The Minister of Environment, Pa Ousman Jarju, yesterday presided over the signing and official inauguration of the construction project of the Senegambia/Kololi and Tanji Bridges.
The project, “enhancing resilience of vulnerable coastal areas and communities to the impact of climate change in The Gambia”, was initiated in 2012 and it is a tripartite partnership between the Government of The Gambia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This project, funded by GEF at US$8.9 million, is meant to reduce the Gambia’s vulnerability to climate change, including sea-level rise.
Expressing his appreciation with the progress made so far, the Environment Minister said he is confident that the good work of the team would be manifested in the mid-term reports of the project.
He said the Government of The Gambia has close relations with the UNDP at both national and international levels, saying they have closely mobilised resources for Least Developed Countries (LDC), noting that this project being the biggest LDC project at this time is a demonstration of the Gambia’s desire to reduce the vulnerability and build resilience of the people and the communities along the coastal areas.
Minister Jarju acknowledged that the $3.2million project signed is not going to solve everything, but said The Gambia has a second phase of this project to implement which requires a lot of money but hastened to add that in partnership with the UNDP they have started working on mobilising resources. He promised that in one year from now, they would announce approval of a multi-million Dollar project that is going to ensure that there is sustainability of the infrastructure that this first phase would put in place.
For her part, Ade Mamonyane Lekeotje, the UNDP Resident Representative in The Gambia said the construction of the revetments in the first phase will protect the vital coastal infrastructure and make them resilient to the negative impacts of climate change.
“I am confident together we can make this project a real success story not only for The Gambia but LDCs as a whole,” she said, maintaining that the project has three components. These components, she added are: policy and institutional development for climate risk management in coastal zones; physical investment in coastal protection against climate change risk and strengthening livelihood of coastal communities at risk from climate change.
Ndey Sering Bakurin, the Executive Director of the National Environment Agency, acknowledged the invaluable support by the UNDP county office towards this achievement and to similar works done in Tendaba, Illiasa and Dasilami. The contractor, she noted was selected through a very rigorous process such that they do not have any doubt the former has the competence for the job and would live up to expectations and deliver as expected in eight months.
Speaking earlier, Ibrahim Jagne, Proprietor of NSMTP, an engineering company based in Senegal that were offered the contract thanked the authorities for choosing them among the huge applicants, while
promising to lead up to the expectations of the project.
by Samba Jawo