Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer Modou Jonga said there is need for a new urban development plan following the phasing out of the previous plan in 2020 and most significantly for an area where 58% of the country’s population are concentrated. He cited that the West Coast Region is the largest area in the GBA with 116,551 households.
According to the CEO the main concept of the draft development plan is to reconcile growth and sustainability both in the short term, mid to long term through preventing development in high risk and environmentally sensitive areas and orient new development to the most effective use of land.
He cited that the production of the plan was through a participatory process and hundreds of citizens across GBA as well as over 55 organisations were consulted from February, 2020 to December, 2021.
According to CEO Jonga, the development plan includes specific goals, policies and actions to improve gender and inclusion consideration and further provides implementation, monitoring and evaluation framework clarifying and highlighting roles and responsibilities in delivering the planned outcome.
He also stated that the draft urban development plan for the GBA is a result of a joint effort of the Ministry of Lands and Regional Governments, Gambia Ports Authority, Brikama Area Council, Banjul City Council, and Kanifing Municipal Council with financial support from African Development Bank and technical support from UNOPS, Gambia office.
He further stated that the GBA has 11 protected areas including national and forest parks covering 17% of the GBA land. This he said obviously promotes sustainable urban development within the planning area and preventing risk exposure and increasing climate change resilience through urban planning measures.
The CEO also encourages citizens of the region and stakeholders to take ownership of the plan by providing feedback.
Also speaking, the chairman of the Brikama Area Council, Sherifo Sonko, who alluded that the public exhibition of a draft development plan for the greater Banjul Area will in the short and long term address the significant challenges in the largest and most dynamic areas in the country.
He seized the opportunity to thank partners: UNOPS Gambia, African Development Bank, the Government through the Ministry of Lands and the Ministry of Finance among others.
For his part, the governor of West Coast Region, Lamin Sanneh, outlined the importance of the document. He said that the document would greatly help the People of West Coast Region to plan, manage and monitor sustainable urban development.