The Regional Partnership for Coastal and Marine Conservation in West Africa (PRCM) in partnership with the National Environment Agency (NEA) recently convened a day’s coastal consultative forum for stakeholders in the coastal and marine sectors at a local hotel in Bijilo.
The aim of the forum is to serve as a tool for information sharing, consultation and planning related to coastal management and planning. The Coastal and Marine Environment Programme of NEA serves as a clearing house and collection point for coastal and marine environmental issues. Through this programme, institutions and partners could come together to discuss and recommend solutions to environmental issues, mainly through coordination and monitoring of all coastal and marine activities in the country.
Speaking at the ceremony, Momodou Jama Suwareh, Director of Inter-Sectoral Services at the National Environment Agency, said the Government of The Gambia has introduced The Gambia Incorporated Vision 2020 Development Programme, in which it commits itself to conserve and promote the rational use of the nation’s natural resources and environment for the benefit of present and future generations in a manner that is consistent with the overall objective of sustainable development.
The Vision 2020, he added, is in harmony with The Gambia Environment Action Plan (GEAP), other natural sector policies as well as Multi-lateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).
“You are aware that coastal zone of The Gambia is one of its most economically active areas. The area is the seat of tourism, fisheries, sand mining for construction and trade. At the same time, the area is significant for its ecologically sensitive sites; such as mangrove swamps which protect the coastline from erosion and are breeding grounds for fish and other marine lives, bird sanctuaries and forest parks,” he asserted.
Suwareh noted that one key challenge for all is to strengthen the linkages so that decisions can be guided by the best possible understanding of the problems they are facing and solutions available; hence the significance of this coastal forum.
“We strongly believe that through dialogue and the sharing of experiences in gatherings such as this, we will be able to redefine our approach, realign our forces and redirect our efforts for the protection and sustainable management of our coastal and marine environment,” he further stated.
The Director of Inter-sectoral Services indicated that coastal and marine environmental issues do not have boundaries for environmental problems and therefore these problems can be dealt with only by cooperation between countries sharing the same coastal and marine environment.
“It is in this connection that role of PRCM is important in addressing coastal and marine issues within our sub-region,” he concluded.
by Samba Jawo