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Government Committed to Environmental Conservation

Jul 30, 2009, 8:18 AM

Mrs. Nancy Nyang, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Forestry and Environment has said that the government of the Gambia has signed a protocol of agreement with the government of Senegal for the joint protection and management of Niumi and Saloum national parks.

According to her, the national character of Saloum and Niumi national parks as an ecological entity with vital and incalculable environmental value to the region and its people, prompted both the Gambia and Senegal to recognized that the protection and management of this life support system and its resources are crucial factors in the long-term management of the region.

Permanent Secretary Nyang made these remarks while delivering a key note address at a one day forum for National Assembly Member held recently.

"The creation of a trans-boundary biosphere reserve will certainly enable the two countries to share experiences, skills and knowledge on the conservation and sustainable use of the natural and cultural resources of the two countries through the network of biosphere reserves", she stated.

She further pointed out that the government of the Gambia is committed to the conservation and restoration of natural habitats and their biodiversity whilst at the same time seeking to ensure the provision of direct benefits to local communities around protected areas.

For his part, Mr. Alpha Omar Jallow the Director of Parks and Wildlife management said that the continued rate of environmental degradation including biodiversity requires an established process of effective co-management and application of all protected areas.

According to him the current biodiversity or wildlife act addresses key policy issue as relates to community involvement and empowerment in the management of the country's biodiversity or wildlife resources. He however stated that gaps in terms of governance and effective management remains an issue expected to be addressed in the new biodiversity laws.

"Niumi national park and other community forest parks already under formal protection still require further action to provide protection for their entire biological entities", he said, noting that the livelihood of the rural community periphreal to the proposed biosphere reserve depends on natural resources and there existing underlying threats contributing to loss of biodiversity, which needs urgent attention through established process such as the creation of a biosphere reserve.

The program was chaired by Ablie Danso, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Forestry and Environment.