By Olimatou Coker
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently held an inception workshop for stakeholders on the ‘climate resilience fishery initiative for livestock improvement in The Gambia (PROREFISH) Project.
The forum held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center announced the operationalisation of the project and raise awareness on its objectives and outcomes.
The six-year project to be co-executed by FAO, the ministries of agriculture and fisheries is financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
It is envisaged to conserve and protect fisheries resources and their habitats considering the impacts of climate change through sustainable mitigation and adaptation measures thereby enhancing climate resilience of fishing communities.
Dr Mustapha Ceesay, FAO assistant country representative said the project will help address impacts of climate change and enhance resilience especially for vulnerable grass roots communities.
“The uncertainty of climate change hazards will not spare food systems and the natural resources sector dependent economies. But the Gambia is committed to safeguarding the socio-economic importance of livelihoods that depend on the fisheries and aquaculture sector,” he said.
Fanta Bojang-Samateh, the permanent secretary at the ministry of fisheries, said fisheries contribute about 12 percent to the country’s GDP and provides 300,000 jobs. PS Samateh said the fisheries sector has the potential to make sustainable contribution to the socio-economic development of country.
“The fisheries sector significantly contribute to economic generation, food security and nutrition especially in rural areas. It also creates opportunities for foreign exchange earnings,” she added.
Deputising the UN resident coordinator, Abdoulie Bojang said fisheries and aquaculture provide food for billions of people around the world and play an important role in the local economy of coastal communities in many countries.
He said marine and aquatic ecosystems are under stress – from climate change, overfishing and other unsustainable fishing practices and pollution from various other human activities.
“At a time when food insecurity is a growing concern, ensuring the sustainable use of the oceans resources is vital. Yet, even as we speak, the consumption of fish is growing at twice the rate of global population growth, an alarming reality that is not adequately reflected in our policies and priorities on food and nutrition security. So, to address this, we must consider transitioning to more sustainable and environmentally friendly policies and practices,” he advised.