Guinea, also known as the Republic of Guinea, is situated on the Atlantic coast of West Africa and is part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). French Guinea is sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to avoid ambiguity with other nearby localities that share the identical designation, such as Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea. She has an area of 245,857 km2 and a total coastline of 320 km. The country is relatively low-lying, with an average altitude of 472 m above sea level. The country’s tallest summit, Mount Nimba, reaches 1752 m above sea level. It controls 14 islands bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and shares its border with Guinea-Bissau to the west, Senegal and Mali to the north, and Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast to the south. The country is located between 7°10? and 12°50? North latitude and 7°30? and 15° West longitude and had a population of 13,885,724 inhabitants in 2021.
Several major rivers cross the country, including Niger, Senegal, and Gambia. It is also known for its rich biodiversity, especially its tropical rainforest, which covers about a third of the national territory. In tropical climates such as Guinea, nature was initially seen as a significant obstacle to urban growth, especially during the first half of the 20th century. Guinea forests are among the wealthiest and most diverse in West Africa, home to many endemic plant and animal species, such as chimpanzees, forest elephants, giant pangolins, and African gray parrots from the West. These forests also provide essential ecological services, such as climate regulation, soil protection, and the supply of timber and non-timber forest products. Guinea’s waterways are also of great environmental importance. For example, the Niger River is one of the region’s largest rivers and supports various human and animal communities. Waterways are also vital for agriculture, fishing, and other economic activities.
Guinea’s Atlantic coast is also home to rich marine biodiversity, including coral reefs and mangroves. Mangroves are essential for protecting coastal areas from storms and flooding and also provide important habitats for marine and bird species. Despite the ecological importance of these natural systems, Guinea faces many environmental challenges, including deforestation, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, and climate change. It is, therefore, essential that Guinea integrate an adaptable built environment to protect and restore these biological systems while also meeting the needs of its population in terms of housing, transport, and public services. This can include sustainable building practices, waste and wastewater management policies, sustainable public transportation, and urban planning that considers environmental impacts. By integrating the environment into planning and development decisions, Guinea can help preserve its rich biodiversity and secure a sustainable future for its people.
In the 21st century, urban green infrastructure is essential for many urban challenges. The authors would like to emphasize that urban green infrastructure does not provide a single solution to these challenges . Instead, urban green infrastructure provides a unique educational opportunity for environmental practitioners to deepen their understanding of complex sustainability issues, increase interaction with urban nature, and inspire urban ecological management . Cities are physical and human environments where a population is concentrated and organizes its space according to the site and its environment, needs, activities, and contingencies, particularly socio-political ones. However, cities are complex environments that cannot be reduced to a physical approach because urban space is the spatial translation of the organization in space and time of people and their activities in a given context . This context is physical, economic, political, social, or cultural. Cities have become significant human habitats worldwide, with more than half of the world’s population currently residing in urban areas, according to the United Nations (2014). The world is becoming increasingly urbanized, and net population growth is occurring entirely in urban areas; according to the United Nations, 2.5 billion people will be added to the world’s urban population by 2050 [4,5]. This is especially true for urban areas in developing countries, which are the most populated and rapidly expanding, often without adequate planning. Urban green infrastructure is a means to meet urban environmental and social challenges, such as reducing ecological footprints, improving human health and well-being, and adapting to climate change [6,7].
Integrating green urban infrastructure has become essential to promote sustainable urban development and address global environmental challenges . This study focuses on evolving the policy and legal framework for developing green urban infrastructure in the Republic of Guinea to identify gaps and opportunities in this context . The study for Guinea is highly relevant to green urban infrastructure issues in other countries or regions, as it provides information that can inform policy and practice in those contexts. Guinea, a country facing environmental challenges and growing urbanization, offers a valuable opportunity to examine the policy and regulatory frameworks necessary to develop green urban infrastructure [10,11]. This study will provide practical and transferable knowledge to other countries or regions facing similar issues in order to improve green urban infrastructure policies and practices. One of the critical gaps this study seeks to fill is understanding the specific challenges of Guinea’s policy and regulatory frameworks as green urban infrastructure sites. By identifying these gaps, the results of the study will help develop detailed and tailored recommendations to strengthen policy and regulatory frameworks not only in Guinea but also in other countries and regions [12,13].
The publication of this study will enrich the literature by providing new knowledge on practices and policies specific to Guinea in terms of urban green infrastructure [14,15]. This knowledge will be helpful for policymakers, urban planners, and researchers seeking to promote practical approaches and policies for developing and implementing green urban infrastructure in various contexts. This study contributes to filling the existing gap by providing relevant findings on the political and legal frameworks for developing green urban infrastructure in the Republic of Guinea while offering transferable lessons and recommendations for other countries and regions facing similar challenges in urban green infrastructure.
The search for policy and legal frameworks for developing green urban infrastructure in the Republic of Guinea is essential for several reasons . First, Guinea faces environmental challenges and increasing urbanization that require sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions. The study of these frameworks will identify the specific obstacles to implementing green urban infrastructure in this context. In addition, the results of this research study will be relevant to other countries or regions facing similar problems. Lessons learned from Guinea regarding policies, regulations, and cross-sector coordination could be applied in different contexts to improve urban green infrastructure development practices globally [17,18]. The literature will also benefit from this study by gaining new insights into Guinea-specific policy and regulatory frameworks. This knowledge will enrich existing research and contribute to a better understanding of the policies and mechanisms needed to promote green urban infrastructure [19,20].
The publication of this study on the political and legal framework for the development of green urban infrastructure in the Republic of Guinea will bring several insights to the scientific literature.
Here are some lessons that the literature will draw from this study:
1.1. Policy and Legal Frameworks Specific to Guinea
The study will provide an in-depth analysis of existing policy and regulatory frameworks in Guinea and identify the strengths and weaknesses of these frameworks in the context of green urban infrastructure . This will allow for a better understanding of policies and regulations specific to Guinea and to compare them to other contexts. These frameworks include laws, regulations, policies, and action plans put in place by the Guinean government to promote and regulate green urban infrastructure initiatives . Guinea-specific policies may include incentives for adopting green infrastructure. These sustainable development goals take into account environmental considerations, land-use planning policies to preserve green spaces and promote the sustainability of urban planning, as well as cross-sectoral coordination mechanisms to facilitate the implementation of green infrastructure. Infrastructure [23,24]. These Guinea-specific policies and legal frameworks are crucial to establishing solid foundations for developing and implementing urban green infrastructure in the country . Their effectiveness and relevance can influence the success and impact of green infrastructure initiatives in Guinea and ensure the smooth integration of environmental concerns into urban development . A thorough assessment of these policy and regulatory frameworks will highlight their strengths, gaps, and opportunities for improvement. This will help identify actions to strengthen these frameworks and provide specific recommendations to improve policies, regulations, and cross-sector coordination for green urban infrastructure development in Guinea .
In addition, an analysis of Guinea’s specific policy and regulatory frameworks will help determine the extent to which they are compatible with national and international sustainable development and climate action goals [28,29]. This will assess whether existing policies and regulations meet the environmental, social, and economic sustainability principles required for green urban infrastructure. Another critical dimension of evaluating policy and regulatory frameworks is examining their applicability and effectiveness. The objective is to understand if these frameworks are implemented effectively if adequate monitoring and control mechanisms accompany them, and if they are supported by sufficient resources . This analysis will identify potential gaps between policy and practice and barriers to implementing green urban infrastructure in Guinea. The study of Guinea-specific policy and legal frameworks for green urban infrastructure has broader relevance for countries or regions facing similar challenges [31,32]. The results of this study will provide transferable lessons and best practices that can be adapted and applied in other geographic and political contexts. This will enrich the existing literature on the development of green urban infrastructure and promote the exchange of knowledge and solutions between the stakeholders involved.
