The Gambia government was represented by the Minister of Environment, Hon. Pa Ousman Jarju, at the signing of the binding document called Paris Agreement, which was opened for signature on 22 April.
Pa Ousman Jarju, who was speaking at a press conference in his office along the Kairaba Avenue on Wednesday, said it must be recognized that the agreement is coming into effect by 2020 in terms of implementation.
He explained that the signing was just an intermediate step, and that once 55 countries ratify it, which would encompass 55% of global emissions, then it would be effective in terms of an agreement.
Minister Jarju’s remarks came as a record number of 177 countries, including The Gambia, signed the Paris Agreement in New York.
The Agreement is coming into force at a critical juncture of the global fight to ensure lasting hope for peaceful human development.
The Paris Marks, as it’s widely called, is an agreement widely viewed as securing the future of the children of today, and also meant to eradicate poverty and create green jobs while defeating hunger on the other hand.
“We have the Convention which is still binding. The agreement is to complement and enhance the implementation,” he said.
“So we’re at the forefront as a country in joining the global community to address the impact of climate change.”
Minister Jarju further asserted that implementing the Paris Agreement is meant to strengthen the convention and the Kyoto Protocol, noting that in Gambia’s situation the country still needs to tackle the issue of climate change through sustainable development and supporting local communities.
”We have seen the impact of climate change because 70% of Banjul is above the sea level” and when this was assessed in the 1990s he revealed, the cost of rebuilding was projected at a half billion dollars and now it would cost nearly one billion dollars.
He further stated that The Gambia had developed a climate change policy and a strategic action plan which would be funded by the World Bank.
This Paris Agreement, he said, is also aimed as a massive global transformation to clean energy, restore lands and have societies pre-proofed against existing climate change.
Scientist had warned that it needs to keep the world below 2 degrees centigrade, thus requiring enormous efforts from countries.
He said since the next global climate summit will take place in Africa, Morocco, later this year, the Minister said that developing countries are also building-up foundations towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
He also outlined the technological and financial commitments from developed nations, as well as China.
He equally recalled the Berlin Action Plan in 2007 in which the commitment of developed countries was agreed in terms of emission reduction, finance contribution, capacity building and technological transfer.
He said that in Copenhagen, there was no legally binding agreement, but that the conference ended with some financial pledges, including 100 billion US Dollars from developed countries.
On Climate Agricultural project, he said, they had also submitted a 30 million US Dollar project to the Green Climate Fund, which is subject to review and approval.
“So we have plans through the support of the World Bank and the African Development Bank which is about 1.5 million US Dollars to develop a National Climate Strategy that is going to give the country a plan to implement the climate policy that was validated last year.”
The Environment Minister explained the role of the private sector and the civil society, saying they are important in the agreement and implementation. The Green Climate Fund, he said, would play a critical role in terms of funding, whereas they would be sensitized about their roles which include access to funding.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Ousman Sowe, used the opportunity to thank journalists and other partners such as the United Nations Development Programme and the Food and Agricultural Organization, among a host of others, for their contributions in the fight against climate change.