Large-scale Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EBA) in The Gambia – a project designed
to develop a climate-resilient and natural resource-based economy recently
embarked on its enrichment planting exercise to build climate resilience of
poor communities in Lower River, Central River South, Central River North and
Upper River Regions by improving rural landscapes and sustainable management of
Gambian natural resources, targeting 33 communities.
The crusade includes mangrove restoration in 17 communities in Lower River Region – covering 530 hectare and 12, 000 bags of propagules, with 1000 propagules per bag. The project targets 12 million propagules in total within 6 years. The project is expected to benefit more than 125 communities in three regions.
The project seeks to build the climate-resilience of rural Gambian communities and facilitate the development of a sustainable natural resource-based (green) economy by implementing large-scale EBAs within and adjacent to agricultural lands, community-managed forest reserves and wildlife conservation areas.
The Gambia government secured funding of the project through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (MECCNAR), in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to be implemented in 6 years.
According to officials, this large-scale Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EBA) approach to natural resource management is a cost-effective and low-risk approach for building climate resilience of poor communities in the targeted areas.
“We are doing this tree planting in order to restore the agricultural land and community forests,” says Muhammad Leroy A. Gomez, deputy project manager, EBA at the Lower River Region.
Although not a significant contributor to climate change, The Gambia has been included in the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) critical list of 100 countries most vulnerable to climate change and also most at risk from its projected impacts. This explains that Gambian local communities and major economic sectors remain vulnerable under conditions of climate change.
“The project will be intervening in 125 communities in total and each of the 125 communities, we will be helping them to either strengthen or establish something through natural resource by doing business like beekeeping, fruit, net processing and more. We are also going to support them in term of capacity building, materials and a lot more,” Mr. Gomez disclosed.
Mr. Gomez said that the project is also working with key implementing partners like the Department of Forestry, Parks and Wildlife, Agriculture and Community Development.
In The Gambia like in many least developed/industrialized countries, climatic events like flooding have in the past decades become less predictable, and more severe and frequent. Extreme weather conditions due to climate variability and related climate episodes have led to occurrences of different forms of hazards which have been very injurious to lives and livelihoods, environment, food security and the wider national economy. These negative consequences have impacted poor Gambian communities, largely dependent on weak local economies which rely heavily on climate sensitive natural resources and related enterprises.
However, according to Mr. Gomez, a component of the project will see the establishment of skill centre in which communities will gain skills like tie and dye, soap making and more. He said that the project has already identified MPC and workshops around the projects intervention areas. “We plan to build 12 nurseries for them to supply us seedling next year.”
“The ultimate points of the project is to ensure those in the grassroots level are able to graduate from poverty.”
“We are going to train the communities on how to use the materials we are going to provide for, so that they will able to care them.
In term of sustainability, he said that they have to ensure that the people at the grassroot level and the entire stakeholder should see the project as theirs. “I use to say that don’t starts something that you cannot continue. Whatever activity we are going to do, we are going to employ staffs that in long after the project, people will have the capacities to continue what the project has already produced.”