Cape Verde

Location

Praia
Cape Verde
14° 55' 0.12" N, 23° 31' 0.12" W

Capital Based Focal Point:

Information to be updated soon!

Capital City: 
Praia
Languages: 
Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole

Climate Change

In 2000, Cape Verde submitted its First National Communication on Climate Change to the UNFCCC. This was followed by the submission of its National Adaptation Programme for Action (NAPA) on Climate Change to the UNFCCC in 2007. Cape Verde has also developed a National Strategy Action Plan against Climate Changes, which primarily focuses on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Cape Verde is highly vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise and has a low capacity to adapt to these phenomena. Models of future climate change suggest that temperature increases of up to 4ºC and decreases in rainfall by up to 20% can be expected by 2100. In the next 10 to 20 years, climate-induced changes are expected to include seasonal water shortages at an increasing number of key economic locations and year-round shortages at other sites. Climate variability is also predicted to increase, with more storms, floods and droughts and a shorter rainy season. Key sectors likely to be affected by the impacts of climate change include the transportation, energy and water industries. The analysis of future agro-climatic development indicates that under the anticipated conditions of increasing aridity resulting from decreasing rainfall and increasing temperature, the amount of food Cape Verde will be able to provide as a percentage of its requirements will drop dramatically, thereby exposing a large portion of the population to food deficits and food insecurity by 2020. A warming climate and sea-level rises also threaten potentially lucrative economic sectors such as tourism and fisheries.

Cape Verde National Adaptation Programme of Action on Climate Change 2008 (UNFCCC)

Natural and Environmental Disasters

Cape Verde submitted its National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) to the UNFCCC in 2007.

Cape Verde is prone to variability in rainfall patterns that result in frequent droughts and extreme weather events such as devastating floods and sudden changes in temperature. These episodes are occurring with increased frequency. Torrential rains, an increasingly frequent phenomenon in Cape Verde, lead to great loss of human life in addition to loss of agricultural soils, animal life, and infrastructure. These intense rains, although short in duration, can cover an entire watershed within a short period of 3 to 6 hours, and are the most common natural disaster likely to hit Cape Verde. Increased local and general droughts are also foreseen due to the anticipated effects of climate change and are expected to contribute to the reduction of plant cover and the degradation of ecosystems, affecting livelihoods and agricultural production. Volcanic eruptions are also a possible natural hazard, as Cape Verde’s Mount Fogo is an active volcano which last erupted in 1995. Hurricanes also strike the area and are known to form near the Cape Verde Islands. These hurricanes are referred to as Cape Verde-type hurricanes, and can become very intense as they cross warm Atlantic waters.

Cape Verde National Adaptation Programme of Action on Climate Change 2008 (UNFCCC)
AIMS Regional Synthesis Report for the Five Year Review of Mauritius Strategy for Further Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for Sustainable Development in SIDS (MSI+5)

Waste Management

Cape Verde has ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal. Currently, the Government of Cape Verde is seeking support from the EU to help implement a water and environmental infrastructure framework. An agreement was made to concentrate resources in the water and sanitation sectors, particularly for the supply and distribution of drinking water, collection and treatment of residual water, and solid waste control.

The accumulation of waste in Cape Verde is having a negative impact on the environment and consequently on those economic sectors, such as tourism and fisheries, which rely on a healthy environment for success. The quality of tourism services that focus on the sun and the sea are at risk of becoming unsustainable in the long run, as current waste management practices and pollution decrease the aesthetic value of the environment. In particular, there is urgent need for sanitation systems and recycling of sewage water, as well as for improving systems for collecting solid waste. The main indicators for environmental pollution are the presence of used oil in the soil, the dispersion and accumulation of non-biodegradable solid waste in waste dumps, the accumulation of vehicle exhaust gases (mainly in urban centers) and of aerosols (dust and sand) in the air. All these aspects of environmental pollution are on the increase in all municipalities. The only exception is São Vicente, partially due to the involvement of an NGO that collects and stores used oil.

Cape Verde's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRSP-II)
Second National Environmental Action Plan 2004-2014

Coastal and Marine Resources

Cape Verde submitted its Quatriéme Rapport sur l'etat de la Biodiversite au Cap Vert (Fourth National Report on the State of Biodiversity in Cape Verde) to the Commission on Biological Diversity in 2009. The Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries is the main body that overseas coastal and marine policy.

