The African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) Executive Committee (ExCOM), meeting in extraordinary session, has appointed Mr. Bai-Mass Taal as the first Executive Secretary on 10 May 2008 after conducting interviews of six candidates short-listed from a field of over thirty applicants by its Technical Advisory Committee (AMCOWTAC). Bai-Mass Taal served as a Cabinet Minister in The Gambia, first as Secretary of State for Fisheries, Natural Resources and the Environment in 2004-2005 and later as Secretary of State for Fisheries and Water Resources from 2005 to 2006.
Prior to holding high political office Mr. Taal had an illustrious record in national and international Civil service arenas, having occupied several top government appointments in The Gambia before joining the United Nations Environment Programme. A conscientious and productive UNEP staff member, he served from 1991 - 1998 as Chief of Forests and Other Ecosystems [Senior Programme Officer], in 1998-1999 as Task Manager [Biodiversity Programme] and finally from 2000-2004 as Head of Interagency and Intergovernmental Processes. This stint of prolonged responsibility at UNEP was preceded by equally important professional engagement at the national level. In this context Mr. Taal served for a decade as Director of Forestry from 1982-1991, having also been Assistant Conservator of Forestry (1978-1982). Because of this range of political and professional experience, Mr. Taal brings to the job of AMCOW Executive Secretary a formidable combination of skills in diplomacy, policy formulation, partnership building, programme development and management, resource mobilisation, capacity building, and institution management that will come in handy in the performance of his functions. Bai-Mass Taal, who should assume duty in July 2008, beat off a strong field of candidates that responded to the vacancy announcement issued on behalf of AMCOW by the African Union. He will be based at the AMCOW Secretariat in Abuja.