Sep 4, 2008, 5:55 AM
Stakeholders from the agriculture, natural resources and environment sectors are attending a two-day validation of the National Parks and Wildlife Bill, at Baobab Resort Hotel in Senegambia.
Also, present at the validation were local government authorities and the private sector representatives, all of whom have a stake in the protection and conservation of biological and natural resources.
Speaking at the event, Fatou Ndey-Gaye, the Minister of Environment, Parks and Wildlife, said the conservation and management of the National Parks and Nature Reserves is a key flagship in enhancing environmental stability, improving livelihoods and stabilisation of regional climatic patterns.
Minister Gaye stated that the bill when enacted into a law would provide the establishment, control and management of the National Parks and Nature Reserves and for the conservation and enhancement of wildlife ecosystems, biodiversity, historical, geological, archeological and scientific interests in the National Parks and Nature Reserve.
According to her, the Act would promote and enhance proper management and control of the national parks and natural reserves, both at local and national levels.
“The Act will also provide for the implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Flora and Fauna, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as water fowl habitat, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention for the conservation of Migratory Species, the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and the World Conservation Union and the Banjul Declaration and for matters incidental thereto and connected therewith,” she said.
She further stated that The Gambia had numerous animal species which got exterminated, due principally to weak laws which gave way to the decimation of the wildlife of this country.
Mr. Momodou Lamin Kassama, Director of Parks and Wildlife Management revealed that conservation and management is particularly receiving close attention among the entire membership of the MEAs, due principally to the fact that illegal activities are on the increase and countries in the region are called upon to tighten their legislations. The Gambia, he said, is included.
Noting that the Act would help in the development and implementation of management plans, he said, it would provide for the licensing of hunting and control of the processing, sale, import and export of wild animals and trophies. “Our officers will be groomed and sharpened to enforce the law to the letter to protect the natural resources of this land,” he said.
According to him, the topics covered in the draft bill included the following preliminary issues, officers, protected areas and general restrictions, management of protected areas, game and protected animals, incentives, protection of endangered and threatened ecosystem and species, regulation of trade in endangered species and wildlife research and monitoring, among other areas.
Mr. Lamin Queen Jammeh, the Governor of NBR said he was happy to be associated with all what has been said and done concerning the regional administration.
“It is a reality that there has been a negative environmental issue, but cannot be isolated from the global environmental problem,” he said.
Abdou Touray of the UNDP said UNDP provides funds to support development processes, but all the work plans are generated through a process. While thanking DPWM, he assured them of their continuous support.