset projects
Developing and testing innovative operational models and protocols for applying the mitigation hierarchy, particularly offset measures, in partnership with the private sector, the public sector, civil society and conservation stakeholders.


Guinea has pioneered the use of the mitigation hierarchy (HA) in West Africa: two bauxite mining companies (GAC and CBG) have committed to funding the creation of the Moyen Bafing National Park (officially designated in 2021 and covering 6,426 km2) to the tune of $28 million and $20 million respectively. This represents by far the largest budget allocated to biodiversity in the country in recent years, and is the fruit of a fruitful collaboration between these companies, their backers (IFC), technical partners such as WCF and the Guinean authorities.

Against the backdrop of a mining boom combined with a concern to preserve biodiversity, the first phase of COMBO helped strengthen the country's legal and political framework, as well as its institutional capacity. In 2019, Guinea adopted a comprehensive national strategy to mitigate and compensate for impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, and revised its environmental code to require offsetting of impacts. AGEE staff and other government agencies have been trained in the ins and outs of the mitigation hierarchy and the notions of "no net loss" and "net gain" of biodiversity. A Comité National pour la Compensation des Impacts sur la Biodiversité et les Ecosystèmes (CN-CIBE) and a Réseau Environnement Bauxite (REB) were also set up to support the government and private sector in implementing the mitigation hierarchy. COMBO has also contributed to the development, and dissemination through training, of several tools and deliverables such as the National Action Plan for the Conservation of Guinea Chimpanzees (PNCCG). Indeed, given the importance of chimpanzees as a flagship species for conservation in Guinea, it is essential to continue supporting more coordinated approaches to chimpanzee conservation in Guinea. With this in mind, the new phase of the COMBO program (COMBO+) initiated exchanges with the ARCC Task Force in December 2022, to find coherence between the national plan (PNCCG) and the regional action plan for chimpanzee conservation (WCAP), as well as informing on the expected results of strengthening coordination between national authorities and the IUCN Great Apes Specialist Group. A workshop was also held in December 2023 to plan and coordinate the implementation of the national plan.

The second phase of the project builds on the solid foundation of the initial results, and its first objective was to update and enforce regulatory texts to integrate the implementation of the Mitigation Hierarchy, such as the update of Arrété 15-95, which conditions the implementation of biodiversity offsetting measures, or the text implementing the Mitigation Hierarchy and biodiversity offsetting. All this while continuing to build capacity, notably by recruiting technical assistants for the Agence Guinéenne d'Evaluation Environnementale (AGEE). 

One of the main obstacles to the widespread and successful implementation of the mitigation hierarchy in Guinea is the lack of available data on biodiversity. In order to undermine this fact, the COMBO+ project intends to develop metric tools and guides on the use of biodiversity data for the application of the mitigation hierarchy, including maps with guidelines on their use. Over the years, the COMBO project has compiled and made available these data, and continues to capitalize on biodiversity data. As was the case with the CEPF-funded MOON project (Mainstreaming Opportunities for Operationalizing Business contributions to Nature in the Mano River Union Countries), which produced a map identifying biodiversity reservoirs and ecological corridors in Guinea. Another major step in data production is the development of roadmaps for the establishment of the national Red List of threatened species and ecosystems according to IUCN criteria, which has led to the elaboration of a national list of priority species.

Once these tools and data have been produced, it is important to disseminate them and ensure that they are properly appropriated by the players concerned, notably through a training plan to reinforce the capacities of public and private players in the application of the mitigation hierarchy

Finally, the COMBO team plans to analyze and define operational models and innovative protocols for the practical application of the mitigation hierarchy, notably through offsets. To this end, we have gathered feedback from conservation and restoration projects, such as the COHAB project aimed at identifying solutions for cohabitation between chimpanzees and local communities at 3 sites in Fouta Djallon. This project proposes a model for community conservation agreements outside protected areas that could be applied in the context of the mitigation hierarchy.

Resources & Products

Some of the products of our work are listed below:

News & Events
  • March, 7th, 2024: The COMBO+ implementing partners were received by Mr. Secrétaire Général, Dr Karim SAMOURA, at the MEDD.

The delegation consisted of the biodiversity project manager, Mr Alexandre THOUZEAU, the specialist in environmental assessment and sustainable development and specialist in ecosystem and health dynamics and management, Professor Samuel YONKEU, PH. D, and the head of biodiversity projects, representing Biotope Guinea, Ms Marine MARC. These biodiversity experts met with the Secretary General in the presence of the Head of Cabinet, Mr. Aly TRAORÉ, accompanied by the Legal Advisor, Mr. Cyril ABOLY, and the Advisor in charge of the mission, Ms. Halimatou DIALLO. The Inspectorate General and executives from the Guinean Environmental Assessment Agency were also present. The main objective was to introduce the technical assistant, Professor Samuel YONKEU. On the agenda: biodiversity management and capacity building for MEDD executives. During the meeting, Dr Karim SAMOURA gave all executives the opportunity to express their training needs in terms of biodiversity management and the progress of the COMBO+ project in Guinea. Executives also reviewed the concepts of evaluation in the context of carbon market valuation, monitoring-evaluation and dissemination of the project's achievements. In conclusion, the Secretary General underlined the different levels of intervention of the COMBO+ project, all under the control of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. The Biodiversity Project Manager and the Biotope representative in Guinea provided satisfactory answers to the many questions posed by MEDD executives. This second phase aims to reconcile Guinea's economic development objectives with the conservation of its biodiversity. The aim of this project is to improve the practices of the mitigation hierarchy and operationalize the concept of ecological offsetting. 

  • New video on COMBO+ in Guinea !! enlightened


Marine MARC 

COMBO+ Project manager, Guinea

501 Immeuble Joulia, Sis à Coléah Lansebougni

C/ de Matam, Conakry – République de Guinée




Guinée Écologie

e-mail : info@guineeecologie.net

phone : +224 621 27 75 08

Tel : +224 625 28 87 00

© Diane Detoeuf/WCS, © Efard Arevr/ WCS