By Isatou Jawara
The Gambia is bracing for a $30M climate change fund to help address its alarming sea level rise, the minister of Environment has revealed.
Lamin Dibba reminded stakeholders that The Gambia is among nations that are least responsible for climate change, but vulnerable to its impacts.
He was speaking at the opening ceremony of a consultative workshop designed to support the formulation of a Green Climate Fund Project proposal on enhancing resilience of The Gambia’s coastal stretch.
The UNDP supported and funded the drafting of the proposal through the GCF and the Eco System based Adaptation Project.
“The Government will get a proposed US$30 Million GCF Project on enhancing resilience economic infrastructure and social assets against sea level rise,” Minister Dibba told stakeholders at a local hotel in Senegambia.
He said this was not the first time The Gambia benefits from such projects.
“The country has also benefitted from various climate change projects such as coastal resilience projects, climate change early warning projects, community based and land management projects to name a few.”
He hailed the country for achieving ‘many’ milestones in the fight against climate variability.
“…The signing and ratification of the United Nations Framework and Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) submissions of its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) as well as the ratification of the Paris Agreement and the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.”
The Minister revealed that, as the global temperature continue to rise year on year, “we will all experience the devastation of extreme events exacerbated by climate change.”
He stated that the longer term impacts of climate change on communities and their livelihoods as well as increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events expose rural and urban communities to a wide range risks they are often “ill equipped” to handle.
He said: “These risks are associated with lose of livelihoods and homes and economic loss disadvantaged communities, the slum and coastal dwellers are particularly the most affected. About two thirds of our capital city Banjul is extremely vulnerable to sea level rise caused by climate change. The projections are clear on what will happen to The Gambia with regard to sustainable food security and community livelihoods if global temperatures continue to rise” he warned.
A UNDP rep at the event noted that The Gambia coastal zone is currently confronted with a range of creeping climate change risk and a decline in the functioning eco systems such as mangroves.
She observed: “The most important and visible impacts of climate change manifestations are the erosions of the beaches in the coastal areas like Kololi and Cape Point, which are hosting hotel infrastructure and tourism activities.
“The lowland rice cultivation areas situated in estuary of the River Gambia and making up 64% of all the crop land area are experiencing an increase frequency of induced salt water which has resulted to the destruction of rice fields and fish ponds making farming households vulnerable.