1.2. Gaps and Challenges
The study will identify Guinea’s main gaps and challenges in developing green urban infrastructure. These results will help better understand the obstacles to successfully implementing green infrastructure in this country and can serve as a reference for other regions facing similar problems . The study of policy and legal frameworks for developing green urban infrastructure in Guinea faces several gaps and challenges. There may be a gap in the availability of specific data and research on policy and legal frameworks for green urban infrastructure in Guinea . This can make it challenging to analyze and evaluate these frameworks and limit the results’ accuracy. The study of policy and legal frameworks involves the analysis of the interactions between different actors, such as government institutions, regulators, communities, civil society organizations, and private actors. Understanding these complex dynamics can be challenging, requiring a multidisciplinary approach and gathering information from diverse stakeholders .
Like many countries, Guinea faces political and economic challenges that may influence the implementation and effectiveness of policy and legal frameworks . These challenges can include political instability, corruption, budget constraints, and other factors hindering the adoption of policies and regulations promoting green urban infrastructure. Adapting to the impacts of climate change is essential for green urban infrastructure . Policy and regulatory frameworks should be designed to promote resilience to climate hazards such as floods, droughts, and storms. Considering these specific considerations in existing frameworks can be a significant challenge. Aligning policy and legal frameworks with international standards and agreements, such as the Paris Climate Accord, can be challenging. It is essential to ensure that national policies and regulations are consistent with Guinea’s international commitments and promote the country’s contribution to global sustainability goals .
The active engagement of stakeholders, including civil society, local communities, and private actors, is essential for developing policies and regulations related to green urban infrastructure . The study should address the issue of stakeholder participation and identify mechanisms to promote their involvement in the decision-making process. Implementing policy and regulatory frameworks requires solid institutional capacity and adequate resources . However, Guinea may face human, financial, and technical resource constraints, which may hamper the effective implementation of green urban infrastructure policies and regulations. Urban green infrastructure requires an integrated approach and effective coordination between sectors such as urban planning, environment, transport, energy, etc. The study should identify challenges related to cross-sector coordination and offer recommendations to improve collaboration and integration between different stakeholders and government departments . Raising awareness and educating key stakeholders, including policymakers, urban planning professionals, and the general public, is critical to promoting the adoption and implementation of green urban infrastructure. The study should consider awareness, education needs, and strategies to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills .
This study on the policy and regulatory framework for the development of green urban infrastructure in Guinea should address the gaps and challenges related to data availability, stakeholder interactions, political and economic context, adaptation to climate change, harmonization with international standards, stakeholder participation, institutional capacity, cross-sectoral coordination, awareness, and education . By addressing these aspects, the study can help fill existing gaps and provide practical recommendations to improve the policy and regulatory framework for green urban infrastructure in Guinea .
1.3. Recommendations for Strengthening Policy and Legal Frameworks
The study will offer specific and targeted recommendations to improve policy and legal frameworks in Guinea, emphasizing cross-sectoral coordination, adequate financing, and effective implementation of green infrastructure. These recommendations will provide practical guidance for policymakers and urban development practices in other countries and regions.
Strengthen policies and regulations: It is essential to update and improve existing policies and regulations to explicitly integrate green urban infrastructure considerations . This can include developing specific green infrastructure policies, setting environmental sustainability standards, and incorporating green performance criteria into land use planning and building codes. Close coordination between the different ministries and government agencies responsible for aspects related to green urban infrastructure should be encouraged. Establishing mechanisms for collaboration and regular communication between these actors can foster an integrated and coherent approach to green infrastructure planning, implementation, and management.
Institutional capacity building: It is essential to build the capacity of government institutions responsible for implementing and overseeing green infrastructure policies and regulations. This can include training staff, sharing knowledge and best practices, and providing adequate resources to support green infrastructure activities [32,45]. Promoting the active and meaningful participation of stakeholders, including civil society, local communities, and the private sector, is essential in the decision-making process related to urban green infrastructure. This can be achieved through public consultations, mechanisms for dialogue and collaboration, and ensuring access to information and transparency . Innovative financing mechanisms should be explored to support the development of green urban infrastructure in Guinea. This can include the mobilization of public and private finance, the use of fiscal and financial incentives, and the exploitation of public-private partnerships and international funding sources . Raising awareness among policymakers, urban planning professionals, local communities, and the general public about the benefits and challenges of urban green infrastructure is essential. This can be achieved through awareness campaigns, training workshops, knowledge sharing, and environmental education.
By implementing these recommendations, Guinea’s policy and legal frameworks can be strengthened to effectively support the development of green urban infrastructure . This will create more sustainable, resilient, and environmentally friendly cities in Guinea while serving as an example and source of inspiration for other countries and regions facing the same challenges . The proposed recommendations will promote more sustainable urban planning, efficient resource mutilation, biodiversity conservation, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and improved quality of life for citizens. By strengthening the political and legal frameworks, Guinea can embark on a more sustainable urban development path and contribute to the global objectives of environmental sustainability and the fight against climate change [35,47].
1.4. Transferability of Knowledge
The conclusions of this study will be transferable to other countries and regions seeking to develop green urban infrastructure in terms of policies, laws, and coordination and can be adapted and applied in similar contexts. The study of political and legal frameworks for the development of green urban infrastructure in Guinea offers prospects for the transferability of the recommendations of this study and can provide valuable lessons to guide policies and actions in other contexts.
In these articles, we will discuss some portability aspects to consider:
Adaptability to local contexts: Although each country and region has its own characteristics and challenges, the fundamental principles of green infrastructure development can be transferred and adapted to other contexts . Lessons from the Guinea study, such as integrated planning approaches, cross-sectoral coordination, and stakeholder engagement, can be applied to the specific needs of other countries or regions with appropriate adaptations. The study can identify examples of best practices in policy and legal frameworks for urban green infrastructure . These best practices can be shared with other countries and regions to inspire and inform their initiatives. It is essential to document and widely disseminate these successful practices to foster mutual learning and accelerate the adoption of policies and regulations promoting green infrastructure. The study results can be presented at conferences, seminars, and other international forums focused on sustainable urban development . This will promote the exchange of experiences and knowledge between researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers from different countries. International collaborations can also be established to support knowledge sharing and capacity building in urban green infrastructure [4,50].
Using the lessons learned from this study on the policy and regulatory frameworks for the development of green urban infrastructure in Guinea, interested countries and regions can benefit from the following advantages:
Learning from best practices: The study’s results can serve as a benchmark for identifying and adopting best practices related to policy and regulatory frameworks for green urban infrastructure. In this way, countries and regions can learn from Guinea’s experience and adopt effective policies and regulations that promote the sustainable development of green infrastructure. Lessons learned from this study can be adapted and contextualized to the specific circumstances of other countries and regions. Each context presents its own challenges and opportunities, and by understanding the fundamental principles identified in this study, policymakers can develop policy and regulatory frameworks tailored to their specific needs.
Accelerate the transition to green infrastructure: Building on the findings and recommendations of this study, countries and regions can accelerate their growth toward greener and more sustainable urban infrastructure . This can include policies that promote the construction of green spaces, energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and the management of natural resources. The results of this study can stimulate collaboration between countries and regions interested in developing green urban infrastructure. Knowledge sharing, partnerships, and international networks can foster the exchange of best practices, lessons learned, and innovative solutions to benefit all stakeholders involved in promoting green infrastructure . The publication of the results of this study will contribute to the scientific literature on the development of green urban infrastructure. This will enrich the available knowledge and encourage research and exploration of new areas related to green urban infrastructure policies and regulations. The study will also examine innovative approaches and good practices implemented in Guinea to develop green urban infrastructure. This knowledge will help identify successful strategies and innovative initiatives that could be replicated in other contexts, thus promoting the exchange of ideas and solutions between countries and regions .
