By Aisha Tamba
The National Environment Management Council (NEMC) held the first meeting since its inception in 1994 at the Sir DK Jawara International Conference Centre to discuss the current environmental issue and implement new policies.
NEMC mandates to undertake enforcement, compliance, review, monitoring of environmental impacts assessments, research, facilitate public participation in environmental decision-making, raise environmental awareness and collect and disseminate environmental information.
Speaking at the event, the chairperson of the council Dr Isatou Touray, said The Gambia is susceptible to the vagaries of climate change, like droughts and flooding, which cause much damage to coastal ecosystems, settlements and livestock.
She highlighted that the major issues affecting the environment sector are land degradation, coastal erosion, loss of forest cover, biodiversity loss, ineffective waste and pesticides management.
She added that deforestation through illegal logging, bushfires, sand mining, illegal settlements and other uncontrolled activities are the main contributing factors in a situation already made precarious by climate change.
She furthered that the impact of climate change has emerged as one of the most significant external factors hindering the performance of the growth-driving sector, especially agriculture, tourism and industry, which have the greatest impact on the economy.
She asserted that the government will undertake major efforts to access climate change financing through the use of a comprehensive resources mobilisation strategy that will lead to the development of the viable and bankable project proposals and also build capacities.
Section (6) of the National Environment Management Act list the membership of the National Environment Management Council as follows:
The president who shall be the chairperson and who may designate the vice president as chairperson, the minister responsible for natural resources, the minister responsible for agriculture, the minister responsible for local government and lands, the minister responsible health and social welfare, the minister responsible for finance and economic affairs, the minister responsible for trade, industry and employment,