12 February 2013

Gambia: Biodiversity Action Journalists-the Gambia Launched

The Biodiversity Action Journalists-The Gambia (BAJ-Gambia) was on Monday launched at the head office of The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (TANGO), in the Kanifing Municipality.

BAJ is an environmental and natural resource youth-led organisation established in December 2010, with technical assistance from the Department of Parks and Wildlife Management.

The aim of BAJ is to raise public awareness on environmental thematic areas in a bid to promote community participation in the protection and management of the country's biological and natural resources for prosperity.

In his launching statement, Baboucarr Jallow, deputising for the minister of Environment and Parks and Wildlife Management, underscored the important role the NGOs, CSOs and media play in the protection and conservation of the biological and natural resources for prosperity.

He lamented that The Gambia's biodiversity resource is dwindling unprecedented due largely to illegal logging, as well as fragmentation through unplanned settlements and inadequate forest parks designation.

"There is a need for collective efforts to renew our commitment to the conservation of the planetary resources on which we depend to meet basic needs and services," he pointed out.

Speaking on behalf of the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), Gibril Barry said the launching reminds them of the importance of conservation and preservation of the flora and fauna as stated in the 1977 Banjul Declaration.

He indicated that government is committed to the conservation and restoration of natural habitats and their biodiversity, which provides direct benefits to local communities.

The National Assembly member for Sabach Sanjal, who is a select committee member of environment, Ousman Bah, hailed the initiative , noting that this will go a long way towards complementing government's efforts in the conservation and preservation of national biodiversity.

He assured the BAJ that the National Assembly select committee on the environment will give them the necessary support needed to make their work easy.

The coordinator of BAJ-Gambia, Abdourahman Sallah, disclosed that BAJ-Gambia has a membership of 100 volunteers across the country and revealed that plans are under-way to establish regional and district committees to be headed by focal persons.

According to him, as a group, they need to understand the critical issues facing biodiversity conservation and management.

Edirisa Njie, the social secretary of BAJ-Gambia, chaired the programme.

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