Marine resources and the coastal zone have strong production potential in terms of food, salt, and energy, and a potential for aquaculture and tourist development for the Cape Verdean economy. Previous studies have revealed the sensitivity of coastal zones to sea level rise and to the associated increases in tidal surges and sea storms. These effects are exacerbated by anthropogenic destruction of natural barriers along the coastal edge, particularly through the mining of sand and the over-exploitation of wells. Examples of commonly-exerienced effects include strong winds provoking dust storms and increasing coastal erosion, strong waves and high tides contributing to the degradation and even total destruction of coastal protection structures, and saline intrusion leading to the salinization of water sources and agricultural fields near beaches and in low lying river beds.

Cape Verde National Adaptation Programme of Action on Climate Change 2008 (UNFCCC)
Second National Environmental Action Plan 2004-2014

Freshwater Resources

The Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries oversees water-related policy in Cape Verde.

Raqinfall is irregular In Cape Verde, causing periodic drought and famine. Due to its geomorphology, the country has a dense and complex hydrographical network. There are no permanent water courses, however, and temporary water courses run only during the rainy season. These temporary water courses drain quickly toward the main watersheds, where, unless captured by artificial means, they continue to flow rapidly to areas of lower elevation and to the sea. This applies equally to water courses in the flatter islands. The declining water resources and gradual salination of groundwater in coastal areas are attributed to climate change as well as anthropologic activities such as the extraction of sand and gravel from coastal areas for construction. These water shortages are exacerbated by the fact that a high percentage of rains fall within a very short time period and there is not enough capacity to capture and store such rainwater. The random nature of the rains and deficient infrastructure in the water sector, in combination with increasing water consumption due to agriculture, pastoral activities, civil construction, tourism, and industry, have greatly increased pressure on water resources. This has led to scarcity of freshwater resources, which has negative repurcussions on the environment and human wellbeing. Low infiltration and water retention has led to a lowering of the water table. This water stress is predicted to exacerbate the rural exodus already underway, which will in turn put increased pressure on urban resources.

Cape Verde National Adaptation Programme of Action on Climate Change 2008 (UNFCCC)
Republic of Cape Verde: ADB Country Strategy Paper 2009-2012

Land Resources

In 2008, Cape Verde released its Second National Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. There is no urban development plan, but there is a Second National Environmental Action Plan 2004-2014 (PANA II) which takes into account both rural and urban development.

The archipelago of Cape Verde is made up of ten islands and nine islets, and is located off the west coast of Africa. Although all of Cape Verde’s islands are volcanic in origin, they vary widely in terrain, with only one active volcano on the island of Fogo. Because Cape Verde is a group of islands, temperatures are generally moderate with irregular rainfall between August and October each year and frequent-but-heavy downpours. Due to the intermittent nature of rainfall, Cape Verde's climate is semi-desert. Only 10% of the land is potentially arable; of this, 95% is utilized for rain-fed agriculture, while the remaining 5% is used for irrigated agriculture. Arable lands are, to a large extent, located in the semiarid and arid zones. The soils are generally rich in mineral elements but poor in organic matter and nitrogen. This situation is the result of a combination of factors, such as erosion, poor plant cover and the use of crop residues as fodder and fuel. Soils are, to a great extent, shallow, poorly developed and with low water retention capacity. However, fertile alluvium and colluvium soils are found in valleys, constituting the main areas for irrigated agriculture. The accelerating advance of sea waters quickly reduces the margin of interface between the sea and the land, increasing soil salinity and reducing its productive capacity, which again has significant negative effects on agricultural activities conducted in coastal zones. Food insecurity is a chronic and recurring problem in Cape Verde that especially affects the poor population. Cape Verde is faced with a structural food deficit resulting from insufficient arable land and insufficient rainfall. As a result, cereal production covers no more than 10% to 15% of demand. To overcome this, Cape Verde must rely on food aid. Environmental degradation is also the result of poor crop choices made by Cape Verdean farmers, such as growing corn on slopes and other practices that accelerate soil erosion. Most agriculture in Cape Verde is family-based and characterized by micro-farms averaging 1 to 1.5 hectares in area. Some of these farms are further split into smaller areas, a reflection of Cape Verde’s inheritance system, but the reduced area available to each farmer is not enough to guarantee the subsistence of rural families. Without an urban development plan, the concentration of immigrants around urban areas leads to disorganized construction and accumulation of solid waste and residual water, with a negative impact on public health.

