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US$21M ecosystem adaptation project launched

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By Maimuna Sey-Jawo

The Secretary General and Head of Civil Services, Habib Saikou Drammeh, on Tuesday officially launched the US$21M Large Scale Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) Project at a local hotel in Senegambia.
The government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resource in partnership with the United Nation Environment Programm (UNEP) secured Funded from the Green Climatic Fund (GCF) to implement the 6 year project
The 6-year Large Scale Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) Project aims to build the climate-resilience of rural Gambian communities and facilitate the development of a sustainable natural resource-based (green) economy by implementing large-scale EBAs within and adjacent to Agricultural lands, community-managed forest reserves and wildlife conservation areas.

The launch was attended by the secretary general, cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries, National Assembly Members, Regional Governors, among other senior government officials.
The project is targeting 3 regions in the country namely; Upper River, North Bank, and Central River regions with a view to improving rural landscapes and sustainable management of Gambia natural resource in commercial manner.

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In his statement, the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, Habib Saikou Drammeh, described the project as very important, adding that it is the largest single natural resource development project The Gambia ever benefitted from.
“What is more disturbing is the fact that human induced causes such as massive illegal logging, encroachments by human settle expansions and unsustainable agricultural practices, to name a few, are ultimately responsible for these damages,” Drammeh stated.
He said this approach is all about harmonizing the conservation of natural resources and their commercial exploitation to boost their market values, thus ensuring tangible benefits to the communities engaged in such enterprises.

He thanked the donors for funding the project and challenged the ministry of environment to take proper care of the project with a view to ensuring that the project meets its target and ensure its sustainability.
The minister of environment Lamin B Dibba, recalled that following the series of climatic negotiations convened by the conference of parties, a final agreement was reached in 2015 at the Paris meeting to mobilize a special fund (Green Climate fund GCF) for climatic financing both for adaptation and mitigation, thus the EBA project.

Minister Dibba added that the EBA project will restore 3, 000 hectares of abandoned and marginal agricultural lands and it will also benefit up to 11,550 Gambian households, with the potential to indirectly reach a further 46,200 households in the four local government areas of which 50% will be women.
The director of country program at Green Climate Fund, Pa Ousman Jarju, said the project will restore degraded forests and Agricultural land-scapes with climate-resilient plant species that provide goods for consumption and sale.

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Jarju, who was minister of environment few years ago, hailed government’s commitment and collaboration with UNEP in ensuring that the project becomes reality, while expressing confidence that the project will achieve its objectives.
The project, he added, will benefit 11, 000 people, half of whom will be women, and the project will also provide benefit at the national level as it will improve health, national food security and it will also support the livelihood of communities living along the rural areas in The Gambia.
The DPS Finance, UNEP representative and the UN Country representative both spoke at the event.

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