The Point (Banjul)

Gambia: Stakeholders Validate Gambian Experiences in Community Forestry Management and Mangrove Conservation

Stakeholders recently validated the Gambian experiences in community forestry management and mangrove conservation documents

The documents werecommissioned by Canary Current Large Marine Eco-systems (CCLME) in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) through Wetlands International.

The forum, which attracted various stakeholders, was organised in collaboration with the department of Forestry at the DJeliba Hotel.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Muhammed Jaiteh representing the consultant, Natural Resources Consulting, (NACO), said as consultant they were assigned to conduct a study along Bintang Bolong on Gambian experiences in community forestry management and mangrove conservation.

He said the study started in September and request was sent to the responsible authority who contacted them and the document treated until all the necessary requirement was incorporated in everything that was observed in the document.

"With the calibre of the participants in this very important forum, we expect you to criticize and to give your comments, which are constructive one, which will lead to the production of a national document," he said, adding that participants need to be aware that the project belongs to four nations; that is, The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry.

He urged the participants to do their best to ensure The Gambia come out with the best documents, adding that doing so is a collective responsibility of every Gambian to ensure the nation achieves the documents.

"The input of everybody is highly welcome," he noted.

For his part, Richard Dacosta representing CCLME l and Wetland International, expressed delight at the hospitality of the Gambia government and the opportunity accorded them to come and validate a sub-regional document in The Gambia.

The project with NEA, fisheries, among other related institutions is to undertake another project called the West Africa Mangrove Initiative. "During those processes we have a charter that has been ratified by six countries of the CCLME in the regions," he said.

This project is a follow-up on the Wetland International- WAMI project.

He also went on to urge the participants to validate the document in the best interest of the Gambian community.

He as well used the opportunity to thank the Ministry of Forestry and the Environment for supporting them in ensuring that the programme becomes a reality.

In his official opening remarks, the deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Forestry and the Environment, Lamin Jawara, said the forum would look at two study documents: Gambian experiences in community forest, and mangrove conservation.

This report has been looking into best practices in mangrove conservation, he said, adding that the other report is related to Bintang Bolong Assessment and Description of the ecological future in biodiversity.

"The need to conserve and preserve our biodiversity is very key to our national development," he noted.

He added that fisheries is a key sector as it is very important in a nation's livelihood.

"Over the years there has been so much destruction of the habitats of the fish; so therefore coming up with this document and the restoration of this habitat is very important," he said.

Over time the Ministry of Forestry and other institutions has been partnering to ensure the reforestation of mangrove.

He also used the occasion to challenge the participants to contribute their quota to the project as this document will be a national document, adding: "We are in a competition with other countries."

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