#National News

MECCNAR Validates Draft Forestry Policy

Dec 14, 2021, 12:32 PM

The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (MECCNAR) under the Central Project Coordinating Unit with support from the Eco-System Based Adaptation Project (EbA) and the Department of Forestry (DoF) recently convened a two-day forum to validate the draft Forestry Policy.

The draft forestry policy will be implemented by the Department of Forestry, Dept of Parks and Wildlife and other stakeholders such as Community Development and Dept of Agriculture. The event held at a hotel in Senegambia, attracted senior government officials and key stakeholders from the Natural Resource Sector.

Addressing the forum, Muhammed Jaiteh, Director of the Department of Forestry, said the draft policy comprised social issues, policies and institutions, production of goods and services, livelihoods associated with markets related to forest and trees.

"The Department of Forestry is considering this draft policy as a broad, multidisciplinary document encompassing social issues policies and institutions, production of goods and services and the jobs associated with them, livelihoods and markets related to forest and trees outside forests. By this view, we are taking into consideration the complexity of the many different forest ecosystems, as well as the social and ecological complexities of the broader landscapes within which forests and trees exist" he added.

Jaiteh indicated that the demand for ecosystems services from the forest is increasing, adding that people are challenged to strategically optimise our capacity and mitigate climate change, conserve biodiversity, safeguard wildlife habitat and protect land and watersheds.

“Currently, we are anxious to manage our remaining dryland forest sustainably through participatory approaches by involving the rural forest-dependent communities’ private individuals to promote integrated forest management and landscaping approaches in the next decades.”

Director Jaiteh further explained that the previous assessment indicates that the Gambia has around 423,000 hectares of forest, covering about 44 per cent of the land area and providing goods and vital ecosystem services in support of agriculture, food security and nutrition as well as climate mitigation and adaptation.

He confirmed that DOF will continue in partnership with old and new stakeholders and be at the forefront in the management of our forest affairs.

DOF, he added, is poised to make a significant contribution to strengthen local capacities and overcome the obstacles to participatory sustainable forest management by providing reliable information, technical assistance, policy and legal advice where required.

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