Speaking at the ceremony, Hon Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Water and Wildlife, revealed that the project’s main objective was to establish a functional network of meteorological and hydrological monitoring stations to help understand weather and climate change overtime and provide timely information to avert any potential disaster.
“It will also develop and disseminate weather and climate information and warnings to the government, private sector and the general public to enable early preparation against disasters such as floods and other severe weather and agricultural stresses. This project will establish a functional network of fourteen (14) meteorological and hydrological monitoring stations and associated infrastructure across the entire country to better understand climatic conditions and changes at short, mid-term and long-term ranges,” he said.
He added: “This project will enhance the country’s capacity to gather and analyse climate and environmental information, thus enhancing the climate monitoring and collection of information, strengthening the skills and human resources to operate an adequately early warning systems, and enhancing the effectiveness of the communication of climate information and early warning messages to end users.”
On his part, Mr Ousman Sowe the permanent secretary, Ministry of Environment Climate Change and Wildlife, said the development of the early warning system will help in anticipating sudden changes resulting from climate change and their impacts on society, adding that it would, “in no small measure”, help policy and decision makers as well as contribute to the resilience of vulnerable societies and communities in the country.
“Today, climate change has increased concern over possible large and rapid changes in the physical climate systems, therefore evaluating climate changes and impacts in terms of their potential magnitude and the likelihood they will occur, will help policy makers and communities make informed decisions about how to prepare for or adapt to them. Abrupt changes in the physical climate system are not the only cause for concern, however. Even changes that occur, gradually, they may cross a threshold and trigger sudden and permanent ecological or socio-economic impacts,” he added.
Izumi Morota, the UNDP deputy resident representative, stated that climate change poses a serious challenge to key national economic sectors such as agriculture, energy, forestry, tourism and infrastructural development. “The profound and in most cases irreversible impacts on the continent’s economic, social and environmental systems is becoming increasingly apparent from the frequency of and intensity in the occurrence of natural imbalances and climate related disasters on the continent, including recurrent droughts, floods, erratic rainfall and other similar extreme weather events that threaten human health and infrastructure, food security, and biological diversity among others, all of which are key to human survival and economic development,” Morota said.
“This project will invest in strengthening current systems to lead to a fully operational EWS for The Gambia at the institutional level, which can in turn serve local communities particularly in remote and vulnerable regions. Consequently, it is imperative to enhance national capabilities to generate and use climate information in planning and management of climate induced hazard risks, develop core skills and competencies, acquire relevant technologies, improve early warning dissemination and advisory communications, as well as promote the uptake of climate information at the local level.”
Director Department of Water Resources, Mr Lamin Mai Touray, the GEF focal point representative, Mrs Ndey Sireng Bakurin and UNEP representative, Ms Nina Raasakka also graced the occasion and applauded the government for taking such a “noble” initiative towards climate change.]]>