Cape Verde National Adaptation Programme of Action on Climate Change 2008 (UNFCCC)
Cape Verde's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRSP-II)

Land Resources

In 2008, Cape Verde released its Second National Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. There is no urban development plan, but there is a Second National Environmental Action Plan 2004-2014 (PANA II) which takes into account both rural and urban development.

The archipelago of Cape Verde is made up of ten islands and nine islets, and is located off the west coast of Africa. Although all of Cape Verde’s islands are volcanic in origin, they vary widely in terrain, with only one active volcano on the island of Fogo. Because Cape Verde is a group of islands, temperatures are generally moderate with irregular rainfall between August and October each year and frequent-but-heavy downpours. Due to the intermittent nature of rainfall, Cape Verde's climate is semi-desert. Only 10% of the land is potentially arable; of this, 95% is utilized for rain-fed agriculture, while the remaining 5% is used for irrigated agriculture. Arable lands are, to a large extent, located in the semiarid and arid zones. The soils are generally rich in mineral elements but poor in organic matter and nitrogen. This situation is the result of a combination of factors, such as erosion, poor plant cover and the use of crop residues as fodder and fuel. Soils are, to a great extent, shallow, poorly developed and with low water retention capacity. However, fertile alluvium and colluvium soils are found in valleys, constituting the main areas for irrigated agriculture. The accelerating advance of sea waters quickly reduces the margin of interface between the sea and the land, increasing soil salinity and reducing its productive capacity, which again has significant negative effects on agricultural activities conducted in coastal zones. Food insecurity is a chronic and recurring problem in Cape Verde that especially affects the poor population. Cape Verde is faced with a structural food deficit resulting from insufficient arable land and insufficient rainfall. As a result, cereal production covers no more than 10% to 15% of demand. To overcome this, Cape Verde must rely on food aid. Environmental degradation is also the result of poor crop choices made by Cape Verdean farmers, such as growing corn on slopes and other practices that accelerate soil erosion. Most agriculture in Cape Verde is family-based and characterized by micro-farms averaging 1 to 1.5 hectares in area. Some of these farms are further split into smaller areas, a reflection of Cape Verde’s inheritance system, but the reduced area available to each farmer is not enough to guarantee the subsistence of rural families. Without an urban development plan, the concentration of immigrants around urban areas leads to disorganized construction and accumulation of solid waste and residual water, with a negative impact on public health.

Cape Verde National Adaptation Programme of Action on Climate Change 2008 (UNFCCC)
Cape Verde's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRSP-II)

Energy Resources

Although missing a specific Energy Strategy, the Second National Environmental Action Plan 2004-2014 (PANA II) highlights Cape Verde's need to pursue renewable energy options. Cape Verde enjoys the natural endowments necessary to make solar or wind power possible alternatives on a larger scale, but currently lacks the capacity to institute a move away from non-renewable energy sources

Energy use on most islands varies according to the socio-economic position of households, with poorer households relying on petroleum for lighting and others relying on electricity. The majority of the poor population uses firewood for cooking, which puts pressure on the limited supply of vegetation. Non-poor households use butane gas for cooking purposes and as a source of energy. Currently, there is very limited access to non-renewable resources for all households and sectors. Sun, sea and wind resources are identified in PANA II, but currently there is no capacity to adequately utilize these natural resources. The energy sector focuses investment in rural energy supply, and renewable sources such as wind and solar energy are being promoted in these programmes. Due to a lack of knowledge in the area, the industrial sector emphasizes the need for implementing environmental impact studies of already-established national industries to identify and catalogue the current energy situation.

Cape Verde's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRSP-II)
Second National Environmental Action Plan 2004-2014

Tourism

There is ongoing preparation in Cape Verde of a Strategic Plan for the tourismsector, as well as an integrated tourism plan for the islands of Sal, Boa Vista and Maio that aims to create sustainable tourism development for Cape Verde.

