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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Gambia’s LTS needs over billion dollars to combat climate change

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By Olimatou Coker

Ebrima Jawara, Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and National Resources, who doubles as the National Coordinator for the LTS, has said that the Gambia’s long-term carbon neutral development strategies need over a billion dollars in funds to combat climate change.

DPS Jawara made these remarks recently in an interview with the press at a validation workshop of the LTS held at Ocean Bay hotel in Bakau, organized by the ministry of environment.

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In an effort to put the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement into practice, countries are invited to formulate and communicate “long-term, low greenhouse” (LT-LEDs), referred to as long-term strategies (LTS). These are visionary plans for achieving low-carbon, climate-resilient societies out to 2050.

He said they are all aware that the Gambia’s NDC2 is the only NDC that actually fully fulfils the Paris Agreement but that is contingent on financing and hence the cost of the LTS.

 “Now the current cost is at 1.3billoin US Dollars; that’s what we need to combat climate change in the Gambia and focus this money will go towards reforestation, improve vehicles, subsidise for gas to replace firewood and charcoal.”

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Jawara added that the 1.3 billion may seem to be a lot but the cost of the alternatives is even higher.

“We have seen the effects of floods, people are dying, livelihoods have been destroyed, people’s entire homes have been destroyed with their savings disappearing over night. With 1 flash flood you lost everything and you cannot put a price on that. So the 1.3 billion perhaps after the validation workshop toady we may even increase it to 5.5 billion or even 10 billion dollars because from now to 2050, that is going to be a long time. So how much do we really need to combat climate change?”

According to him, the Gambia only contributes about 0.01 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, and yet looks at the impact of climate change on the country.

“We hope with a document like LTS which was widely consolidated in preparation would be good enough to raise funds,” he said.

He said they are going to continue engaging the communities and give them funds to tackle some of the issues to move them away from cutting down trees.

He also added that the LTS is a framework that is to guide future endeavors on how best to approach them.

Aliue Njie, Permanent Secretary Ministry of  Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (MECCNAR) said The Gambia has demonstrated strong ambition and led the way in combatting climate change by submitting a second nationally determined (NDC2) in 2021 whose commitment was widely commended for being the only NDC that 1.5oC is compatible.

“Despite contributing less than 0.01% to global greenhouse gas emissions, The Gambia particularly  its historic capital city Banjul is identified as one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.”

According to PS Njie, the LTS and its subsequent revised version will guide the government of The Gambia in future climate commitment under the UNFCCC, including NDCs and National Communication.

Juldeh Ceesay, Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, said this strategic plan will form a component of the upcoming long-term national development framework vision 2050 whose timeframe is aligned with and takes into account the LTS in an effort to achieve low carbon and climate resilience societies in the country.

“The validation of this LTS calls for greater participation of all key stakeholders in order to gain the ownership which is being witnessed today by holding this interactive validation workshop. This is timely for supporting the global response to the threat of climate change and advancing the implementation of the protocols and the Paris Agreement,” DPS Ceesay lamented.

She added that in order to reach zero emission by 2050 needs the integration of the goals of carbon neutrality into economic and fiscal measures and calls for the participation of all stakeholders across the sectors and society. “There is no doubt that The Gambia is on the right path to address climate change with compassion commitment and creativity to come on the top.”

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