The European Green Party (EGP) are calling for the European Commission to raise the matter of Varela National Park with the Guinea-Bissau government, and support them in ensuring the area is protected from exploitation. This unique ecosystem and the Djola people who live there need protection. The integrity of this vital area must be assured.
Varela National Park has a lot of mineral wealth. Chinese companies have already signaled their interest in exploring off the coast for oil. Russian companies have already began to explore for minerals, including radioactive ones.
It is vital that the Guinea-Bissau government do all they can to protect this rich and diverse landscape. Its beaches provide nesting grounds for endangered sea turtles, while its forests are important habitats for migrating birds. It has a high diversity of ecosystems, including mangrove forests, coastal savannas and aquatic zones. It is an important breeding ground for many species, including Nile crocodiles, hippopotamuses and savanna gazelles. Unchecked development would have a catastrophic effect.
It must be strongly protected from short-sighted exploitation for private profit. The EU must show solidarity with the Djola people, and provide the Guinea-Bissau government with all the support it needs in ensuring that Varela remains a vital part of the global ecosystem.