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Network of Parliamentarians, Councillors holds landmark congress

Oct 18, 2011, 1:48 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Gambia Network of Parliamentarians and Councillors on Friday converged at the Baobab Resort Hotel for its first congress.

The Network is part of the sub-regional network of parliamentarians and councillors in West Africa consisting of Mauritania, Senegal, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea- Conakry and Sierra Leone supported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Giving an overview of the network’s draft constitution, network chairman Hon. Netty Baldeh said the National Assembly had adopted the resolution to establish the Network of parliamentarians and local authorities for the protection of the environment and fight against climate change in West Africa -The Gambia Chapter on 16 June 2011.

He noted that the establishment of the network looked  at the adoption of the resolution and the enactment of the legal instrument that guided the modus operandi of the network.

According to Hon. Baldeh, the association was formed and called the Gambia Network of Parliamentarians and Councillors for the Protection of the Environment and Fight Against Climate Change in West Africa - The Gambia Chapter.

Hon. Baldeh said further that the goal of the network is to constitute a forum for national partnership and dialogue on the environment, coastal and marine ecology to strengthen the capacity of parliamentarians and councillors to understand and participate in the management of the coastal and marine environment.

Hon. Baldeh asserted that the major objective of the network is to contribute to the improvement of governance of the coastal and marine environment of The Gambia in particular and West Africa in general.

Also speaking at the forum, the director of Water Resource, Pa Ousman Jarju, expressed delight to be associated with the launching of “this very important association”.

Climate change is a big challenge towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, he noted.

He asserted that The Gambia as a developing country is also vulnerable to climate change.

Director Jarju further said that according to a study conducted some time ago in The Gambia, by 2050-2080, 92km of its coastal land will be lost from Badibou to Kartong.

“We have started realizing losses in our coastal land, as fish landing sides are drastically disappearing,” he said.

He added that The Gambia has developed a national strategy and plan of action it is now trying to implement.

Director Jarju stated further: “What is more needed is information to minimize the impact of climate change.”

The water resource director also challenged the parliamentarians to work in close collaboration with them and other partners in controlling climate change.

The executive director of the National Environmental Agency, Momodou B. Sarr, congratulated the Gambian parliamentarians for setting up the network in the country.

He added that forming association like this would boost national efforts in the fight against climate change.

Sarr advised the NAMS to take the association seriously while assuring them of government’s support.

For his part, Hon. Adama Cham called on the need for attitudinal change towards the environment.

Climate change is a cross-cutting issue affecting all our developmental aspirations,” he said.