By: Kebba AF Touray
The Ministry of the Environment and its line departments in collaboration with various stakeholders, have started a two -day validation workshop on the Gambia’s National Forest Plan, at a local hotel in Bijilo.
The ECOWAS funded forum aims to support the country’s resource mobilization and advocacy for the effective implementation of its national forest investment plan.
Madam Vabah Gayflor on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission, expressed gratitude to the government of the Gambia for accepting to host the workshop. She said the workshop aims to support the country’s resource mobilization and advocating for the effective implementation of the country’s national forest investment plan; that this is a decisive and critical period in the member states’ efforts for creating an enabling environment for the sustainable management of forests and wildlife in the sub-region; that West Africa’s forest contribute significantly to the national economies of members states with high timber export potential and manufacturing, which feeds the private sector with processed furniture and construction material.
“The rates of forest degradation are accelerating in the face of climate change. This is affecting the region in various ways, as evidence abound in weak cooperation and management between states in shared trans-boundary forest resources”; that the ECOWAS Commission adopted in December 2003, the West Africa Forest Convergence Plan, with the objective to federate efforts to achieve concerted and sustainable management of West African forest ecosystem, in order to contribute to the achievement of sustainable forests resource management and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in the region.
“As part of the implementation of the West Africa Forest Convergence Plan from 2016 to 2017, the ECOWAS Commission supported all member states to develop and validate their National Forest Investment programs. Thirteen out of fifteen National Forest Investment Plans (NFIPs) were developed with the financial and technical support of FAO,” she asserted.
During the year 2017, twelve out of the NFIP were validated by national stakeholders with financial and technical support from ECOWAS and FAO; that the present national consultation of partners and stakeholders of NFIP of the Gambia, is to support the country in resource mobilization.
The Minister of Environment Lamin Dibba, expressed appreciation to be associated with the validation; that when validated, NFIP will strengthen the country’s capacity in resource mobilization and advocacy for the smooth implementation of its national forest investment plan.