The official launching presided over by the Governor of West Coast Region, Alh Lamin Sanneh, was attended by various key stakeholders.
In his launching statement, Modou Jonga, senior admin and public relations officer on behalf of the Chairman of the Brikama Area Council, said the environmental development had been a key mandate of the Brikama Area Council as enshrined in the Local Government Act of 2002.
“We are indeed very hopeful that the project will help to contribute to the gain of the council in the environment sector and help to complement council’s effort in the development, sustainability and management of our natural resources,” PRO Jonga said.
He assured the stakeholders that his council’s doors are always open to all the sectors in the forestry for their support, adding that the council could not work in isolation.
“It is important for collective effort to work hand in glove in the best interest of our natural resources,” he added.
The project coordinator in Casamance, Paul Hibib Sanyang, gave an overview of the project, the objective and rationale behind the project and its benefits to the socio-economic development of the neighboring countries.
Looking at the environment, he said all the forest had disappeared due to mankind’s activities and behaviours, which have contributed immensely to the destruction of the forest.
Therefore, the project aims to address issues affecting the environment, he said, calling for collective effort in the protection and preservation of the forest.
Francis Jatta, representing the donor agency, expressed appreciation to be associated with the launching of the integrated project for restoring forest in the cross-border space of Southern Senegambia and Guinea-Bissau supported by local organization ‘Trans-boundary’.
He said the aim of the project was to strengthen the capacity of the local people in conflict prevention and peace building in the border area of Senegambia with Enda Diop and in collaboration with its technical partners and financial support from Australia Development Agency.
He highlighted some of the success stories the two sister countries embarked on in the past, ranging from official launching of other projects, seminars, training for local organizations on issues related to conflict prevention and resolution.
Mr Jatta spoke at length about the importance attached to the mini-project, calling for collective participation in the fight against forest intruders in the environment.
Alieu Sowe, national coordinator of the Network of Farmer Organizations (NACOFAG), said the project was long overdue in the sense that the campaign started at the sub-regional level since 2013 and they have achieved 10,000 CFA to conduct tree planting in restoring forestation of the environment.
He thanked the authority of the three sister countries for their collaboration in the restoration of the forest cover.
Lamin Jarjue, the focal person in The Gambia, also expressed appreciation for having such a very important project in the sub-region, which is all geared towards bringing peace and stability among the sister countries.
He thanked the Enda Diop and the Australia Development Agency for funding the project.