May 21, 2013, 8:58 AM
The Ministry of Forestry, in collaboration with the West African Mangrove Initiate Project WAMI yesterday concluded a two-day validation of a draft regional mangrove charter and sustainable management of mangrove ecosystem action plan at the Baobab Lodge.
The West African Mangrove initiative is funded by the Swiss Mava Foundation and is being implemented by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Wetlands International and the Coastal Programme in five West African countries, namely The Gambia,
The objective of the national seminar is to share, review and finally approve the draft regional mangrove charter and sustainable management of mangrove ecosystem action plan.
In declaring the forum open, the Minister of Forestry and Environment, Mr. Jatto Sillah underscored the importance of mangroves, noting that the unique function and values of mangrove and mangrove ecosystem are an important aspect in the livelihood of the population.
He noted that since mangrove forests serve as important habitat for marine mammals, migratory birds, prime nesting areas for hundreds of bird species, they must be jealously protected and utilised in a sustainable manner.
According to him, the fisheries sector within the sub-region depends highly on the mangrove ecosystem for fish spawing.
He underscored the need to be aware that mangrove ecosystem support extensive coastal food webs, provide shoreline stability and erosion prevention, including storm protection.
Forestry and Environment Minister called on the people to change their attitude towards mangrove ecosystem. He added that in realising this, Wetland International Africa and International Union for the Conservation of Nature are combining efforts within the regional marine and coastal conservation to promote the judicious utilisation of mangrove recourse. He noted that the approach adopted by the project is participatory through the involvement of community and Community Based Organisations, including all stakeholders in the sustainable management of the mangrove resource. He further challenged the participants to participate fully in upholding the effective management of the mangrove resources.