By Omar Bah
The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change & Natural Resources Tuesday launched the Islamic Development Bank funded project on rural community adaptation to climate change resilience.
The IDB $278500 funded project theme: “strengthening rural community adaptation to climate change” will be implemented by the International Food Policy Research Institute through the assistance of the Ministry of Environment.
The technical assistant grant agreement with the IDB was signed by the ministry of finance on behalf of the Gambia government in 2016.
The project is expected to contribute significantly in mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
In his opening remarks, the PS Ministry of Environment Lamin Jawara said his ministry by virtue of being the policy institution responsible for climate change issues takes the lead in coordinating and facilitating the implementation of the project’s technical assistance.
He advised the consultants and the project staff of the ministry to show dedication and due diligence in implementing the project.PS Jawara said the greatest challenge the country is facing is prioritizing its adaptation efforts.
This, he said is because of capacity limitations especially at the policy and decision-making levels, “technical level to a certain extent, and at the local government and community levels.”
He said over the years much sensitization on climate change has been conducted at the technical level during the implementation of the climate change adaptation projects and also during the implementation and development of the strategic national documents.
“A lot of the communities at the local level are also aware of climate change based on their participation in the implementation of the climate change adaptation projects,” he said.
As the responsible policy institution, PS Jawara said the ministry of environment is aware that dealing with the impacts and threats of climate change requires a significant amount of scientific input to enable the country to adequately respond to the effects of climate change.
“During the implementation the international food policy research institute will conduct such scientific studies, provide evidence of impacts of climate change on rural communities and therefore enable the country identify those impacts and threats affecting rural communities and how to address them,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the lead consultant and research fellow of the environment and production technical division at the international food policy research institute, Timothy S. Thomas said climate change is an immense importance to the Gambia and any other country that has agriculture as significant contributor to its economy.
“Not only because of its role in GDP but also because of its important role to provide employment and food security for many households.”
He said part of the goals of the project is to develop ideas, plans and strategies that would help shape investment and policies that would help farmers in the future.
“There are number of good ways to minimize climate change, but lot of the methods and ideas that are present would take many years to implement because lot of them require research,” he said.