By studying Guinea as a case study, the literature will better understand the contextual factors that influence the development of green urban infrastructure . This will include geographic, cultural, economic, and political considerations that shape the development and implementation of policies and regulations. Understanding the contextual factors is essential to assessing the policy and legal frameworks for green urban infrastructure development in a specific country such as Guinea . By publishing this study, the urban green infrastructure literature will better understand Guinea-specific policy and legal frameworks, lessons learned from its experiences, and transferable insights for other contexts. It will thus contribute to improving the understanding of the policy and legal frameworks needed to foster the development of green urban infrastructure worldwide, promoting more sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions for cities and communities .
1.5. Urban Green Infrastructure
Urban green infrastructure can be broadly defined as a tool for planning and designing the city by recognizing the benefits of nature and applying the various principles and tools of green planning to the built environment. Consider the bioregional context and the integrated regional and territorial green infrastructure . Urban green infrastructure encompasses all vegetation in the urban environment and blue spaces such as streams, canals, lakes, rivers, and their adjacent green surroundings . Urban green infrastructure is a network of natural and human-managed ecosystems that together enhance ecosystem health and resilience, contribute to biodiversity, and benefit human populations through the sustenance and improvement of natural benefits [33,58].
Urban green infrastructure is a strategic network of natural and semi-natural areas of quality, as well as other environmental elements, designed and managed to render numerous ecosystem services, protect biodiversity in rural and urban areas, and benefit human populations through the maintenance and enhancement of ecosystem services . Green spaces are diverse and include parks, gardens, cemeteries, roadside trees, permeable surfaces, green walls and roofs, and greenways .
Urban green infrastructure is a means to meet urban environmental and social challenges, such as reducing ecological footprints, improving human health and well-being, and adapting to climate change .
In Guinea, as in many other sub-Saharan countries, population growth and urbanization are developing alarmingly. According to official data from the National Institute of Statics (N.I.S.), the urban population, which was 10.8 million in 2010, was estimated to reach 12 million in 2015 and 13.7 million in 2020 and risks exceeding 16 million by 2030 with a growth rate of 3.1% per year . Rapid population growth and urbanization can create demanding societies in urban areas. Most of Guinea’s urban centers are expanding without the proper planning or green infrastructure, which has resulted in environmental issues such as temperature rise, air pollution, water contamination, massive mangrove ecosystem destruction, and greenhouse gas emissions .
In Guinea, urban green infrastructure has no independent policy as a separate sector and has never been an anti-national priority. Indeed, the lack of political direction in recent decades has meant that UGI has received little attention from governments and the people who govern them. On the contrary, through a lack of awareness, urban green infrastructures are often transformed into other land uses, such as buildings for housing or commercial purposes . Furthermore, research shows us that the consumption of the city’s urban green spaces is linked to industrial, commercial, residential, and infrastructure developments, as well as free and illegal settlements along mountain slopes and other open areas.
Most recently, the Ministry of Urban Planning, Housing, and Territorial Development (M.U.P.H.T.D.), a central government body responsible for national planning, coordination, and promotion of all development actions in construction, housing, town planning, and property management, formulated the Urban Green Infrastructure Development Strategy adapting to Climate Change and the Urban Greening and Beautification Strategy as roadmaps to meet the needs of urban populations in the field of green urban infrastructure services . However, there are still policy gaps in green urban infrastructure development and management and in achieving reasonable outcomes. Likewise, proper techniques for implementing and achieving short- and long-term urban green infrastructure development goals are lacking. Finally, yet importantly, no deliberate plan exists to promote the creation and management of green urban infrastructure nationwide .
Nonetheless, the development of urban green infrastructure depends on several fundamental factors, including policies, objectives, standards, and organizational structures. The procedure quickly references a set of thought-through guidelines for decision making to produce positive results in creating UGI. While strategies are action plans to achieve specific goals, each will focus on developing and realizing future urban green infrastructure . A standard is a technical document intended to be used as rules and guidelines to define the activities involved in the development of urban green infrastructure. Guinea’s political and strategic arsenal covers the sectors likely to affect urban development. In addition, institutional arrangements refer to the formal government organizational structures, the single department responsible for its planning and management, and the informal and established norms of a country or region for organizing and conducting its policy work: urban green infrastructure and other legislative activities .
Indeed, policies and plans should develop an inclusive framework for all populations and prioritize urban green infrastructure development’s socio-cultural, economic, and environmental benefits . The monitoring and evolution of policies are essential, allowing decision-makers to assess their effects and make crucial adjustments. Nevertheless, preliminary studies and government reports indicate that there are still research gaps in the evolution of existing urban green infrastructure policies and institutional conventions against national and international commitments . This study confirms that green spaces have been destroyed and transformed into other land uses such as settlements, solid waste dumps, and temporary markets .
Therefore, this research aims to critically assess the current institutional policies, objectives, and organizations for developing urban green infrastructure in Guinea and investigate stakeholder engagement in formulating and implementing urban green infrastructure policies . This helps policymakers assess trends, how well current and environmental policies work, and how to adjust them. Furthermore, it aims for continuous improvement in reducing the negative impact on the urban environment caused by establishing an appropriate legal framework for developing urban green infrastructure . Additionally, this study highlights areas that need more attention when formulating and implementing urban green infrastructure policies and strategies for researchers and stakeholders to benefit from.
1.6. Green Spaces Are Confronted with the Needs of Populations
The degradation of green spaces in the study areas is of great concern. Despite the many well-kept gardens, the green spaces, once the pride of Guinean cities, are now heavily destroyed . The explanatory factors of this situation come from a vague regulatory context, which does not provide managers, town halls, or governorate influence, both in terms of attributions and actions to be carried out in the field . In this environment of the beginnings of these structures, the populations, for their needs (shops, marginalities, landfills, etc.), confront the spaces with exploitation. In addition, the means allocated for managing these green spaces are considered insufficient due to the budget, the under-qualification of the staff, and the lack of synergy among the managers. All these reasons mentioned above are likely to reduce the supply of amenities for the populations of the capital in the face of the degradation experienced by these green spaces.
Many people use public green spaces in our study areas for various purposes. These include constructing shops, informal shops, and installing garages to the detriment of amenities produced by green spaces . These green spaces are markers for marginalized groups, such as street children, drug addicts, other offenders, and people with “crazy” mental illnesses. Although they often function as places for drying artisanal “indigo” loincloths or other domestic tasks, these areas are also used as extensions of family courtyards or shops for commercial purposes. All public gardens are now occupied.
According to managers and residents, spontaneous occupations within green spaces have contributed significantly to their degradation . First, this situation emanates from the commercial world increasingly looking for available land to carry out its commercial activities; suddenly, green spaces represent the only spaces not yet built upon, which explains the anarchistic occupation of these public spaces . These spontaneous illegal settlements then explain the lack of control over the surveillance system of these green spaces, which can be linked to funding constraints at the governorate level . Indeed, it seems that breeders introduce domestic animals there (such as sheep, oxen, goats, etc.), and women use these places to dry and smoke their fish without concern for anything else. For the officials of the Governorate and town halls of the study areas, “the population does not adopt an eco-citizen behavior, which explains the advanced state of degradation of the public gardens of the study areas” .
Indeed, vandalism against public property (such as benches, lighting, and plant irrigation systems) very often leads the authorities to remove the rest of the equipment in good condition before it is stolen.
Mechanics occupy some spaces. According to some mechanics, “if the green spaces are not sufficiently maintained or protected, it is the fault of the Governorate of Conakry, because they often abandon these places, which become dumps for household waste. We found no green space here but a dump [42,67]. And it is the municipality that installed us here.”
