By Aisha Tamba
The National Environment Agency in partnership with Wetland International Africa, yesterday organised a two-day stakeholder meeting to review and finalise the trans-boundary management plan between The Gambia and her neighbour.
The meeting was also designed to help complete all the steps that have been undertaken so far to allow partner institutions from Senegal and The Gambia to validate the regional management plan for its upcoming implementation in the current and future projects and programmes.
The executive director of the NEA, Mr Momodou Jama Suwareh, said the impact of climate change has already been observed on biodiversity.
“These impacts are causing shift in the distribution of species, as well as reductions in population sizes, and even extinctions of local populations.”
“This means that protected areas that have been created to protect certain species or ecosystem types may not do so in the futur,.” he said.
He added: “Protected areas are also a very useful tools in mitigating climate change, notably by optimisation, carbon sequestration and storage in particular by preventing deforestation and forest degradation which constitute a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and by supporting ecosystem based adaptation for the benefit of people.”
“It is therefore crucial to gain a better understanding of the vulnerability of protected areas in the face of climate change and suitability of the existing protected area network, in order to design appreciate management and adaptation action,” he said.
The Wetland International programme manager, Papa Mawade Wade, said the process started “a long time ago” to prepare and finalise the management plan as well as update the national parks to formally start the implementation the project.
The project is focused on five West African countries; Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Togo with the objective of developing strategies and tools to increase the resilience of PAs to climate change, and building capacity in the region to implement these new approaches.