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ENVIRONMENT: NEA, partners finalise ESMP/ESIA draft preparation

Dec 12, 2014, 11:02 AM | Article By: Yai Dibba

The National Environment Agency, NEA, in collaboration with key partners has finalized the preparation of a draft Environmental and Social Management Plan, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment ESMP/ESIA for United Nations Food Security and Agriculture Organization and European Union Millennium Development Goal 1c initiative project.

The finalizing of the draft came at the end of a day’s national validation workshop on the Environmetal and Social Manegement Plan (ESMP) for EU Millennium Development Goal in accordance with the National Environment Management Act 1994 and EIA Regulation 2014, held recently at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

The goal of this project was to contribute to the overall goal of reducing

agriculture poverty and improve on household food security on a sustainable basis, which is consistent with the overall goal of government policies and the Millennium Development Goal 1 through crop intensification.

In his statement, the Director of Inter-sectoral Network at the NEA, Momodou Jama Suwareh, said the current dramatic change that has taken place on the environment in this country over recent years could not be ignored.

The loss of vegetation and forest cover, erosion of the topsoil, worsening farming, the beautiful beaches being eroded threatening our tourism infrastructure environment, and the need for action is necessary and urgent, he added.

According to him, the Gambia government has over the year adopted several measures to arrest the decline, and to improve the environment.

It requires that the people change some of their habits and attitude, and to begin to take more responsive and adequate measures in caring for the environment, he added.

“There is high awareness in this country of its delicate and in some cases fragile environment. It has also been highly recognized that The Gambia has sound environmental policies, with one of the best policy implementation strategies in the sub-region,” Mr Suwareh said.

Mr Suwareh highlighted the policy framework for environmental management within the government’s policy for sustainable development as provided for by the Gambia Environmental Action Plans (GEAPs).

The main policy objective is to guide development such that the rational and sustainable utilization of natural resources is ensure, and is one of the best frameworks that integrate the environmental concerns of the different sub-sectors into the socioeconomic development objective of the country, he added.

The sound management of the environment and wise use of natural resources has now taken a prominent stage in this country, he went on.

In accordance with NEMA Act 1994, it is mandatory that all development that could have potential significant on the environment be subjected to an environmental and social impact assessment, with a view to fully established what consequences to the environment and activity or projects implementation would bring about.

The environmental and management plan (ESMP) is a procedure used to examine the environmental consequences or impact, both beneficial and adverse, of a proposed development project and to ensure that these effects are taken into account in project design, Suwareh continued.

He said in light of environmental degration, it has become imperative to come up with a national policy to approach the institutional and legal framework to ensure the protection of the environment.

Environment impact assessment, therefore, has become the statutory requirement project and plan, with the enactment in 1994 of the National Environment Management Act.