Green spaces are places for depositing waste of all kinds (plastic bottles, bags, cigarette butts, construction rubble, etc.). Thus, the results showed that these cities develop in the context of preserving or restoring natural heritage. Above all, development poses the problem of maintaining urban biodiversity. These results also mention that various constraints related to socioeconomic development are at the origin of anthropogenic pressures . These urban planning concerns were born out of the need for the survival of the most vulnerable economic groups, whose informal activities constituted the bulk of their income. As a result of the abandonment of public space, it was spontaneously occupied by precarious housing and then by small commercial and craft activities tolerated by the authorities. Therefore, the leaders no longer support streets, gardens, and green spaces that require daily maintenance.
1.7. Lack of Human and Material Resources
According to surveys carried out at the levels of the Ministry of the Environment, the City, and town halls, it seems that a lack of resources causes many of the problems recorded in the management of green spaces, including material, human, and financial ones, as well as a lack of coordination between operating structures . Furthermore, for technical reasons (the obsolete state of their machines), the Parks and Gardens team often does not correctly take care of the upkeep of these spaces. Therefore, a solution must involve the services concerned to ensure maintenance .
Agents of the Hygiene and Environment Department interviewed unanimously considered the equipment insufficient to carry out their mission fully. According to the head of this service, who wished to remain anonymous, his team does not have a vehicle to carry out operations to develop and protect green spaces in the neighborhoods for which he is responsible, not to mention the lack of IT equipment (computer, printer, scanner, etc.). In short, the lack of maintenance equipment makes agents’ work difficult. Indeed, they cannot conduct development work regularly in the managed green spaces.
1.8. Lack of Underqualified Staff with No Real Budget
According to its managers, the Hygiene and Environment Department does not have sufficient financial means to enlist the services of a surveyor to accurately know the real dimensions of our green spaces . Moreover, the budgetary situation is not good either because of the length of the administrative procedure. The budget is presented to the Ministry of Territorial Administration in agreement with the Ministry of Economy and Finance and is paid by the Treasurer Payer, who disburses according to the order of priority and urgency, and, at this level, for the head of studies and development: “There are priorities in the municipalities; unfortunately, green spaces are not part of them.”
In addition, this lengthy procedural arrangement related to the budget leads to delays and “losses” of money . As a result, the resources allocated to the service are reduced, leading to a significant drop in its activities. In short, green spaces do not benefit from substantial financial resources; managers consider the funding insufficient to carry out their missions. According to them, the financial difficulties encountered by their unit are the basis for the non-execution of several development plans and programs for maintaining degraded surfaces because these are technically and materially very costly.
“The lack of funding limits the equipment of the service, at the level of the recruitment of staff or contractors, in motorized vehicles, the supply of vehicles”, according to an agent met at the Governorate. However, all this is essential to fighting against the degradation of green spaces by the population and to carry out surveys to protect green spaces in cities effectively.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Area
The methodologies used to study urban green infrastructure vary depending on the subject of interest; urban green infrastructure contributes to improving the public health of human beings. A conceptual approach involves linking functions and services [42,48]. Regarding social factors, González-Duque and Panagopoulos  used the spatial analysis of urban green infrastructure. Meerow used spatial analysis with surveys and interviews for land use planning , which our method alludes to. The value of urban green infrastructure has been argued for by valuing ecosystem services . The relationship between urban biodiversity, ecological functions, and services has been better understood across several research areas , Suppakittpaisarn et al.  studied people’s preferences for the density of green infrastructure in urban areas.
This study is conducted from a perspective that evaluates the political and legal frameworks for developing urban green infrastructure, considering three urban centers in the Republic of Guinea, namely Conakry, Dubreka, and Kankan, focusing on urban areas and urban centers where green infrastructure is implemented or planned. Specific cities can be selected based on their importance in urban development and green infrastructure initiatives. These three urban centers were chosen in consultation with the Ministry of Cities and Regional Planning. In this context, the conduct of this study is based on the reasoning that aims to make a comparative analysis of the state of implementation and practices of the policy strategy of urban green infrastructure among the different hierarchies of urban centers.
Therefore, this study will help us answer the research question. “How do urban centers differ in their understanding of implementing a good implementation of current policies, objectives, and other legal frameworks in the study area?” The state of urban development in terms of urban green infrastructure and physical or structural growth is the primary selection criterion for our study areas, although distance was not a significant factor in site selection (see Table 1).
Conakry is the capital of the Republic of Guinea. The city of Conakry is located between 9°32?53? North latitude and 13°40?14? West longitude. It extends from Northeast to South-West over a distance of 36 km, of which 14 km is in contact with the Atlantic Ocean and 22 km with the mangroves. Conakry has 3,667,861 inhabitants, estimated to spread over 45,000 ha (450 km2), with a density of 8151 inhabitants/km2, and is divided into five municipalities, according to the latest General Population and Housing Census .
Dubreka is one of the prefectures located in Maritime Guinea, near Conakry. It is situated between 9°47?23? North latitude and 13°29?56? West longitude. Different mountains also surround it. It is subdivided into seven sub-prefectures located 48 km from the capital, Conakry. The city of Dubreka has an estimated 352,859 inhabitants, spread over an area of 567,600 ha = 5676 km2 with a density of 62 inhabitants/km2 .
Kankan is the country’s second-largest city, after the capital, Conakry, and the largest in terms of area. It is part of the natural region of Upper Guinea and the capital and chief town of the administrative province of Kankan, located 637.5 km east of Conakry. Its population is estimated at 2,157,381 inhabitants (2017), or 18.7% of the Guinean people. Being the most populated region of Guinea outside of Conakry, Kankan is spread over 7,214,500 ha = 72,145 km2, with an average density of 30 inhabitants/km2 .
2.2. The Sampling Technique for Respondents
The respondent sampling technique involves selecting a portion of the study population (a random sample) from a list or database of relevant stakeholders. This may include representatives of government authorities, private sector actors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), experts in the field, etc. Probability sampling provides a random representation of the study population and can reduce potential bias. This provides accurate and reliable data while saving time and resources, as collecting data from the entire population is not always possible.
For some research questions, data collection can be done from an entire population of a manageable size. Nonetheless, researchers should not assume that results obtained from a census survey will provide more adequate information than data collected from a sample representing an entire population . Therefore, the precision required by the multistage sample was used to select respondents in the study area. The types of analyses performed and the categories into which the data are subdivided are classified as the minimum threshold for many statistical techniques for each cell and the population from which representative samples are drawn in the different urban centers (city/village, sub-city, and village). After grouping the study area, a simple random sampling technique selected any mature household member (age > 20 years).
This study used a sample of 330 residents in the three urban centers. Four hundred and twenty questionnaires were distributed to the three study areas based on their experience and involvement in urban green infrastructure development and management practices; from seven to twelve participants participated in the critical informant interview. Group discussions were also conducted with citizens who have lived in the area for a long time, youth associations, NGOs involved in the neighborhood for a long time, and NGOs involved in developing and organizing green infrastructure.
2.3. Collection and Analysis of Secondary and Primary Data
Both primary and secondary data are used to reach the goals: Primary research involves studying a subject through first-hand observation and investigation. Primary surveys can come from field surveys, personal participation observations, questionnaires with key stakeholders, or personal information collected from several sources. In this study, the authors used a primary data collection technique using questionnaires designed using a linkage scale system with the following description: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neither agree nor disagree, 4 = agree, and 5 = strongly agree, respectively. The data collection method allows first-hand information to be gathered from a representative sample. The secondary sources interpret and clarify the primary sources. Secondary sources, such as textbooks, may include some primary sources as examples. Secondary data include quantitative and qualitative data used exclusively in expressive and illustrative surveys derived from reviewing policies, strategies, regulations, standards, and guidelines for current urban environmental practices and urban green infrastructure planning. This data is often used in scientific research as part of a case study or investigative research strategy . A survey was conducted based on the population proportion in each study area. Overall, 330 questionnaires were completed using structured surveys to obtain detailed quantitative and qualitative information on implementing policies, strategies, standards, and institutional arrangements.
