Forum for supporting National forestry inventory held
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The challenges faced by the forest and natural resources in the 21st Century were the subject of discussion at a one-day inception forum.
Held last Friday, at the Baobab Holiday Resort in Kerr Sereign, the forum was set to discuss a project that aimed at supporting the National Forest Inventory (NFI) and popularisation of Forest Policy as well as reviewing the Forest legislation. It was funded by FAO and the government of The Gambia.
The aim of the inventory, according to officials, is to look at challenges of the forest sector in the 21st century and the situation of the natural resources of The Gambia. The project also seeks to support forest programmes to better integrate and with other sectors. Nyada Baldeh, permanent secretary, department of state for Forestry and the Environment, in his opening statement, observed that the involvement of relevant stakeholders in forest management has been a priority for The Gambia government, noting the government is committed to the preservation of the country's flora and fauna.
This commitment, he said, is demonstrated through policy formulation and strategies. According to PS Baldeh, with the expansion and consideration of the participatory forest management approach, the forestry department is still using the previous inventory database. 'The existing database alone is not sufficient to guide the department to implement pertinent and sustainable management strategies," he noted. He urged the participants to contribute fully during the deliberations, in order to come out with tangible resolutions that could be instrumental to the aims of the project.
Jato Sillah, director of Forestry, for his part, said that the project would help to disseminate and popularise the new forestry policy, and that it would also provide relevant information to stakeholders as well as create synergies with other natural resource policies.
The project, he went on, will build the capacities of stakeholders, including members of the local communities, on forest management approaches. Mr Sillah hailed FAO and the government of The Gambia for their much needed support in the form of funding for the project. He also thanked participants for their participation during the workshop.
Senior FAO forestry officer, Muhammad Saket, described the forestry department as an important sector in national development. He told participants that the forestry department of The Gambia had been actively working in ensuring proper control and management of the country's forest resources.
Saket further informed participants to be mindful of the fact that the project would not be devoid of challenges, which he said would require a lot of hard work and commitment from the forestry department. Others speakers include; Abdoulie Badjie, regional forestry officer, Western Region; and Sam Nget, coordinator of the project.
Author: by Amadou Jallow