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Stakeholders review biodiversity policy and strategy

Mar 25, 2011, 2:09 PM | Article By: Abdourahman Sallah

The energy and environment project co-ordinating unit under the auspices of the DPWM supported by UNDP organised a two-day forum for stakeholders to review the policies and strategies to better suit the much anticipated authority called the Gambia Wildlife Authority (GAWA).

The program which brought together stakeholders from various institutions was held at the Abuko office, from 21st to 22nd March 2011.

Ousainou Touray, the focal person for energy and environment at the UNDP-funded project co-coordinating unit under the auspices of the DPWM, said the forum was meant to review and update the biodiversity policy, and the department’s strategy.

It also seeks to mainstream gender issues and enhance service delivery capacity of the middle level cadre aimed at attaining the MDGs and PRSP 11 as enshrined in the Vision 2020 blueprint. He underscored the significance of the policy and strategy, adding that these documents served as guiding tools in proper management and implementation of the programs and activities of GAWA.

He added that UNDP is very supportive to his department, as they provide capacity building training on database, among others, in strengthening their work.

Touray defined policy as a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve a rational outcome; while strategy is all about integrating activities, utilising and allocating the scare resources within the organisation so as to meet the present objectives.

Dr Lewis Saiwana, a Zambian technical assistant, said GAWA will be charged with formulating a wildlife policy; overseeing its administration and coordinating the development of the wildlife sector in The Gambia.

According to him, the vision of the wildlife sector for the next 20 years should conform to the development vision 2020 for The Gambia on environmental sustainability and social, economic transformation.

He said that wildlife is a natural resource of great biological, economic, environmental, climate ameliorating, water and soil conservation and nutritional values that must be conserved.

He noted that some of the vision of the wildlife sector includes promoting conservation of biodiversity, administer, regulate and develop wildlife resources, involve all stakeholders in wildlife conservation and sustainable utilisation, as well as equitable sharing of benefits and promote sustainability of wildlife resources.

The second day of the forum took the form of group work where participants were discussed policy and strategy analyses and implementation.

Lamin Gassama senior wildlife conservation officer under DPWM, in his closing remarks, commended UNDP for providing the strategic support for the implementation of the forum.