Aug 5, 2009, 3:15 AM
The Gambia is among five West African countries implementing a five-year pilot project on Protected Areas Resilience to Climate Change (PARCC), officially known as Evolution of Protected Areas Systems with regard to Climate Change in the West Africa Region.
In that regard, a three-day second national forum on climate information and species vulnerability was recently held at Baobab Hotel.
The convergence that brought together stakeholders from all member countries: Mali, Chad, Sierra Leone, Togo and The Gambia, aimed to create an avenue for participants to learn and share experiences in climate related issues.
Declaring the forum officially opened, Hon. Fatou Ndey Gaye, the Minister of Environment, Parks and Wildlife Management, said the Government of The Gambia has recognised that environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources created cycles of poverty, poor health, loss of wildlife and generally retarded development which needed full national commitment to address.
To this end, she said a coherent policy known as the Banjul Declaration in 1977 was introduced, followed by the enactment of the National Environment Management Act and the establishment of the National Environment Management Council in 1987 that aims to provide the legal basis for environmental planning, management and decision-making.
“As a least developed country, The Gambia is and will continue to be greatly affected by the adverse impacts of climate change and government attaches great importance to climate change issues, thus her commitment to tackling the effects of climate change is reflected in its new five-year development strategy Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE).”
The National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan under the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management, mandated to implement biodiversity and wildlife activities in The Gambia is now the main framework for biodiversity management that addresses all areas affecting biodiversity in the country.
Momodou B. Sarr, the Executive Director of National Environment Agency recalled that the inception workshop of the project was on the 19th December 2011 held in The Gambia.
He commended Mr. Famara Drammeh, the National Liaison Officer of the PARCC project, whom he said, has worked diligently to move the project.
The main objective of the PARCC project was to enable all Protected Areas in the five participating core countries: Mali, Chad, Togo, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, to adapt to the impact of Climate Change.
“This can be achieved by developing tools to assess the vulnerability of Protected Areas to Climate Change. The project will also devise strategies to enhance the resilience of these protected areas, while building the capacity to effectively utilise these tools and strategies. We are hopeful that the results of her research would be available to the NEA, who would in turn distribute them widely to all key stakeholders,” he stated.
Noting that the approach of the project in achieving its objectives might be considered too scientific, he said, one of the proposed approaches would involve identifying different biological characteristic species that make them more likely than others to be affected by the impacts of climate change.
For her part, Ms Elise Belle, who outlined the overview of the PARCC project said UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre is the executing agency (project management unit).
Famara Drammeh of NEA, who also doubles as the National Liaison Officer for PARCC in the Gambia chaired the ceremony.