By Olimatou Coker
The World Food Programme (WFP), and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources (MECCNAR), last Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Rural Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience project – RICAR – at a tune of 10 million dollars.
The project is a five-year grant to The Gambia.
The goal is to enhance the adaptive capacity of the rural population in The Gambia through support to climate-resilient and diversified livelihood.
The project will run from March 2022 to February 2027.
Speaking, Yasuhiro Tsumura, WFP representative and county director, said The Gambia is severely hit by the negative impacts of climate change and that it is constantly affected by climate shocks such as droughts, windstorms, floods, and wildfire. Tsumura also said that many farmlands are threatened by further salt intrusion or salinisation.
“This is part of our support to the national emergency preparedness and response. We also work closely with National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), and The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS), to provide emergency relief to flood and windstorm victims. These life-saving assistances are extremely important but are not the sustainable solution,” Yasuhiro said.
Highlighting the effects of climate variability, he said it limits natural and productive resources leading to community-level conflicts and migration.
“We want to stop this vicious cycle. We need to strengthen the resilience of the communities and population to better cope with these shocks,” Mr Tsumura stressed.
The project has three components which are: the strengthening of the resilience of communities and households to improving infrastructures against climate shocks, and increasing the productive capacities despite these shocks; support the mechanism to transfer climate-related risks through weather insurance and; develop a knowledge management system and strengthen the evidence base to clearly show the impact of resilience building and climate adaptation support.
Momodou Mbye Jabang, the permanent secretary at MECCNAR, said the project will focus on concrete climate change adaptation activities to address the climate risks and vulnerabilities identified.
The project aims to develop knowledge and awareness to underpin evidence-based resilience building and adaptation activities, particularly for women and youth, and enhance capacity for systematic sub-national level adaptation planning, implement concrete resilience building and adaptation measures on the project target areas and development incentives, targeting women and youth, and risk transfer mechanisms, targeting smallholder farmers, for sustainable resilience building and adaptive capacity.