Africa must consider synergy in rural development:- Minister Gaye tells GGWSSI technical experts meeting
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The minister of Forestry and Environment has said that the main road to success for Africa is to consider synergistic and holistic approaches to solving rural development problems.
Fatou Ndey Gaye was speaking last Thursday while officially declaring open a three-day regional technical experts meeting for the validation of the harmonised strategy for the implementation of Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI), at the Ocean Bay Hotel in Cape Point.
Supported by the government of The Gambia, Africa Union Commission (AUC), Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and other stakeholders, the idea behind this technical conclave, is how collectively, Africa and its partners can improve the livelihoods of the people living in the margins of the Sahara, as well as those exposed to frequent disaster risks as a consequence of climate change.
It came at the back of a similar technical experts meeting held last June in Dakar, Senegal, where more than 200 experts from government institutions, civil society organisations, and scientific community and donors agencies met to discuss and share views on this question during the First Africa Drylands Week.
The minister explained that The Gambia is experiencing severe land degradation since the 60’s and has joined the Permanent Interstate Committee for the Drought Control in the Sahel (CILLS) to not only benefit from the experience of other Sahel countries but to also share with them traditional and scientific knowledge gathered by The Gambia in their common fight to manage the soils.
She continued: “The Gambia advocated with the other African countries in 1992 to have a convention especially dedicated to desertification and drought control. For us, indeed, desertification, land degradation and drough are some of the major environmental problems and overcoming them encourages synergic approaches and effective coordination of activities of the various national and sub-regional bodies, geared towards combating land degradation and desertification.”
The Forestry and the Environment minister explained further that GGWSSI will provide long-term response for an African partnership, supported by the international community while encouraging the AUC and its partners to consider the Great Green Wall as a programmatic approach, sensitise development actors, amplify local environment management, as well as implement mosaic of integrated interventions related to multi-sectoral issues.
To this end, Minister Gaye encouraged all delegates to consider the main recommendation set in the harmonised strategy document under review and consider an alignment of the GGWSSI to the 10-year strategy of the UNCCD.
The Gambia government, she further stated, is fully aware of its own responsibilities in terms of using national budget for the implementation of this Action Plan and went on to encourage all the African countries to consider this initiative as a matter of priority and dignity. She also used the opportunity to thank the African Union Commission and all its partners for choosing The Gambia as a venue for the experts meeting on GGWSSI.
Jozias Bloc, a representative of the European Union Banjul office, thanked the government of The Gambia, the African Union Commission and FAO for convening the conclave.
He explained that the initiative is clearly geared towards poverty alleviation and climate change adaptation in the long-term and involves more than 200 countries in the Sahara and Sahel, who have collectively embraced the proposal as a platform to mobilise partnerships with the aim of ensuring environmental development.
Babagana Ahmadou, the country representative of the FAO, on behalf of the director general of his institution, thanked the government of The Gambia for hosting the meeting, which according to him, represents an important milestone in their common efforts to have harmonised strategy that will guide efforts towards successful implementation of this great initiative.
Almami Dampha of the AUC described the initiative as an important milestone in their continued struggle to free Africa from food insecurity and environmental degradation. He explained that it will also fully complement the Rio Family of Conventions of the United Nations and also contribute towards the full attainment of the objectives of climate change and biodiversity conventions.
Author: Sheriff Janko