Held at Dembo Fula hall in Kerewan, participants also observed that increased land grabbing and poor health facilities and services are disturbing the peace and security and social cohesion among people in the region.
The day’s forum attracted children, women, youth, local authorities, farmers and physically challenged persons among others.
It was organized by The Gambia National Youth Council (NYC), Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (GALGA), Office of The President Department of Strategic Policy and Delivery, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Children, Women and Social Welfare/Women’s Bureau in partnership with the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and other partners, as part of events marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
The Common Country Analysis [CCA] is an independent, impartial and collective assessment and analysis of a country situation used in developing the Cooperation Framework. It examines progress, gaps, opportunities and bottlenecks regarding a country’s commitment to achieving the 2030 Agenda, UN norms and standards.
The overall objective of the consultation was to bring together key stakeholders of the communities to discuss the current situation of the corona virus and how it impacts development; conduct a robust inclusive gender sensitive stakeholder consultation to ensure ownership of the CCA and ultimately the CF; and engage a cross section of community representatives to determine the development priorities in the context of the UNHSTF and UN75 anniversary.
In her background introduction, Ms. Seraphena Wakana, UN Resident Coordinator said, “UN agencies in every country work under the leadership of the government. 2020 is the year of the UN as it turns 75.”
The current strategy ‘UN Development Assistant Framework in The Gambia [UNDAF]’, she explained, will end year 2021, and as a result they are now looking back on where they were, who they are, what they have accomplished and where needs improvement.
Ms. Wakana explained further that through their principle of “leaving no one behind,” they are now preparing a new strategy for the next five years and hence the community stakeholders’ consultations.
According to her, the engagements will take advantage of the cross sectoral linkages of the UN system’s expertise and experience in The Gambia to develop interventions ensuring the effective localisation of SDGs with the communities as the main focus.
She further stated that the UN focuses mostly on capacity building, advocacy and programmes implementation with their counterparts to address the needs and development challenges of the vulnerable communities. "We want to build capacities when we implement our programmes," she added.
Mr. Landing B. Sanneh, Chairman of Mansakonko Area Council, who also doubles as president of GALGA, recognized the important role and the valuable contributions the UN system in The Gambia are playing in national development.
“In the spirits of SDG17 partnerships, the consultations will add up to the inclusion progress for the SDGs to be achieved together.”
He reiterated partners’ willingness especially the local government councils and authorities to work with the UN partners towards localization and achieving the SDGs and national development programmes together.
According to him, the consultations are expected to strengthen local governance structures to enhance their participation, ownership and sustainability of development support and to restore livelihoods of vulnerable women and youth and enhancing opportunities for self-reliance.
Speaking on behalf of the National Youth Council, Mr. Kawsu Sillah, programme officer for peace, security and justice said the community consultations are organized through a multi-stakeholder partnership using the people centered approach. This, he said, is all designed to ensure that no one is left behind.
Other speakers included Mr. Malamin I.L. Bojang, Chairman of Kerewan Area Council and Pa Modou Gaye, District youth chairperson representing the Regional Youth Committee, who both expressed appreciation for the timely interventions of the UN system and local partners and assured of the continued partnership of their various constituencies in accelerating the decade of action for the implementation of the UN 2030 sustainable development agenda.
By Amadou Jallow
Programme & Communication Officer, GALGA