Climate Change Adaptation not mitigation evident in Africa.
by Femi Peters TAV
During the opening ceremony of the workshop on Community Based Adaptation to climate change held in Gambia which was funded by The Action Aid in partnership with Global Unification. The Hon Minister of Forestry and the environment represented by the Director General of Forestry at the National Stakeholders Workshop on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change, spoke on Agriculture and Climate Change: ensuring food security in a changing climate.
He later reiterated his appreciation to Global unification, the Gambia for organizing this workshop and Action Aid the Gambia for sponsoring. He further elaborated on the fact that climate change undermines development plans in all sectors of the economy; an example is the millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly those that address poverty eradication and gender issues. Saying that ”some of the most dangerous consequences of climate change are higher temperatures, changing landscape, wildlife at risk, rising sea levels, increased risk of drought, fire and floods, more heat related illness and disease and economic loss due to poor harvest and loss of crops “he added.
The Gambia being a low lying country is not immune to threats of climate change and its adverse effects have already been felt, making reference to the recent floods, and coastal erosions. Also taking cognizant of swift response of government, led he presidents in addressing the effects of recent floods, through the donation of ten million Dalasis to the victims and their relocation to a new layout at no cost. As among the least developed country (LCD), the importance of community adaptation plans and strategies to mitigate and adapt to effects of climate change cannot be over emphasized. The inclusion of local communities, who have knowledge of their local conditions and coping mechanisms to mitigate and adapt has long been recognized by government and its partners.
Creations of the National Environment Agency and the National Disaster Management Agency by government buttress the fact that government recognizes the importance of local participation in addressing environment and climate change issues.
Concluding his speech, he made further highlighted the fact that the ministry have numerous projects geared towards improving the livelihood of local communities, who have been engaged as partners and are given equal footing in the decision making processes. And also at international levels the Gambia input is felt as the Chair of the least developed countries at the level of the United Nations convention on climate change the Gambia.
Also speaking at the workshop, Madam Fatou Gaye, Senior Climate Change Negotiator at the UNFCCC, where is clearly stated that the issue of Climate Change in Africa and Gambia in particular is that of Adaptation and not mitigation because African produces less than 1% of the total Green House Gases emitted in the World and should not be talking about mitigation, mitigation practises should be limited to developed and industrialized countries who emit these green house gases.
Other Presenters at the workshop included Lamin Ceesay of AYCC, Hateb Camara National Coordinator of Market Analysis Development on Forest Products and Fisheries. Alpha Jallow from the Department of Water resources, Casey Donahue of Peace Corp and Saikou Njei of ENRM.
The workshop was aimed at producing a draft document which would serve as a working document towards the community based adaptation in the Gambia