National Environment Agency (NEA) recently hosted a daylong convergence for
policymakers at a local hotel to sensitise them on institutional capacity
building of the Multi-lateral Environment Agreements (MEAs).
These agreements include: the Stockholm, Rotterdam, Basel and Minimata conventions as well as the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).
The project was designed to promote the sound management of chemicals and wastes into national development plans; national budgets, policies, legislations and implementation frameworks at all levels, officials say.
Executive Director Momodou Jama Suwareh, at the opening event, said that the objective of the special programme was to support country-driven institutional strengthening at the national level, in the context of an integrated approach to address the financing of sound management of chemicals and wastes.
He added that institutional strengthening under the special programme will help facilitate and enable the implementation of the chemical conventions to which The Gambia is a state party.
“Recognising the importance of stakeholder participation especially policymakers, this consultative meeting is being held to inform and sensitise policymakers on the need to streamline,” he said. “Chemicals management in various spheres of governance, including policy making, law making, environmental protection, agriculture, public health, industry and private sector, the public and various interest groups.”
In order to make an effective and successful project, he said, a wide range of stakeholders must be involved and engaged in the process.
“The government of The Gambia attaches high priority to reducing chemical pollutions and to promoting sound management of chemicals and associated wastes,” he informed, adding that the country has been working with international partners on the implementation of the chemical conventions.
Omar Bah, the registrar of Pesticides and Hazardous Chemicals, NEA, said that his institution finds it very prudent to enlighten stakeholders, particularly policymakers so that they would be at a better position to make decisions when dealing with chemicals and pesticides.
In doing that, he said, the sensitisation has to be a continuous process as environment is a cross-cutting issue.