By Olimatou Coker
In an effort to put the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement into practice, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Natural Resources (MECCNAR) in conjunction with the Amerian International University West Africa (AIUWA) with support from the LTS National Coordinator and Pakau Consultancy has on Friday conducted a 2-day validation workshop on academic programmes designed for environmental studies and climate change, as part of capacity building activities during the implementation of LTS.
These are visionary plans for achieving low-carbon, climate-resilient societies.
It is believed that in February 2022, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the AIUWA and MECCNAR, the ministry of finance, the International Institute for Environment and Development, and the 2050 pathways platform, where AIUWA was appointed as the legacy partner in the long-term implementation of the LTS, primarily running point in capacity building activities.
The two-day forum was meant to develop three sets of curricula for a full BSc degree in climate change and the environmental science module for first-year students to take on climate change and environmental science, and a short-term course for civil servants, members of the private sectors and community-based organizations.
Speaking at the validation, Ebrima Jawara, deputy permanent secretary of finance, who also doubles as the LTS national coordinator, said they are confident that at the end of the 2-day workshop, a set of fit-for-purpose curricula would be finalized, ready to be rolled out by AIUWA and indeed any accredited institution of higher learning in The Gambia. These would complement capacity-building programs already being run by the University of The Gambia and other distinguished institutions, ensuring that the implementation of the LTS becomes a reality.
DPS Jawara added that the output of this workshop would be a key component in the implementation activity of The Gambia’s long-term climate strategy (LTS) to 2050.
“This workshop has provided an opportunity for researchers, policymakers, and others concerned with serious business of climate change, to share ideas and insights on how to create holistic fit-for-purpose curricula in the field of climate change and environmental science.”
He said graduates from these programs will be the next generation of front-liners, tasked with dealing with the emerging menace of climate change, particularly during the implementation of the Gambia’s LTS.
DPS Jawara also said this will be the first of its kind in The Gambia when it is approved and implemented.
Prof Dr. Makie Taal, the vice-chancellor of American International University West Africa, said The Gambia is fortunate to have a ministry dedicated to issues of climate change. “It is important to build in-country capacity on climate change.”
Momodou Wuri Jallow, the adviser to MECCNAR, underscored the need to have climate change taught at the university level, adding this is because climate change has become a household name in development.
Dinesh Shukla, chancellor, AIUWA, said climate change affects everybody in the world, but most especially the poor.
“Climate change will affect not only people’s health but countries as well. if we do not plan, climate change will affect everybody globally.”
Mr. Shukla equally commended the government of the Gambia for taking progressive steps in strengthening the capacity and operation of the ministry of environment.