Thirty-two field professionals were also interviewed, including urban geographers, landscape architects, environmental planning and protection officers, land registration officers, and certification specialists. The professionals are selected according to their knowledge and participation in urban planning, planning, and management or current problems related to the practice of green infrastructure. The debates focused on assessing the level of awareness among professionals and government officials of existing policies, plans, standards, and other legal outlines related to the development of UGI. Stakeholders were also invited to suggest solutions to overcome the constraints preventing the adoption of green infrastructure planning.
The authors also used another primary data collection source for this study from nine focus groups piloted in the three study areas. Group members were selected from the three study areas and consisted of residents who had lived at least 25 years in the town/village. In addition, various local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participated in the panel discussion. Similarly, an association of young people engaged in urban green infrastructure development and management practices also contributed. The primary topics discussed during the group discussion were how the community could incorporate concepts, policies, plans, and other legal aspects of urban infrastructure and implement them in practice . The focus was on identifying what community members and other stakeholders can do to aid in developing policies, strategies, and other planning documents, as well as urban green infrastructure in the field of study. In addition, barriers to adopting good policies and procedures related to UGI, both in planning and in practice, were an essential topic of discussion .
2.4. Document Review and Analysis
This study provides a desk review and analysis of documents related to UGI policies, strategies, regulations, standards, and guidelines. The review procedure focused on reviewing pertinent documents, regulations, and plans for this study . Documents containing norms, institutional frameworks, policies, and programs for UGI are selected by the Ministry of Urbanism, Housing, and Territorial Development in consultation with professionals from various sectors . This helps identify policy documents that must be updated in content and properly implemented policies or strategies . In addition, this research includes an analysis of recent forms of regional policies and objectives related to the development of urban green infrastructure [10,26]. The following criteria were used for the selection: the documents must explain strategies, which refer to the planning, implementation, and management of UGI at the national, regional, and municipal levels, and be enforceable and still used . In addition, structural plans for each study area were collected from the municipalities of the cities studied. The policy document study aims to thoroughly evaluate current urban green infrastructure development policies to assess their effectiveness and the implementation of existing policies and strategies . Reviewing policy documents helps provide a basic account of urban green infrastructure policies in the Guinean context and what policies, objectives, standards, and institutional frameworks are in place. Scanned documents are listed, and all documents have been thoroughly reviewed and analyzed using the latest national and international standards and guidelines [16,77], to extract relevant information for this study.
2.5. Data Analysis Methods
Scientific research raises theoretical and practical issues not encountered in exploring physical and social science disciplines. For example, the recent environmental investigation includes specific conjectural elements and precursors that help shape and inform how a study is conducted [78,79]. Before examining the different approaches to contemporary scientific research, one must consider some of the main theoretical antecedents of scientific research, particularly the various methods of conceptual expansion and testing in the research process. As in many fields of human activity, analysis constitutes an essential basis for developing knowledge.
This study used qualitative, evaluative, descriptive, and comparative research designs. Descriptive statistics are used to analyze data collected from surveys, questionnaires, and reviews of policy documents. To analyze the data from interviews with professionals in the field and focus groups, we used the theoretically suggested strategy, which requires the analysis of interview data under critical themes. Based on this strategy, stakeholder responses were categorized under themes such as current policy implementation status, institutional design, arrangements related to urban green infrastructure, and stakeholders in developing urban green infrastructure policies, procedures, and standards [25,80].
Personal observations were supplemented with data obtained from interviews with subject-matter professionals for further analysis and discussion. Data from document reviews and analyses were analyzed using content analysis , in which explicit orientations to various policies, plans, and standards were identified. The planning documents were read carefully to identify implicit references, and the data were correctly filled in the document analysis table. All relevant valuation criteria assess critical urban green infrastructure policies, strategies, standards, and institutional organization. In addition, essential criteria for policy analysis are used, such as the implementation and priorities of current policies and procedures, political processes and actors, policy measures, and institutional arrangements.
3. The Results
Policies, strategies, and plans are essential tools for promoting and strengthening the development and management of urban green infrastructure in urban areas. These documents recognize the multiple benefits and functions of urban green infrastructure in the urban environment. According to the Ministry, different policies have protected and managed rural and urban communities’ natural environments. The protection of reasonable human settlements and the rational use of natural resources have been considered when formulating various policy documents related to green infrastructure. For instance:
The Guinean constitution states that the environment must be protected, as guaranteed by Article 16 of the 2010 constitution. This states that everyone has the right to a healthy and sustainable environment and must be protected. Therefore, the State ensures the protection of the environment. In addition to this provision, articles 17, 21, 3, and 119 of the constitution are dedicated to safeguarding the living environment and conserving nature .
Guinea’s environmental policy objective is to plan and develop green spaces in urban communes that can be used for recreation, as a habitat for plants and animals, and as a means of improving the microclimate in the towns. According to the policy, every person has the right to a healthy environment without interfering with the privileges of present or future generations .
Guinea’s urban development policy states that urban development’s speed, extent, and direction depend upon other factors. This policy plan also anticipated the nation’s metropolitan areas’ significant issues. The policy considers the development of recreational areas’ national and regional urban systems, urban leveling, planning, environmental protection, capacity building, inadequate management of municipal waste, and poorly developed national and regional urban systems .
In Guinea, the Urban Land Development and Management Policy strongly emphasizes defining green areas at the local level of cities, municipalities, and neighborhoods in urban areas . Similarly, the policy states that all occupants and establishments must take responsibility for each establishment, detached house, separation zone (a separation zone is the central area of a street or non-vehicular space, such as planted medians, transit medians, or paved median surfaces), and roads, as well as edges, recreation areas, and watersheds.
Planning documents seem to support developing and managing UGI at different levels in rural and urban areas. However, some records also aim to improve the overall environment rather than promote the development and management of urban green infrastructure. Moreover, analysis of environmental policies and planning documents shows that the policy objectives to foster the development, management, and understanding of the versatility of urban green infrastructure vary considerably from one copy to another . Data provided by professionals and questionnaires suggest that these policies are implemented unevenly in rural and urban areas. In recent years, the government has paid more attention to the protection and management of the rural environment than the urban environment, leading to severe degradation of the urban environment due to illegal and involuntary settlements.
In addition to analyzing the above policy paper, several other supporting documents related to urban green infrastructure were analyzed.
In 2009, the government and its partners started actions targeting the urban planning sector through the project “Reinforcement of Resilience and Adaptation of Guinea’s vulnerable Coastal Zones (R.A.C.Z.), “which aims to avoid the negative effects of climate change [85,86].
The Program for Urban Development and Sanitation in Guinea (S.A.N.I.T.A.) Sustainable Cities, formulated in 2018, aims to avoid the negative impacts of growth.
The construction of green urban centers (cities and municipalities) is the main constituent of the strategy of The Program for Urban Development and Sanitation in Guinea (S.A.N.I.T.A.) Sustainable Cities. Its mission is to strengthen urban governance at the local and national levels through a participatory improvement of the legal, regulatory, and institutional outline for urban development at the national level and, in particular, in the city of Conakry, to strengthen the institutional capacities and skills of stakeholders in the development and application of urban and territorial policy, and to plan documents through a participatory approach. As a result, efforts have been made to create green cities or establish clean development mechanisms for managing solid waste .
The analysis results show that green expansion has multifunctional benefits to ensure food security around residential areas, but the community’s understanding of green development is minimal, so the sites allocated for green development are used for other uses.
Key design features of green developments include multiple benefits, namely, bio-retention areas, permeable pavements, grass swales, rainwater harvesting, rain gardens, and curbs . The primary gifts of applied design features emphasize increased economic capacity, educational opportunities, built environment improvements, and environmental soundness .
