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Peace and security in the sub-region is essential for addressing environmental problems in Guinea.

The total number of refugees in Guinea (registered as well as unregistered) is unclear; there would be at least as many refugees living in the urban centers as there are in the official UNHCR refugee camps.

The Guinea Government, UNHCR, and the Guineans themselves are to be commended for the way they received the refugees. Refugees have been located in small camps close to existing villages, which has resulted in a high level of integration with the local population. This has prevented greater environmental damage.

The present pressure on natural resources in southern Guinea is very high, both in the rural and urban areas. The rate of use of the resources is unsustainable, leaving increasingly less natural resources available for an increasing population.

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Several urban centres in Guinea, including Conakry, but particularly in the Forestiere area, have received refugees, some have very high refugee populations, sometimes exceeding the original population.

While most attention and efforts go to the officially registered refugees in the UNHCR refugee camps, the environmental problems in urban areas are very serious and are not adequately addressed.

There has been a rapid increase in solid waste generation, without a viable system for collection and disposal in most urban centers.

The national plans for the systematic and coherent development of potable water have been severely compromised by the large influx of refugees both in rural and urban areas, to the extent that demand now far outstrips available resources and exposes the population to serious health risks.

The sanitation situation in the urban centers, including Conakry, is among the worst in West Africa. Sanitation problems are a serious threat to human health, epidemics are a serious problem.

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There is an urgent need to for a more sustainable use of the natural resources available in Guinea Forestiere.

The ongoing need for arable land and the ongoing deforestation have significantly changed the landscape over the last years, with a general loss in biodiversity of indigenous plant and animal species.

Specific issues are the shortening of fallow periods (decreasing soil fertility), the deforestation for the need for arable land, the conversion of swamps into agricultural areas (disturbed water systems), and shortening of fallow periods caused by the demand for arable land is reducing the soil fertility. All these issues are inter related.

In order to increase reforestation efforts, planted increasingly with mixed species of value to local communities, and to better maintain these efforts, it is essential to increase local planning and maintenance capacities clarify definitions of land ownership and users rights. The execution of reforestation initiatives should be improved (coordination, maintenance).

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There is a good understanding about the environmental impact of the refugees by organisations involved.

Present initiatives to address the environmental impacts are often sectoral, ad-hoc, short term, poorly coordinated, and concentrate only on the most affected areas.

Reforestation policies and especially practices are lacking far behind the Guinea Government’s objectives, mainly due to lack of resources.

UN agencies, especially UNDP, are supporting the initiative of the Guinea Government to organise a donors conference.

Some international NGOs’ like GTZ, are supporting reforestation efforts.

The World Bank is supporting the updating of the Guinea National Environmental Action Plan.

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