Cape Verde has a characteristical biodiversity of flora and fauna and is one of the top centers of endemism at the global level (ranked 11th) and the second largest nesting area in the north Atlantic for the loggerhead turtle. Furthermore it is an important host of breeding and feeding sites for humpback whales.
Environmental degradation in Cape Verde is closely linked to poverty. Lack of mineral resources with economic value, the growing population and low-income families cause
great pressure on natural resources (soil, water, vegetation). Other factors such as the
urban development, the expansion of tourism in the coastal zone and unregulated tourism pressure may pose a serious threat to the very assets that sustain its attractiveness. The recent speculation has been associated with existing pressures.
A System of Protected Areas, where none existed before, is in development in a close partnership with the government and the UNDP to have long-term solutions to conserve the biodiversity of Cape Verde.
Close to 41,000 hectares to the total protected areas have been added in 2012 to them already established by Law . This will increase the level of operational protected areas from only 6% to 77% of the expanded area. The purpose is, within four years, to create conditions to operate four terrestrial protected areas in the three different islands of Fogo, São Vicente and Santo Antão and to contribute to consolidation of three major marine protected areas in the islands of Sal and Boavista in natural parks for protection of fisheries. As well as reinforcing the national capacitiy for the management of Protected Areas.
The creation of new sectors of management and the promotion of participatory approaches in the management and conservation of endemic biodiversity of Cape Verde will ensure the ecological balance and the sustainability of ecosystems and reinforce the national capabilities for the management of Protected Areas.