The vice president Aja Isatou Njie Saidy yesterday presided over on behalf of president Jammeh the opening ceremony of the plenary of the Gambia Climate Change Forum at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.
The forum was jointly organised by the Department of state for Forestry and Environment, the University of the Gambia and the UNDP Banjul office.
In his keynote address read on his behalf by the vice president, President Jammeh outline the efforts made by the Gambia at implementing the climate change convention, and our position in the international climate change debate.
This, he added, include the creation of the relevant national institutions for the effective implementation of the various multilaterally sanctioned environmental agreements, producing of a National Report for Inventory of the form, type and level of Greenhouse Gas Emission, ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and immediate assessment study of the vulnerability of some, including key sectors of the Gambia's economy to climate change, finalising and submission of National Adaptation programme of Action to the UNFCC Secretariat among others.
Gambian scientists he said have also been participating in the activities of the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
According to President Jammeh, The Gambia is contributing significantly to the stabilisation of Green House Gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere, a policy direction, he added, Gambia would strive to maintain.
"Assessments in the area are that relative to its size, the Gambia has in fact become a net sink for Green House Gas absorbing over 50, 000 Gigga grams of Carbon dioxide annually", he explained.
He added that, "This reputation notwithstanding, the government of The Gambia will not fail in its commitment to bring about and pursue relevant national programmes and projects necessary to help us confront the climate challenge sufficiently".
Speaking on the theme "Human Solidarity in a Changing World" Ms. Chinwe M. Dike, UN Resident Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to the Gambia, described the symposium as timely and relevant in several aspects.
According to Ms. Dike, the programme is further targeted at further popularising the ever-increasing consensus among the scientific community, world leaders and the public at large, that global climate change is not just about a future scenarios but is a physical reality.
"In today's world, it is the poor who are bearing the brunt of climate change. Tomorrow, it will be humanity as a whole that faces the risks that come with global warming", she said.
She added that the rapid build-up of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere is fundamentally changing climate change forecast for future generations.
Also speaking earlier, Mr M. Jarraud, Secretary General, World Meteorological Organisation noted that the main objectives of the forum are to enhance awareness on the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report 2007/08, the fourth Assessment report of the inter governmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"Systematic instrumental observations by the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of WMO's 188 members, made in some cases as far back as 1861, underscore the rising tendency in globally averaged surface temperatures, which have increased by about 0.6 C over the last century", he added.
Professor Andreas Steigen also made presentation on Ecology of climate change while Mr.Abiodum Bashua, Secretary General of the Conference of Parties (CoPs) UNFCCC presented a paper on the climate change political process with emphasis on the Bali Road Map and Action Plan.
The ceremony attended by several Secretaries of State, national Assembly Members scientists, heads of UN Agencies in the country and many other dignitaries was chaired by the Secretary of State for Forestry and Environment Momodou K. Cham.
The National Climate Change Forum will end today.