predict that sea level rise of 1 meter will submerge close to 10 percent of the
total land area, including the capital city of Banjul, hotels and built
infrastructures,” Minister James F. Gomez disclosed.
The Fisheries and Water Resources minister said as a founding member of the Inter-State Committee for the Control of Drought in the Sahel (CILSS in French), Gambians had and continue to experience the unfavourable climate burden on lives and livelihoods.
Speaking during the Eighteenth World Meteorological Congress (WMO Cg 18) held in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Gomez said that the country has a low-lying coast and therefore highly vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise.
The combined effect of sea-level rise, he added, and changes in upstream river discharge, erosion of coastal embankments and changes to natural sediment dynamics, pose a serious threat to the natural resource base and livelihood opportunities of coastal and riverine communities.
“Weather-, climate- and water-related hazards such as floods, drought, dry spells, strong winds and dust storms constitute about 90% of the natural disasters in the country.”
In this regard, he said, Hydrometeorological Services would continue to receive government support in The Gambia in order to provide weather and climate information, particularly Early Warning Services (EWS).
“This is with a view to mitigating the impacts of weather-related hazards associated with the various socio-economic sectors. Therefore, the inclusion of meteorological factors into our Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategy is not an option but an obligation,” he stated
According to the Fisheries minister, with the frequency and intensity of hazards, The Gambia has been faced with numerous capacity challenges to overcome the situation. “This is further exacerbated by clash of interest over resources, weakened social cohesion, and inadequate response by the population to environmental issues.”
“The Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology (Weather and Climate Services) of the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) and particularly the adoption of the Cairo declaration would provide opportunities to hopefully enhance national capacities and bridge resource gaps for institutions that should support the production of tailor-made weather and climate information.”
Furthermore, for the Gambia to effectively deal with weather and climate change issues, accelerated financial, capacity building and technological support is urgently needed to enhance our mitigation and adaptation efforts,” he said. “The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Government of The Gambia Financed Strengthening Climate Services and Early Warning Systems Phase II Project have enhanced the Country’s capacity in this regard.”