By Olimatou Coker
& Fatoumatta Fatty
The Department of Water Resources last Tuesday held a day long stakeholders’ forum to discuss massive challenges and opportunities of transboundary water resources management in The Gambia.
The forum brought together officials from various government departments including ministries and CSOs.
Held at the Baobab Hotel, the programme was funded by Unescos Multi-Sectoral Regional Office for West Africa and the Sahel in Dakar, with technical support from the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) Department of Geology.
The forum is a follow-up to a recommendation from a meeting held in November 2018, which tasked member states to conduct Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats on opportunities and challenges of transboundary water resources.
Addressing stakeholders at the forum, Lamin Jarjue, a representative of the national commission for Unesco, said the forum was designed to help identify existing gaps in The Gambia as far as the trans-boundary water management system is concerned.
“The forum will identify the challenges and opportunities. The Gambia National Commission for Unesco is collaborating with the government to make sure that the country does its part in fulfilling its mandate towards the sub-regional mandate of Unesco,” he stated.
Jarjue said at the end of the forum “The Gambia should be able to have a clear vision on how it is supposed to utilise its underground and transboundary water resources”.
He said the fact that The Gambia river basin cuts across countries like Senegal, Guinea Bissau, and Guinea Conakry means the country must have a better understanding of its transboundary resources.
“This will help the country to judiciously utilise its water resources without posing threat to human existence,” he added.
Also speaking at the forum, the principal hydrologist at the Department of Water Resources, Landing Bojang, said: “Most of the countries in the Sahel region have conducted their national workshops. This is why since last year we have been corresponding with Unesco to have this workshop. It is a big achievement that we have it today.
“This is why we bring together key stakeholders to brainstorm and put together the necessary data for the uniform template data analysis developed by all the countries,” he said.
He added: “We have input from the stakeholders and the most important goal for the workshop is try to identify the strengths and then the constraints and find solutions for transboundary water resources management and this entails both surface and underground water”.
Neneh Touray from the Department of Water Resources was among the speakers.