#National News

 ‘Estimated 1.6 M rosewood trees illegally smuggled into Gambia between 2012 and 2020’

Feb 23, 2021, 12:48 PM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

The programme manager at Gambia Participates has said that Environmental Investigation Agency report has revealed that an estimated 1.6 million rosewood trees have been illegally felled in Senegal and smuggled into The Gambia between June 2012 and April 2020.

Teslima Jallow was speaking at a day’s in-person stakeholder forum convened by Gambia Participates in partnership with the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). It attracted Civil Society Organizations, National Assembly Select Committee on Environment, Ministry of Environment and Gambia Ports Authority.

Held at Metzy Hotel, the synergy was among efforts to halt the illegal trade in timber in the country. It was also designed to discuss key recommendations of the Environmental Investigation Agency report.

Jallow indicated that rosewood is a family of tropical tree species widely used for furniture in Asia and in particular China.

“By value and by volume, rosewood is the most trafficked wildlife product in the world according to the EIA revelation.”

For his part, Matarr Nyang, executive director of Gambia Participates, observed a surge in environmental organisations in the country, saying the forum is basically meant to discuss issues about the country’s environment and illegal surge in trafficking of rosewood, which he added, is connected to corruption.

“And this is one of our mandates as Gambia Participates to disseminate the information that has been reported by Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). This report was a three-year investigation that covers both The Gambia and Senegal.”

The Environmental Investigation Agency based in Washington DC, he added, conducted a three-year investigation into the illegal trafficking of rosewoods in the country.

“If you look at the records, The Gambia is the third in trafficking rosewoods in the continent and is a growing the market in Asia.”

Muhammeh S.M. Bah, said the EIA report shows how much money is lost to the country, adding that there were also under reported monies that went into people’s pockets especially prominent people, who were named in the report.