Public participation critical in chemical issues: Environment Minister

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Lamin B. Dibba has said that public participation is critical in addressing chemical issues and their health and environmental effects. He added that this includes developing adequate responses which respond to their situation and circumstances, including opportunities for providing input at the national level regarding implementation of the Conventions.

He made these remarks at an inception workshop on the Institutional Capacity Building for Implementation of the Multi-lateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) organized by the government of the Gambia through National Environment Agency (NEA) with funding from the UNEP Special Pogramme Secretariat for the project titled: “Institutional Capacity Building for the Implementation of the multi-lateral Environment Agreements (MEAs)”.

Hon. Dibba stated that recognising the importance of stakeholder participation, this national inception workshop is being held to map out strategies for implementation and to identify roles and responsibility for different stakeholders.

“Chemicals impact on many sectors, including policy-making, law-making, environmental protection, agriculture, public health, industry and the private sector, the public and various interest groups,” he stated.

In order to make an effective and successful project, Mr. Dibba requested that a wide range of stakeholders must be involved and engaged in the process.

He revealed that The Gambia has acknowledged the urgent need to take steps towards the development of an institutional framework for the sound management of chemicals to support a rapidly growing industrial and agricultural sector.

In his welcoming remarks, executive director of NEA, Momodu Jama Suwareh noted that chemicals are important determinants for sustainable development, sound environmental health and quality of life.

He explained that while the use of chemicals in all human activities (e.g. agriculture, health, energy production, manufacture, services and residential) contributes to improving the quality of life, it also raises concerns about its harmful effects on workers, consumers, the environment and society at large through exposure.

“The Stockholm Convention is a legally binding international instrument, designed to lead to gradual decrease of the presence of persistent organic pollutants in the environment and The Gambia is a party to the Stockholm Convention,” he further stated.

Author: Fatou B. Cham