The results show that the multiple advantages of the Multifunctionality of green developments can be deduced in many current cases [8,88]. Knowing the relationship between design features and their benefits for green development would facilitate the selection of optimal design features to achieve specific objectives and planning outcomes [31,89]. For communities that require a range of complex services and benefits, green infrastructure based on Multifunctionality will advance highly acceptable climate change adaptation measures [36,72].
Green development emphasizes the rights of the individual to choose and control their course of change rather than having it imposed on them [8,80]. The green agenda is, therefore, necessarily radical, but it is also scalable, flexible, and diverse. Green development is almost a contradiction in terms of not being something for which plans can be drawn, not something easily absorbed into financial planning structures, or easily co-opted by the State . Green development is something that very often emerges despite, rather than as a direct result of, the actions of development bureaucracies [34,90].
Due to the lack of urban and peri-urban management integration, most illegal settlements and constructions have spread to panned green development sites, corridors, or sloping areas [60,91]. The research showed minimal guidelines, instructions, and action plans for urban green infrastructure in recent decades, but these documents have been developed at different levels. The document study results indicate that standards, implementation manuals, and action plans related to current urban green infrastructure development practices have considered the implementation of development and urban green infrastructure organization in city areas.
To increase the output of urban green infrastructure development, implementation manuals such as the Guinean National Standard for UGI have been developed at the government level. The standard was formed in 2015 to create a framework for municipalities to provide citizens with efficient and sustainable urban green infrastructure to protect public health and environmental quality . In addition, this standard delivers minimum requirements to allow competent authorities to fulfill and enforce their legal responsibilities in designing, implementing, and operating urban green infrastructure plans.
The implementation of urban planning documents aims to give details of the main guidelines for proper urban planning, development projects, and the management of urban development activities. For example, one document states that green and open spaces should be appropriately designed and implemented in each urban center to minimize illegal settlements [83,92].
The implementation Guide for Green Infrastructure, developed in 2015 as the National Urban Green Infrastructure Standard, is intended to ensure and address a few priority areas relevant to various situations. These instructions demand improved execution of the different green infrastructure elements in metropolitan regions and establish requirements for installing and building the facilities required to implement green infrastructure as the norm.
The Growth and Transformation Plan, developed by the National Planning Commission in the Republic of Guinea, aims to promote proper demarcation of urban green spaces, beautification, landscaping, and urban development works of green spaces [60,93]. In addition, the document plans to expand the coverage of green infrastructure and recreational areas in the country’s urban centers. The paper identified increasing community and stakeholder awareness and engagement as an essential planning measure.
Overall, the urban green infrastructure standards, guides for execution, and action plans emphasize better development and management of urban green infrastructure in the country. However, the information collected through questionnaires and interviews with professionals in the field shows that the practical implementation of all planning documents is incomplete at all levels of government. (see Table 2).
Unfortunately, these policies have not produced the expected results. Instead, under the aegis of mainly informal actors, towns and villages are developing in disorder, at a frantic pace, on the fringes of the law.
3.1. Stakeholder/Expert Perspective on Policies Related to Urban Green Infrastructure
Table 3 clarifies the specialists’ practical observations and points of view. Those engaged in activities related to urban green infrastructure, law policies’ origination and applicability, and UGI legislation. Therefore, most key informants agreed that national urban green infrastructure policies and plans are inadequate and not appropriately implemented in our research areas.
Similarly, 81% of respondents in the research areas reported that the lack of transparency and action plans was the most severe problem in implementing existing policies, strategies, and standards. Due to a lack of government attention and mismanagement, illegal settlers in the study area violate current urban land policies [76,94]. It worsens daily despite the government’s efforts to undertake major institutional and regulatory reforms. The reforms led to the promulgation of a new land and state code in 1992, the country’s first town planning code in 1998, and the local authority’s code in 2006. In addition, the national housing policy, Vision 2021, was adopted in 2012. Various territorial planning documents have been developed for several cities in Guinea [84,95]. They express the permanent will of the state and have broad and variable degrees of application. The first beneficiary cities are Conakry, Kankan, and Dubreka.
Table 3 provides information on the distribution by age group in the study areas. This type of survey generally aims to collect two categories of data:
First, it makes it possible to obtain information primarily related to the facts or proofs that inform us about the personal profiles of the individuals who make up the social universe studied.
Second, it lets us obtain design and implementation information such as options, attitudes, and motivations. Finally, processing the data obtained enables us to carry out the following analysis: this questionnaire allowed us to be in contact with the populations of the study zones; we noted that 50% of the respondents are men compared to 42% of the women.
There are many age groups of respondents in the research areas, as shown in Table 4, and it can be concluded that most respondents (30%) fall into age group G3 between the ages of 29 and 40. The G1 age group under 18 is at (18%), the G4 age group over 40 is at (24%), and the remaining respondents (27%) are people whose G2 age ranges from 18 to 28 years.
Many associations of young people active in activities for creating and administrating urban green infrastructure make up most of the users interviewed in the research areas. Furthermore, we see in Table 5 that young people make up about 45% of those managing urban green infrastructure. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) account for 24% of users, government officials for 21%, and professionals make up only 10% of users.
Similarly, 85% of respondents concurred that a city’s unlawful settlement might result from bad land management.
This issue surfaced in Kankan and Dubreka, confirming the development and application of unsuitable policies and strategies that may eradicate green spaces in the study regions (Table 6). Again, despite being announced to safeguard the living environment from human activities, the environmental protection policy has not been implemented. In Conakry (92%), Kankan (85%), and Dubreka (87%), professionals largely certify that the environmental protection policy was not correctly implemented in rural and urban areas (Table 6).
According to document analysis, the main goal of environmental pollution control measures is to protect the environment and people’s health and well-being [66,81]. However, low community awareness and government attention are heavily influenced by the misconduct of human activities, industries, and their products in the study area (see Table 6).
According to Table 3, 72% and 76% of Conakry and Dubreka respondents concur that one of the significant challenges is the absence of an incentive system to conserve natural spaces in urban centers. Furthermore, illegal constitutions were the main reason for destroying green spaces in the study area (Table 3). The interviews with the professionals and the surveys by questionnaires indicated that the lack of public consciousness, budget, and skilled labor in the study area have seriously affected the management activities and maintenance of urban green infrastructure. As shown in Table 6, 72% and 76% of respondents in Conakry and Dubreka agree that the lack of a reward system to protect green spaces in urban centers is one of the main obstacles.
3.2. Stakeholder/Professional Perspective on Green Infrastructure Strategies
Table 4 presents the views and practical experiences of professionals involved in urban green infrastructure activities on developing and implementing green infrastructure strategies. Significantly, few respondents were sufficiently aware of the existence and practical implementation of the urban green infrastructure strategy at regional and local levels .
In Table 4, we have the responses of people asked about implementing plans related to urban green infrastructure in the study areas. Most (65%) professionals know different strategies and policies related to urban green infrastructure. However, the outcome of the interview with the interviewees indicated that the management and disposal of urban solid waste, climate-resilient green economy strategies, climate change adaptation strategies, and the implementation of urban green infrastructure strategies at the urban/rural level are very limited and insufficient in the study area (Table 7) [67,69,96]. To achieve this objective, the Guinean government must strengthen its capacity to implement actions grouped into four priorities: understanding disaster risks, strengthening disaster risk management governance and institutions, investing in resilience, and building capacity for disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and reconstruction [64,88,97].
Green infrastructure policy uses innovative approaches to integrate natural and artificial systems to create dynamic, beautiful, functional, and resilient spaces . The article explains that several cities worldwide have adopted green infrastructure policies, using urban forests, artificial and natural wetlands, ravines, waterways, riparian areas, fields, grasslands, parks, green roofs, urban gardens, or simply planting more trees .