Tourism is becoming one of the engines of growth for Cape Verde’s economy, reflecting the country’s comparative advantages in this area. Cape Verde’s tourist boom began in the year 2000, with the number of beds increasing 28% between 2000 and 2003 and the number of overnight stays increasing 22%. There has been some effort in the area of professional training, but it still falls short of the sector’s needs. The relatively low quality of tourist services -- dominated by sun and sea –  could jeopardize the sector’s long-term sustainability if not improved. In particular, there is an urgent need for sanitation systems and recycling of sewage water, as well as for improving systems for collecting solid waste. Cape Verde experienced strong economic growth nationally before the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, but the loss of tourism resulting from a decline in the number of global visitors stifled national economic growth. With the economic recovery, the tourism sector is likely to experience positive growth again.

Cape Verde's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRSP-II)
Republic of Cape Verde: ADB Country Strategy Paper 2009-2012

Biodiversity

Cape Verde has signed and ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity, and itsFourth Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity was presented to the Commission on Biological Diversity in 2009. Cape Verde also has a Second Environmental Action Plan 2004-2014 (PANA II) in place with provisions for protecting biodiversity.

Uninhabited until the 15th century, Cape Verde is faced with a multitude of anthropologic threats to its biodiversity. Soil erosion in rural areas, soil pollution in urban areas, coastline pollution, water pollution, air pollution, and landscape degradation have all arisen from over-exploitation of natural resources, place significant pressure on plant and animal species. Cape Verde has experienced a rapid loss in biological diversity, with the degradation of natural resources and species intensifying. Currently, there are limited government policies to adequately address this loss. Waste accumulation and dispersion have also exacerbated the loss of biodiversity. Overgrazing by livestock and inadequate agricultural practices have been responsible for environmental degradation in rural areas. This is made worse by the insufficient output of agriculture and animal husbandry, which encourages overexploitation of other natural resources as a means to secure alternative incomes. An example of this is the extraction of sand and gravel from coastal areas for construction, which causes seawater infiltration and decreases water quality for human use, leading to a loss of tourist appeal and a loss of income. Priorities for protection of marine biodiversity focus on improving the knowledge base about marine species, emphasizing endangered and endemic species, and on sustainable management of the coastal zone and marine protection areas. Programs to counteract biodiversity loss in Cape Verde include reforestation and ongoing plans for the management of fisheries, birds, turtles and wetlands, among others.

Second National Environmental Action Plan 2004-2014
Quatriéme Rapport sur l'etat de la Biodiversite au Cap Vert
Cape Verde's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRSP-II)
Country Strategies: 
Title Programme Name Programme Description Year
PRSP - Cape Verde Cape Verde - Second poverty reduction strategy paper Strategy Description 2008
UNFCCC Nat Comm - Cape Verde Cape Verde. République du Cap Vert. Communication nationale sur les changements climatiques. Strategy Description 1999
NAPA - Cape Verde National Adaptation Programme of Action Strategy Description 2007
NSDS - Cape Verde
NBSAP - Cape Verde 4ème Rapport sur L'etat de la Biodiversite au Cap Vert Strategy Description 2009
16 Apr 2012 | SIDS Policy and Practice
12 April 2012: The Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has released the submissions from Parties, relevant organizations, and bilateral and multilateral agencies containing information on support to the national adaptation plan process in the least developed countries (LDCs). Eleven small island developing States (SIDS) are also categorized as LDCs, namely: Cape Verde, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Maldives, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon...
05 Apr 2012 | SIDS Policy and Practice
20 March 2012: The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has approved a US$1.7 million grant to promote renewable energy systems in Cape Verde over the next 3 years. This project will help Cape Verde reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels, as it relies on sea water desalination, which requires electricity, as a source potable water for most of the islands. The project will support the Government of Cape Verde’s efforts to increase energy production from renewable resources and its...
Bill | 21 Mar 2012
In my view, the Green Economy debate must be linked to sustainable development resulting from both a realistic reflection of the current situation and a desirable vision for the future. It should have an attainable goal based on a mutual agreement and should address the need to continue reducing the gap between developed and developing countries while promoting peace, progress and justice for all. One aspect of Rio +20 that should merit the greatest attention of the international community...
External Resources: 
Title Programme Description Year
Government of Cape Verde
National Assembly of Cape Verde
President of Cape Verde