The theme of the event was Climate Change Adaptation for Sustainable Crop Production and productivity and Natural Resources Management. The policy forum was marked by prior consultation of similar activity at regional level which culminate to the national convergence
As part of the project, a national policy forum was convened at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, which was attended by a cross section of stakeholders including CSOs, Farmer organizations including women farmer organizations, UN agencies, Government agencies and departments and local government authorities.
As part of the forum ActionAid and the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture shared their policies on climate change. During the discussions that ensued, stakeholders focused on the effects of climate change on the agricultural and farming systems of the country. Concerns were raised that very little is being done to address the issues and that the coordination between the different stakeholders is very weak. Given the above, it was therefore important for the forum to come up with practical recommendations that could be implemented over the short and long run.
Some of the joint recommendations made by the stakeholders were for the Government of the Gambia to develop and promote the implementation of policies on Climate Resilient Sustainable Agriculture/organic farming, establish a gender unit at the Ministry of Agriculture for possible integration of women’s rights issues into climate change adaptation programmes on food production and productivity, explore and invest in the potentials around the surface and underground water for irrigation to enhance year round food production as a strategy to ensure sustainable food security.
On his part, Foday Kanyi the project Manager said, “there is an urgent need to promote agroecological farming practices, support the implementation of climate adaptation policies, increase climate financing for smallholder farmers from our national budget and advocate at national, regional, and global levels for more investment for adaptation and mitigation to address climate change effects on lives and livelihoods of people living in poverty”.
The Government of The Gambia should consider the introduction of Climate Change education in the school curriculum, building grassroots understanding for effective behavioural change in tackling climate change and create children’s platforms on Climate Change discussions. Said Kanyi.