Gambia: National Inter-Ministerial Dialogue On Climate Change Opens

The second National Inter-Ministerial Dialogue on 'Investment and Financial flow to address climate change' opened Wednesday at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.

Organised by the Department of Water Resources in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, Environment & Energy Group, the main objectives of the two-day dialogue meeting are to present the final reports on investment and financial flows to address adaption in the agriculture and water sectors and mitigation in the energy and forestry sectors.

Declaring the meeting open, Jato Sillah, the minister of Forestry and the Environment said it is now well recognised that sustainable economic growth cannot be achieved without mitigation and adaptation to climate change, saying The Gambia is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

According to him, the challenges it poses jeopardise the progress of sustainable development and in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Minister Sillah stated that even though The Gambia's Green House gas emission is very low, failure to mitigate climate change now through modifications in development pathways would lock the country's scenarios of emissions impacts thereby leading to higher cross for adaptation.

He explained that the dialogue will give officials the opportunity to discuss on ways forward, how to introduce the outcomes into national planning, into legislation, and into further collaboration with bilateral and multilateral partners.

He added that developments in The Gambia since 1994 have been highly remarkable, commendable and appreciative and therefore, and that the Gambia government welcomes partners and supporters to implement the climate change endeavours.

He finally commended the government of The Gambia through the leadership of President Jammeh for the support in the fight against climate change in the country.

For her part, Chinwe M Dike, the UNDP representative and coordinator of the UN System in The Gambia noted that the world today is at a critical juncture, and that the effect of the changes in the global climate has become one of the many challenges we are facing, which if mismanaged, will reverse developments progress.

She said: "We need to agree on a position that will help address the energy challenges of today, mainly the fears and debate over the cost and reliability of hydrocarbon supply, could risk locking the world into choosing unsustainable technologies and emission trajectories that would make it difficult to avoid the unmanageable impacts of global warming."

She commended the government and the people of The Gambia for being one of the 20 counties globally, that have demonstrated the commitment to address the concerns of climate change and have requested support to integrate climate change into national planning with a wide participation of stakeholders, and undertake long-term planning that consider and take climate change into consideration.

Dike averred that the UNDP has always been responsive to the development needs of The Gambia, and disclosed that the UNDP climate community have put together a project - "capacity development for policymakers to address change", that aims at providing a better understanding of the magnitude of funds needed to tackle climate change now and in the long-term. Pa Ousman Jarju, the director of Water Resources chaired the programme.

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