The Gambia - Adoption of Ecosystem Approach for Integrated Implementation of Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) at National & Regional Levels Project (Gambia MSP Project)
The Project was mainly active at intervention sites in North Bank Region and West Coast Region. It was coordinated by Mr. Alieu S. Nyang Research & Development Manager NEA.
It is well noted that the Gambia government through the National Environment Agency (NEA) is engage in significant environmental policy formulation to avert the effects climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss. The government of the Gambia is also engage in these activities in response to its obligation to the people of the Gambia and to the multilateral environmental agreements ratified by its National Assembly. The Gambia is a party to all three Rio Conventions; Biodiversity, Climate Change and Desertification Conventions. The Gambia ratified all the three RIO Conventions; the Biodiversity and Climate Change Conventions were ratified as early as 10th June 1994 and the Land Degradation Convention on the 11th June 1996 respectively.
The Gambia taking this commitment upon itself is a thorough manifestation of its commitment to environment management and development in the Gambia. Enacting the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) of 1994, it took upon itself to “ensure the integration of environmental considerations, in all development strategies and related activities and to conserve and promote the rational use of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations”. It also pledged “to protect and improve the health and quality of life of all Gambians through sound environmental management, and to preserve and restore the equilibrium of ecological processes, in accordance with the Banjul Declaration of 18th February 1977. It further affirmed to increase public environmental awareness and promote effective public participation and community involvement in all essential environmental management processes in the Gambia. In the same Act, it commits itself to promote international co-operation in the protection of the environment by implementing its international commitments. It is worthy to note that the guardian of all these commitments is the National Environment Agency (NEA).
With this background the Gambia MSP Project namely; The Gambia - Adoption of the Ecosystem Approach for Integrated Implementation of Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) at National & Regional Levels Project was conceptualized. It is a four-year program funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which started in January 2009 and is expected to end in December 2012. The MSP project was conceived as a response to the capacity building needs identified in the National Needs Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA) Project’s strategy & action plan 2004 and to our obligations of these three Rio Conventions;
1. United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD);
2. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and
3. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
May we recall that the NCSA project was undertaken between 2002 and 2004 in order to identify the thematic and cross-cutting capacity constraints affecting the implementation of the three Rio Conventions. It was also conceived to identify opportunities for addressing the capacity building constraints that we face in our institutions. An assessment program was conducted by means of a multi-stakeholder consultative process, including consultations within the five provincial regions of the Gambia. Through its extensive consultations, the NCSA process systematically identified the root causes behind the lack of achievements within each of the Rio Conventions. In response to this assessment the Gambia - Adoption of the Ecosystem Approach for Integrated Implementation of Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) at National & Regional Levels Project was conceived.
May we also remind ourselves that the NCSA project outputs, identified specific thematic areas on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Land Degradation that need to be addressed. The assessment done and its analysis identified several cross-cutting capacity constraints that impeded the thorough implementation of the three Rio conventions in the Gambia, which includes
- Poor harmonization of sectoral policies and coordination;
- Poorly integrated land use planning;
- Inadequately developed environmental information systems; and
- Low levels of understanding of the ecosystems approach to resource management
To address these identified constraints several projects and programs were launched in the Gambia in this past two years, but the MSP Project is the project that specifically responds to the needs assessment. It has its goal as to enhance capacities, especially in environmental management in the Gambia, with the specific objective to strengthen existing national institutional framework for integrated management of global environmental priorities into national community and regional plans using the application of ecosystem approach
The MSP project has both a national and regional dimension. Nationally, it is based in the NEA where it establishes a MEA unit for coordination of MEAs reporting. Regionally, it IS based in North Bank and Western Regions, where activities will be implemented through the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment (ANRE) subcommittee established at the regions by the Local Government Act 2002. Relative to the above implementing strategy, project outcome includes the following:
1. An established MEA committee to co-ordinate effective implementation of the MEAs
2. A MEA support Unit for the National Focal Point base at the NEA
3. A revised community action plans prepared by the Regions
4. A training program and practical use of the ecosystem approach at the Regional level
The Gambia MSP project offers a lot, its impact is immeasurable, and it would enhance our sustainable usage of our natural resources and the planning of our ecological resource.