#National News

"Our livelihood depends on how we protect the biodiversity"

Jun 17, 2020, 12:45 PM | Article By: Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang

Senior conservation and wildlife officer says Gambia's biological resources are vital to the populations’ economic and social development with recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations.

Sadly, he reiterated that most of the indigenous tree and animal spices within the ecosystem family have been seriously threatened with extinction caused by human activities that still continue at an alarming rate.

Nuha Jammeh of the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management deliberated that senseless clearing of the forest vegetation cover and areas serving as homes to many species further increase the problems as habitats for biodiversity members including micro-organisms are being destroyed.

Jammeh made the statement during a regional radio sensitization phone in programme marking this year`s World Environment Day commemoration. The day is observed on June 5th every year to promote awareness on the importance of preserving our biodiversity, the need to identify problems related to the environment and ways to take corrective action and to tackle environmental challenges that include climate change, global warming, disasters and conflicts, harmful substances, environmental governance, ecosystem management, resource efficiency among other environmental protection measures.

This United Nations flagship day is used for promoting worldwide awareness and action for the environment, and over the years it has grown to be the largest global platform for public environmental outreach, and it is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries.

Jammeh buttressed that human activities have caused so much damage to the environment and has affected the delicate ecosystem and the damage has become so severe that the whole world has come together to stop any further damage as our continued survival on this planet is at risk.

This year, Colombia hosts World Environment Day 2020 in partnership with Germany, and the theme is on biodiversity conservation. This theme is intended to remind us to think seriously about the massive loss of our biodiversity due to our activities as humankind.

The Executive Director of UNEP stressed that “one million plants and animal species are facing extinction and there has never been a more important time to focus on the issue of biodiversity than now.”

Jammeh thanked the Government of the Gambia while lamenting on the number of policies and regulations that are being implemented for the judicious exploitation and use of our natural resources. These, he said included the Biodiversity Policy, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Forest Policy, National Environment Management Act, Gambia Environment Action Plan among others.

The Gambia is containing globally significant biodiversity, harboring a wealth of terrestrial, coastal, marine and wetland habitats and species of local, national, regional and global significance. The DPWM expert revealed that threats to species and ecosystems has never been as great as it is today with clearing of forest areas that further increases problems as habitats for living organisms are destroyed.

Recognizing the need to conserve its biological resources, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources in a statement disclosed that the government of the Gambia has made a commitment to conserve 10% of the land area and eventually hectares of coastal and marine habitats as conservation areas.

Responding to numerous phone calls during the radio talk show, Jammeh expressed his sadness about the speed at which the country’s forest resources are being exploited. He appealed to Government to put in place regulations to curb the rapid destruction of the forest covers. He also urged the local population to take ownership of their immediate surroundings that are left fallow for years and plant indigenous tree spices in the area at the same time creating new habitats for local species. 

Jammeh further appealed to Government and non-government institutions that are charged with the responsibility of managing the country’s natural resources and heritage, local communities, CBOs, Youth and women groups and individuals to re-double efforts in this area while also urging the private sector to render great consideration to the environment, as businesses cannot grow with the impacts of climate change.

He thanked the National Environment Agency and Karpowership Company for the aggressive awareness creation and community outreach through phone-in radio awareness and sensitization programmes in community radio stations throughout the country that will increase the awareness of all residents, particularly the local communities, on the importance of protecting our environment and natural resources for the present and future generations.