These elements make it possible to offer neighborhoods a better quality of life, which is more beautiful and provides a bulwark against the harmful effects of climate change . Additionally, green infrastructure projects (compared to traditional gray infrastructure) typically have smaller environmental and carbon footprints and lower set-up, operation, and maintenance costs. These projects result in cities that are much more efficient at reducing toxic gray water loadings at the point of discharge than traditional projects .
This is due to a lack of awareness and public participation, limited budgets, and political commitment contributing to the limited implementation and not producing the desired effect of plans related to green urban infrastructure (Table 7). However, amongst the strategies listed in Table 7, compared to other methods, the environmental protection strategy was better implemented, manifested in large-scale tree planning activities and watershed management in and around towns/communes in the study area.
Thus, the strategic direction of green infrastructure allows the government to reposition the city from a rational perspective, regardless of the complex landscape of the city, as mentioned by the respondent’s authors.
The specialists agreed that the environmental protection strategy was well implemented (Table 7). The Guinean government has a plan for growth and transformation over the next 10 years.
The program supports and promotes the proper delineation of urban green spaces, landscaping, and urban design projects [23,88]. However, this plan does not explicitly address the objectives of developing urban green infrastructure in city centers.
Some respondents—20%, 28%, and 36%, from Conakry, Kankan, and Dubreka, respectively—believe that the growth and transformation plan is poorly understood and implemented, while some respondents—30%, 19%, and 36%, from Conakry, Kankan, and Dubreka respectively—answered that growth and transformation strategies have been well implemented on the ground (Table 7).
3.3. The Viewpoint of Stakeholders/Professionals on Standards and Manuals for the Implementation of Urban Green Infrastructure
Most recently, the Ministry of Urban Planning, Housing, and Territorial Development (M.U.H.A.T.)—the central government body responsible for ensuring, at the national level, the planning, coordination, and promotion of all development actions in the areas of construction, housing, urban planning, and management of land assets—developed the National Urban Green Infrastructure Standard (N.U.G.I.S.) and various manuals. However, these documents are not yet practically implemented for several reasons. As shown in Table 8, most respondents (88%) identified the delay in developing standards and implementing manuals as a significant barrier. In addition, practitioners say the lack of plans and standards for creating and managing urban green infrastructure has been identified as a major problem at the district and neighborhood levels. Similarly, one of the major issues in the research regions was the absence of community understanding and engagement in drafting planning documents (Policy and Strategy). Information collected through a questionnaire survey indicates that the physical structure lacks integrity (Table 8). In particular, the study found that infrastructure integration was restricted to a few functions in the document and a few networks in practice without focusing on extending green-grey synergies to other building structures; the current strategic plan is insufficiently concerned with the protection of green spaces within the study area . The document identifies important green space planning measures as part of community and stakeholder awareness and involvement (Table 8).
As the revised planning document (Table 2) mentions, the National Government has formulated several implementation guides and national action plans. However, these manuals insist that the urban planning system considers urban green infrastructure from the beginning of the process and designs infrastructure, such as new roads, public transport facilities, etc. Thus, as designated in Table 8, the delay in developing the standards and the manual and the lack of coherence in the current strategic frameworks of the policy at the local, regional, and national levels become the main problems.
4. Institutional Framework for the Development of Green Infrastructure
Reviewing the institutional framework and actors involved in creating green infrastructure is part of the institutional assessment. Therefore, the approach to sustainable development is situated in the perspective of the processes of institutional change that its “politicization” imposes at the level of the regulatory frameworks and the institutions between the different social and economic components of the rural world, as well as between these and public authorities’ powers . Concerning the path dependencies that arise from the structuring role of current instructional frameworks in the selection of available options and the choice of policies, both from the point of view of the reforms envisaged and the mechanisms responsible for their implementation, these processes are taken into account when implemented .
Urban areas face new challenges due to climate change, including the increasing frequency of extreme heat events and, in some places, episodic droughts and floods that threaten sustainable construction . An effective way to provide a microclimate for cooling and diverting runoff from rivers is with green infrastructure. Further, more open green spaces have the potential to support both physical and emotional well-being when combined with the provision of equipment and installations .
However, successful implementation may depend on the coordinated efforts of multiple agencies. Our analysis identifies areas with high transaction costs and a gap in the polycentric decision making of the agencies . For example, the local government council cares about the welfare of its citizens, yet its financial resources are limited. It is not the responsibility of any organization providing green infrastructure to provide indirect or preventative health benefits. As a result, poor agency cooperation may result in less-than-ideal investments in green infrastructure .
The main government agencies responsible for developing and managing urban green infrastructure and urban planning issues are very weak in the municipalities (Table 9). In addition, a lack of skilled labor hampers monitoring and support work in districts and cities at the national level. As shown in Table 9, several issues have emerged concerning institutional frameworks and stakeholder involvement in developing and managing urban green infrastructure in the country, particularly in research.
Table 9 demonstrates that most survey participants said the city’s main issues were a lack of a competent workforce and an absence of well-defined policies and initiatives. Similarly, weak institutional arrangements and structures lead to poor implementation of the development and running of urban green infrastructure. On the other hand, the absence of a legal framework (policy and strategy) is a major obstacle to implementing urban green infrastructure, which is the main challenge for implementing urban green infrastructure development and management in the study area.
Establishing a legal framework for urban green infrastructure as an independent development sector in the country and study area is now difficult due to existing policy formulation and implementation limitations at the national level. Nevertheless, different sector offices in the country have formulated various policies related to urban green infrastructure. For example, the Republic of Guinea launched several initiatives to solve environmental problems after the 1992 Rio Conference in Brazil. Similarly, the nation passed several local laws to carry out Agenda 21 locally. Guinea monitors the implementation of this Convention, and the country has created a National Council for the Environment to assist the ministerial authority responsible for the environment in its preparation of a National Environmental Policy .
According to government officials and specialists, one of the main obstacles to creating and managing urban green infrastructure in the study region is the absence of policy and its poor execution (Table 6). It is the result of inattentiveness and ineffective policy implementation. In addition, inadequate policies can destroy green spaces and the natural environment in the study area (Guinean Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (2009)). Policies and strategies related to green urban infrastructure are not implemented adequately and equally in rural and urban areas.
Similarly, current rules intended to safeguard the environment from man’s destructive actions have not been implemented and somehow give little thought to environmental planning and development . The poor management of human resources and industrial operations in the study area, particularly in Conakry, significantly impacts the environment. Additionally, new urban planning offers opportunities to develop urban green infrastructure in urban centers.
To address and resolve pertinent environmental problems in urban centers, not all urban environment protection and management actions included all stakeholders.
Most specialists are aware of several urban green infrastructure initiatives. However, the way these strategies are being implemented is not good enough. For example, studies conducted by the Ministry of Town and Territorial Planning (2015) revealed that the support, management, and disposal of solid waste and wastewater in local management are vulnerable. The survey results and resource person interviews also showed that a lack of state attention, a shortage of specialists, and a lack of public participation were the key causes of the strategy’s unsuccessful extension .
On the other hand, environmental management and protection techniques have often performed better than other techniques. Examples of best practices in the city/village watershed area include extensive tree planting and water management initiatives.
Therefore, an integrated approach is required at both regional and local (city/community) levels to improve existing practices. Likewise, the Regional Planning and Sustainable Development Plan (R.P.S.D.P.) aims to support and promote an appropriate delimitation of urban areas, green spaces, landscaping, and urban development, but it does not meet urban green infrastructure development goals in urban centers .
The Guinean State has made it a national priority to increase the development of green infrastructure in urban centers. With this in mind, the supervisory ministry developed various standards and implementation manuals in 2015. The objective is to provide city dwellers with an efficient and sustainable urban green infrastructure to protect public health and the quality of the environment.
