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Enhancing stakeholders in forest programme training underway

Jul 9, 2010, 3:32 PM | Article By: Abdolie Nyockeh

A six-day training workshop on enhancing stakeholders' participation in the National Forest Programme is currently underway at Tendaba Camp in Kiang Central in the Lower River Region.

Organised by the Department of Forestry and Environment and the National Consultancy on Rural Extension Training, the training workshop is funded by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, through the FAO forest facility.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr. Sam Nget, the Focal Person at the Department of Forestry, who is also the Project Coordinator of the National Forest Programme said the national forest programme facility through which the training is funded, operates under the authority of a steering committee and is financed through a multi-donor trust fund supported by the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

He noted that most of the facility funds go to country support programmes, to enable governments and civil society actors to successfully manage and develop their national forest programme processes. Nget stated that the facility trademark is to provide grants directly to stakeholders in partnering countries, based on purely country-driven programme of activities and a competitive and transparent process for soliciting and selecting proposals for support.

In his official opening remarks, Mr. Lamin Nyabally, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Forestry and the Environment said the decentralisation of forestry resources management is a salient point in the New Forest Policy 2010-2019 of The Gambia.

He noted that it has been generally acknowledged that the forestry sector has indeed great potential in augmenting rural income through sustainable utilisation of tree resources.

He added that it is in recognition of this fact that sustainable forest management has become an integral part of The Gambia's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, Millennium Development Goal and Vision 2020.

He stated that the low involvement of the rural populace in forest protection has been the underlining cause of forest degradation in the country.

PS Nyabally added that participatory forestry management regimes, community forestry and co-management of forest parks have become a household word in many rural communities throughout the country.

According to him, it has been observed in The Gambia that participatory forest management processes contributed to strengthening local capacities on forest conservation through preventing and fighting forest fires and increased request for expansion of community forestry where community-based forest enterprise development is used.

The Gambia government, he went on, through the exemplary and dynamic leadership of President Jammeh has demonstrated its commitment to the preservation of the country's flora and fauna on numerous occasions, through the provision of enabling policy environment for community and individual rights on forest dependant communities.

He thanked the FAO on behalf of the Ministry of Forestry and the environment for the continuous support it had been rendering to the forestry sector, most particularly for funding the workshop and the current forest policy popularisation activities.