Environmental Activist Endorses Reservation of Four Forest Parks as ICCA

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By Madiba Singha                                                                                                           

Nfamara Drammeh, an environmental activist last week Wednesday commended the Ministry of Environment for the declaration of four forest parks as Indegenous Community Conserve Areas (ICCA).

Mr Drammeh made this endorsement last week during the environment ministry’s declaration of the reservation of the forest parks in a press briefing attended by partners, stakeholders, and NEA 

The four Indigenous Community Conserve Areas (ICCA) are located in the Central River Region and the marine protected area at Katong Hallahein.

He said the move establishes new protected areas which increases the national PA coverage in accordance with Nagoya Protocol and UNCBD.

“I hope they will provide more staff to look after these areas instead of relying on the communities because it is community-based conservation areas,” the activist said.

He said: “The big lesson to learn is our community Forest Programme is falling due to inadequate commitment from government and inadequate capacity on the side of the communities to protect the community forest.”

Declaring the reservation of forest parks, Enivronment Minister Rohey John Manjang said the Gambia is home to more than 75% species of mammals, 47 species of reptiles and 30 species of amphibians, making it a total of 152 species of wild animals. More than 70% of these species are listed (IUNC’s) red list of threatened species.

She reported that the Gambia is also endowed with rich avifauna estimated at a total of over 570 birds’ species, adding that in response to the International environmental obligation, the Government of the Gambia pledges to strengthen its commitment to CBD, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES) and the convention of Wetland of International Importance (RAMSAR).

She said in fulfillment of these commitments, a total of 23 protected areas have been established covering an area of more than 96 000 hectares between 1963 and 2020.

This includes approximately 8.06 of the intended 10% of the land area under protection, and biosphere reserve covering 196,750 ha of the Gambia’s land area which are all under formal protection.

She said the Government of the Gambia through UNEP has secured financial aid from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to implement GEF-6 Land/Seascape Planning and ecosystem restoration project.

Minister Manjang added that the development of the framework for the establishment of Kartung Hallahein marine protected area in West Coast Region and four conservative areas as the ICCA in CRR North, is a key milestone in achieving the objectives of the national efforts in the conservation of the remaining flora and fauna of the country.

In the past two years, Manjang said the Department of Parks and Wildlife collaborated with local communities and established four ICCA in Niani Sukuta, Niani Kayai, Jailani Bakadagi, and Jarumeh Koto swamp lands.

The Minister said following cabinet’s approval on August 23 supported by the president, the Attorney General Chambers would gazette it.

In conclusion, Minister Manjang declared Kartung Hallahein Marine Park, Nyanni Sukuta, Nyanni Kayai  Jailani  Bakadaji and Jarumeh koto  swamp land as protected with accordance with the provision on the Biodiversity and Wildlife Act 2003 , Part three , Section 14 , and the Establishment of Protected Areas.

However, the official names of these protected areas will be determined in the Regulation.