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Stakeholders endorse GamPAN protocol

Jul 19, 2011, 1:01 PM | Article By: Abdourahman Sallah

Line departments, institutions and agencies across the country recently converged at the Baobab Holiday Resort in Kololi to endorse the Gambia Protected Area Network (GamPAN) protocol and set up a national executive committee and focal point.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr Lewis Saiwana, a technical adviser to the GamPAN from Zambia, said GamPAN has become a recognised union after its formal endorsement, whose members are comprised of protected area users, customary land owners, policymakers and resource managers.

According to him, members are expected at both regional and national levels to sustainably manage the bio-diversity resources of The Gambia through implementation of the ambitious Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) programme of work on protected areas.

He said implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity on Programme of Work on Protected Areas globally requires promoting management effectiveness of protected areas and ensuring sustainable financing for protected areas.

“This promotes diverse and good governance in protected area management for equity and benefit sharing from genetic resources as well as addresses climate change issues,” he said.

He added that the DPWM regards giant steps to be taken to empower and involve all stakeholders and actors, most importantly the indigenous people, in the long-term sustainable management of protected areas in The Gambia.

The political leadership of The Gambia, he said, has shown commitment to promoting conservation and restoration of bio-diversity and to providing direct benefits to local indigenous communities around the protected areas.

He also said there is a need for much concrete and decisive action for all the citizenry to halt the unprecedented loss of the country’s remaining biological and natural resources, which continue to make Gambia a better place.

For his part, Kawsu Jammeh of the POWPA project management who also doubles as the secretary general of GamPAN said The Gambia has eight protecting areas covering 5.8% of the national territory, excluding sixty-six forest parks.

“It is aimed that by 2020 more protected areas would be designated to meet the global 10% coverage and that of the national priority of 15%,” Mr Jammeh said.

He added: “The Gambia’s bio-diversity resources are dwindling unprecedentedly while the human and livestock population is increasing at a pace of 2.4% per year.”