Green-up 1 Million tree initiative launched

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Having successfully planted more than 10,000 trees across the country during the past year, Green-Up has launched its 1 Million tree initiative, a commitment to plant 1,000,000 trees within a year.

Green-Up is a youth-led national tree-planting initiative implemented by Climate Watch-The Gambia and Youth Action for Sustainable Development.

Held at the American Corner, along the Kairaba Avenue on Saturday 16 September 2017, the launching ceremony has attracted participants from all regions of the country and other passionate environmentalists.

Speaking at the programme, the Executive Director of Climate Watch and Coordinator of Green-Up 1 Million, Saikou Suwareh Jabai, highlighted numerous achievements that have been registered in planting more than 10,000 trees during the past 12 months. He noted that they are able to successfully make the art of tree-planting attractive to young people of the country.

He said Green Up is an action-oriented and awareness-raising initiative, adding that during the year under review, they have developed capacities of the youth, women and children on the importance of trees for economic use and as a tool to combat climate change.

He stressed that the initiative has an advocacy component that successfully engages government on emerging environmental issues, like the illegal Monkey Park annihilation, the Bakoteh Dumpsite and the ongoing irresponsible mining at Gunjur.

Jabai expressed gratitude to all those who have planted the Green-Up trees and other stakeholders, including the Ministry of Environment and National Youth Council.

The Director of Green-Up, Kemo Fatty, spoke at length about the realities of climate change and how the menace is affecting the livelihoods of people.

He said Green-Up success story of registering 10,000 trees is as a result of their concern and commitment to make the environment a safe place for all to live.

Fatty, who is also the Advocacy Officer of Climate Watch- The Gambia, said Green-Up 1 Million tree-planting exercise is achievable and that they are even more determined to stand up for the environment.

He expressed hope that the new commitment to plant 1,000,000 trees would be attained, through close collaborations with government and communities that bear the brunt of the effects of global warming.

The Programme Manager of Climate Watch-The Gambia, Omar Sambou, expressed optimism in the successful implementation of the 1 Million trees target before 16 September 2018.

He said over the last few years, the forest cover and number of trees in The Gambia have significantly reduced.

 This, he added, has resulted in loss of biodiversity and severe land degradation, due to soil erosion and loss of fertility.

“Our areas which used to be very fertile are now barren and the overall agricultural productivity has declined dramatically, which is pushing people deeper into poverty,” he lamented.

Sambou, who doubles as the Advocacy and Education Officer of Green-Up, said the pressure on the remaining forests and trees is high as the proportion of people depending on them is quite high.

The intervention of Green-Up 1 Million is not just necessary, but timely as well, he noted.

Babucarr Kebbeh of the National Youth Council said their institution was proud to be associated with the achievements of Green-Up, adding that the council would continue to endorse the initiative and plant more trees as part of the council’s pledge.

He spoke about the need for young people to complement government’s efforts and equally hold government accountable at all times.

Other speakers included Lamin Jassey from Gunjur Environment Group, Momodou Edrisa Njie of GYIN Gambia and Adama Bah, a passionate environmentalist.