Sunday, November 3, 2013

‘Information is Crucial to Sustainable Development’

Participants (Photo: Mamadou Edrisa Njie)
Information is crucial to sustainable development and this (BAJ-Gambia awareness) project aims to promote sustainable development through the provision of accurate, timely and cost-effective information to shareholders, says Kebba Bojang, national country coordinator, Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

He was speaking on Thursday 31 October during the official launch of $25,000 Biodiversity Action Journalists-Gambia (BAJ-Gambia) project on “public awareness [creation] on environmental protection” held at Tango conference hall at Fajara.

The project is intended to create awareness creation on environmental protection and conservation techniques, create a platform for information sharing on matters relating to the environment, and enhance public awareness on environmental protection and mitigation strategies. 

Bojang told the inception forum which attracted members of BAJ-Gambia, donors, and invited stakeholders that “the project will contribute towards that realization” and look forward to working closely with BAJ-Gambia and all its partners for the successful implementation of the project.

The GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) embodies the very essence of sustainable development by “thinking globally and acting locally”, he noted. 

GEF is also mean to provide financial and technical support to projects that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people’s well-being and livelihoods, while the SGP demonstrate that community action can maintain the fine balance between human needs and environmental imperatives.

 Abdou Rahman Sallah, BAJ-Gambia national coordinator, said the importance of protecting and conserving of the country’s remaining biological and natural recourse cannot be over emphasized. 

He said the Gambia’s biodiversity resource is dwindling unprecedentedly and as citizens “we must act collectively” to protect the resources for present and future generations.

Lamin Jawara, deputy permanent secretary Ministry of Environment, Parks and Wildlife, noted that this initiative [the BAJ project] is in line with “our current national biodiversity action plan and the Banjul Declaration of 1977.”

“Protected areas are the mainstay of biodiversity conservation, while also contributing to people’s livelihoods, particularly at the local level,” he said. 

Jawara said protected areas are at the core of efforts towards conserving nature and the services they provide including food, clean water supply, medicines and protection from the impacts of natural disasters.
BAJ-Gambia is an environmental and natural resources youth-led organization founded in December 2010 with technical support from department of parks and wildlife management. 

The formation of BAJ-Gambia came out from a study tour to Senegal in early 2010, through Niumi-Saloum transboundary Biosphere project that was jointly implemented by Senegal and The Gambia.
Its membership is made up of environmental and natural resource-focused journalists from print and electronic (including social media), and youth activists.  

Written by Amadou Bah of The Voice newspaper

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