Nonetheless, these standards and implementation manuals are difficult to interpret and implement. As shown in Table 8, most respondents indicated a delay in developing and implementing standards and manuals to facilitate and improve the development and management of urban green infrastructure throughout the territory. The lack of regional and community standards for urban green infrastructure planning and community participation in political and strategic planning is a major problem in the study areas.
The most important problems were a lack of acceptable methods and standards, a qualified workforce, a lack of funding, community involvement, and consistency with other physical buildings.
These are important in the implementation of urban green infrastructure development in the study area. As a result, green space coverage in the study area has been significantly reduced.
The government has recently developed a series of implementation manuals and action plans to encourage better implementation of the various components of urban green infrastructure in urban centers. These manuals insist that urban planning systems consider urban green infrastructure from the design phase and integrate the different components. However, all files are suspended at the municipal level; this system does not trickle down to the local level. Consequently, as shown in Table 7, the backlog of standards, the development of manuals, and the lack of integrity of the existing strategic framework for local, regional, and national policies are major problems.
The government has had no formal organizational structure related to urban green infrastructure for the past three decades. But in recent years, the Ministry of Towns and Land Use Planning has established itself as the organization in charge of creating and overseeing urban green infrastructure. Studies carried out by the Ministry of Cities and Territorial Planning [103,104] have revealed that the support provided at the local level and the development and management of urban green infrastructure across the country at the municipal level are feeble. The National Urban Green Infrastructure Standards (N.U.G.I.S.) encourage organizational structures and stakeholder engagement for better development and management of urban green infrastructure activities [93,105,106]. This helps to ensure enough people are available to plan and maintain the city’s green infrastructure and allocate an adequate budget. However, due to the lack of government attention to green urban infrastructure, a lack of skilled labor, and insufficient budgets at regional and local levels, established institutions do not function well in all urban centers.
According to Table 9, most of those surveyed in the case study area concurred that the lack of legal frameworks (policies and plans), weak institutional arrangements and structures, and a lack of trained labor are the main causes of poor development implementation and management. As a result, this study identifies limitations and gaps in current policy, strategy, and standards related to urban green infrastructure and informs and sensitizes policymakers and decision-makers so as to take action on the creation of suitable policies and other legal documents specifically related to urban green infrastructure.
Guinea and Senegal, two countries in West Africa, face similar challenges in the field of sustainable urban development. This part aims to highlight the similarities and differences between these two countries in terms of policies, initiatives, and practices linked to the development of green urban infrastructure.
This comparative approach using Table 10 makes it possible to highlight the similarities and differences between Guinea and Senegal in terms of the development of green urban infrastructure. Both countries have adopted policies and measures to promote sustainable development, which highlights the need to strengthen policy and regulatory frameworks in both countries, although Senegal has a comparative advantage. Senegal is also benefiting from greater financial investments that will enable wider implementation of green infrastructure. Community participation is growing in both countries, but implementation is more advanced in Senegal. Regional and international cooperation is intensifying in both countries, promoting the exchange of knowledge and best practices. Raising awareness and education on green infrastructure needs additional efforts in both countries. The integration of green infrastructure into urban planning is emerging in Guinea, while reflection is more advanced in Senegal. Natural resource management is a particular challenge in Guinea, while Senegal is implementing resource conservation measures. Monitoring and evaluation should be strengthened in both countries to ensure the effective implementation of green infrastructure. In terms of innovation and technology, Guinea shows relatively low use, while Senegal shows increasing use of these elements for green infrastructure development.
It is important to emphasize that these development efforts must be continuous and part of a long-term perspective to create more sustainable and resilient cities.
These comparisons provide insight into the efforts of Guinea and Senegal to develop green urban infrastructure. It is important to continue the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and best practices between these two countries to further advance the development of green infrastructure in the region.
Green urban infrastructure projects provide human and ecosystem services in food, energy, security, climate regulation, water management, education, and aesthetics.
Moreover, urban green infrastructure is becoming a widely used solution to advance cities’ social and ecological aspects.
Most cities in the world face similar challenges. These include urbanization, peri-urban growth and densification, land-use conflicts, biodiversity loss, climate change adaptation, ethnic diversification, declining social cohesion, environmental degradation, human health and welfare issues, and increasing development and maintenance costs. Urban green infrastructure is linked to these issues in one way or another.
Urban green infrastructure development and management in urban centers are made possible and strengthened by policies, strategies, and other legal instruments. The national government has created several documents during the past two years; however, these records are not properly distributed at the regional and local levels. They have nothing to do with developing and managing the country’s urban green infrastructure. Similarly, experts, government officials, and the public do not understand these documents well. Urban green infrastructure is a strategically developed network of green spaces that can improve cities’ environmental quality and livability and provide significant economic benefits.
It adheres to Sustainable Development Goal 11, which calls for resilient, secure, sustainable, and inclusive cities. However, as mentioned in the research findings, the primary obstacle to creating and administrating urban green infrastructure has been a lack of governmental commitment or attention, competent labor, funding, and public involvement. On the other side, the need for community ownership to safeguard urban green infrastructure, a weak institutional framework, and stakeholder involvement are major issues in the study region.
This research aims to identify existing research and policy gaps and complement the limited empirical literature on urban green infrastructure policy analysis.
The study offers first-hand knowledge to organizations engaged in developing and managing the nation’s urban green infrastructure, including legislators, planners, managers, and other groups interested in the nation’s development.
7. The Limitations of the Study and Future Research
This study was limited only to the evolution of the political and legal frameworks for developing green urban infrastructures as a mechanism of production of the urban form and the urban expansion within the limits of the capital of Guinea (Conakry). In this regard, it will mobilize the main stakeholders on the evolution of political and legal frameworks and facilitate discussion with many government institutions on the subject. In addition, future studies should carefully examine the problems that stifle the process of developing green urban infrastructure in the city and constructively propose the necessary solution for urban expansion. Although many provinces and strategic cities should be considered in this survey, extending the study to large cities will increase the scope, diverting attention from this study.
For the analysis of the surveys and interviews carried out, the results encountered constraints, such as the data collected (quantitative and quantitative) from the different methods adopted to consider the two dimensions mentioned above. The ideal would have been to identify the opinions of other experts and to conduct a survey on our work, considering all the dimensions. We adopted the criteria based on the opinions identified during the interviews with the concerned actors. Additionally, it would have been more beneficial to study the conformity of the green spaces by referring to the development plans proposed because this element could have justified the importance of our field of investigation and made it an integral part of our analysis. However, we felt that we should not go into these details so that we did not stray from the context of the study.
Therefore, this study examines the changing policy and legal frameworks of green urban infrastructure development from the city’s perspective. This will further enhance the contributions of local experts to the process, rather than consulting a foreign expert who may not be familiar with the city landscape.
We have indeed encountered limitations and obstacles in our present research. However, despite the difficulties encountered, it established satisfactory results that can be used to develop policies and other references to achieve the objectives.
The survey process involves obtaining data from published works and conducting a survey to enhance first-hand information. Appropriate methods were employed, which led to a descriptive explanation and an objective conclusion. As a result, a sample of 330 respondents was used, producing satisfactory results addressing the studied problem. While the study offers facts about the changing policy and legal frameworks of green urban infrastructure development, further work can be undertaken with an increased sample size. Therefore, we based ourselves on the overall results of the statistical study about green urban infrastructure in the study areas.
However, we must in the future study the reality of the development of green spaces through the correspondence between green spaces, development plans, and reality, which will offer us a more precise reading of the logic of the organization of these green spaces. This will help us apply the system in the evolution of policy and legal frameworks for developing green urban infrastructure (urban policy).
In conclusion, future research directions may focus on finding positive effects rather than the negative ones established by this study.
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