Minister Dibba: Environmental degradation can significantly derail development plans

Friday, May 24, 2019

Environment minister Lamin Dibba has said on Thursday, that the risks combined with the global financial and economic instability continue to threaten livelihoods, and the growing environmental degradation can significantly derail Gambia’s development plans.

He said the combined stressors taken together suggest that climate change especially when left unabated, threatens to increase poverty and overwhelm the capacity of government to meet the basic needs of the people.

Addressing participants at the inaugural meeting of the National Climate Change Council (NCCC) at Senegambia hotel, Mr. Dibba said as a government, they must reach a common understanding of the environmental challenges the country is facing, and establish how to overcome them to help sustain economic and social development of the country.

“Our actions must be unified and coherent and we must support and consolidate each other,” he said, and added, “we must take bold steps to embrace climate change by mainstreaming climate issues into our departmental plans and budget.”

The minister also informed the gathering that the national climate change policy was developed and finalised in 2016, adding that the policy provides comprehensive sectoral strategies and action plans that seek to enhance better coordination of climate change work in the country and provide opportunities for cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders.

He said the policy established a number of institutional arrangements to promote climate change mainstreaming and implementation of climate-resilient development activities.

According to Mr. Dibba, climate change is a crosscutting issue and as such, the council is made up of members from different sectors, including state and local government, the business community, environmental and conservation sector, scientific community and civil society organisations. “This will allow stakeholders to advocate for a positive change and effectively represent the concerns of citizens with regard to climate change.”

He said Gambia is already experiencing the effects of climate change, sea level rise, increase temperatures and weather events such as floods, droughts and windstorms, which are now becoming more frequent. “Since 1960, the country have been experiencing increasingly erratic rainfall patterns, higher intensity storms, intra seasonal drought and increase average air temperatures, accompanied by periodic cold spells and heat waves,” he said.

Babucarr Jallow, principal climate change officer at the environment ministry said the objective of the policy is to build the resilience of communities and ensure health and welfare through participatory, equitable and pro-poor approaches to climate change that emphasise the meaningful inclusion of women and vulnerable groups.

He said coordinated national and international financial resource mobilisation to address climate change by mainstreaming climate finance readiness and identifying, developing and promoting innovative financing mechanisms is needed. 

Author: Fatou Dem