The Minister of Environment, Hon. Pa Ousman Jarju, last Friday officially launched the Ecosystems Based Adaption for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) -Gambia Branch.
Speaking at the event, Minister Jarju acknowledged that EBAFOSA is the first inclusive pan-African policy framework and implementation platform, premised on inclusive partnership between solutions providers to bridge the policy- implementation action gap for implementation actions. He said the aim of the framework is to bridge the gap to ensure appropriate policy to tackle Africa‘s challenges of food and nutritional insecurity, poverty, unemployment, climate change and environmental degradation to ensure effective implementation.
He said in The Gambia, the establishment of this framework is very timely and relevant to our current national sustainable development goals. He added that The Gambia is among the countries that are faced with serious challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought. These problems, he said have far reaching adverse impacts on human health and food security.
He furthermore, noted that 70% of the population derives its livelihood from natural resources, while experiencing a toxic combination of flat cereal yields, declining water availability and vegetable cover, climate variability recurrent droughts, floods, erosion and high population growth. “Hence The Gambia, as a signatory to the three Rio Conventions UNFCCC, UNCBD and UNCCD is highly committed to work with the international community to combat food insecurity and environmental degradation,” he added.
Minister Jarju pointed out that EBAFOSA is a framework and platform to mobilise solutions, which is to be hosted by an already established institution that voluntarily agrees to do so.
Representing the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Dr. Charles Sagoe-Moses said UNEP is facilitating the roll-out of the EBAFOSA across the entire sub-Saharan African region, noting that currently there are 40 countries that have set up their national branches.
He said EBAFOSA is premised on building countries’ level partnership and coordination across the continent to facilitate country and continental hybridization of solutions, capacity building and best practice transfer in order to bridge the policy implementation action gaps in technology, financing techniques, commercialisation, and policy processes amongst others.
Dr. Richard Munang, UNEP Africa Climate Change Coordinator and EBAFOSA Continental Coordinator said: ”Imagine for a moment the pain of a mother who cannot feed her new-born child with the proper food needed to live beyond the age of five; imagine the mother who toils all day in the field but still goes to bed with a stomach aching from hunger because she cannot afford enough food to feed her family, yet this is reality for millions across the continent who go to bed hungry.”
He added: “What makes the situation even more frustrating is that 65% of the world’s arable land and 10% of its inland water resources are found right here in Africa, with an agro value chain projected to be worth an estimate USD 1 trillion by 2030, capable of creating millions of jobs for the unemployed especially the youth who are currently majority of the unemployed at 60.”
Amadou Taal of the EBAFOSA Gambia President Secretariat liaison office said the Secretariat would promote EBAFOSA among crucial country level stakeholders and showcase successes and impacts towards alleviating food and nutritional insecurity, poverty and unemployment, climate change and environment degradation in the country.
by Alhgaie Babou Jallow & Binta Jammeh