Nov 3, 2014, 6:43 PM
In his welcoming remarks, the governor of North Bank Region, Lamin Queen Jammeh, said the forum was aimed at developing the capacities of rural communities, project managers and promoters through training, using a regional approach towards sustainable land management (SLM) and climate change adaptation in the Sahel and West Africa.
It was due to the commitment of the respective governments, development partners and individuals’ efforts that the PRGDT project was conceived some time back, he said.
He noted that individual projects under the main project are being harmonised for training and are currently being attended to with great enthusiasm from participants in The Gambia.
“This training workshop, which converged all stakeholders on SLM starting from the local communities at rural policy makers and at national levels, was a clear manifestation that decentralization is taking place in a context of differential but shared responsibility in the management of our scarce resources,” Governor Jammeh added.
He said countries through the realization of the impact of climate change, particularly in the rural areas, is affecting livelihoods, and adaptation as a climate response to the communities could not be overemphasized.
The use of sound knowledge and appropriate tools to address climate change effects and impacts as desired by the training could be one of the surest means of improving community livelihood which would ensure environmental sustainability.
“I wish to assure you that the Government of The Gambia under the leadership of President Jammeh has and will continue to give its political will to support the SLM initiatives provided by CILSS in strengthening the decentralization process in our various countries,” Governor Jammeh said.
The regional sustainable land management and climate change adaptation in the Sahel and West Africa programme, PRGDP, had been initiated and implemented by CILSS with technical and financial support from the European Union and the International Development Research Centre, IDRC, since 2011, he added.
The aim of the programme is to assist the 17 CILLSS and ECOWAS Member countries in the implementation of synergetic actions for the sustainable improvement of agro-forestry, pastoral productions through investment for the rehabilitation of degraded lands on the promotion of the governance of natural resources and adaptation to climate change, on the other hand, he said.
The overall objectives of the training was to contribute to building the capacity of recipient communities of PRGDT funding in local project implementation, to equip the beneficiary communities to fully exercise their roles in investment implementation and to provide communities with tools/knowledge necessary to promote involvement and intense sharing of ideas amongst local stakeholders for a stronger commitment to the common causes of sustainable development, he stated.
Opening the five-day convergence, the deputy permanent secretary Cona-CILLSS under the Ministry of Agriculture, Assan Jallow, said the training was not only one response to this concern, but also a platform for multi-stakeholder and multi-country exchanges of experiences gained since the advent of decentralisation in the PRGDT area of intervention.
He assured the participants that the programme partners highly appreciated the support provided by CILLSS in strengthening the decentralisation process.
Undoubtedly, he added, it was part and parcel of dynamics created by the political will of the leaders to boost grassroots development, by empowering the local actors they represented.
According to DPS Jallow, building the local capacity in project ownership and management remains a priority and an essential competence for all communities to contribute to the good governance of the scarce resources available.
He therefore urged the participants to actively participate in the training session which would focus on several topics, all equally important, including accounting, management, procurement, communication, management of structures monitoring and evaluation.
Mr Jallow thanked the CILLSS Technical and Financial Partners, particularly the French Cooperation, for their commitment and marked interest in sustainable land management in a context of climate change in the ECOWAS/CILLSS region.
He further reaffirmed that states would spare no effort towards the smooth and successful implementation of the projects being executed.