Experts’ push for sea risk defense management into development plans
Environmental experts recently convened a daylong consultative meeting with relevant stakeholders to see what best they can harness in mainstreaming sea and river defense risk management into all development plans of The Gambia at Kololi.
The theme of the meeting: ‘Mainstreaming of Sea and River Defense Risk Management into Development Plans,’ is being pursued under the UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) for Least Developed Countries Fund (LDC-F)-a project for enhancing resilience of vulnerable coastal areas and communities to climate change.
The project is aimed at improving coastal defense and building the capacity of coastal communities for social and economic development, through a new national programme of sea and river defense risk management. “With climate change and its challenges, this component of our development agenda has to be put in place,” said Momodou Jaama Suware, NEA’s director of Inter-Sectoral Services Network.
He described the project as one of the most valuable projects, because it’s coming to put in place something, which he said, is a prerequisite for having proper coastal environment in the country.
NEA’s director of Inter-Sectoral Services Network informed that NEA and UNDP attach great importance to this project, as it seeks to address flood and erosion concerns within the coastal areas that will help manage the impact of climate change.
Suware described the sea and river defense risk management, as a very vital component, while pointing out that the said project equally identified five climate-resilient alternative income-generating livelihood activities for fifteen (15) communities that have extensive salt intrusion problems into their production fields.
The Project Coordinator, Dodou Trawalley outlined the importance of the project, noting that the meeting with stakeholders was meant to synergise and take stock of information that could be vital in the implementation of the project. He said that the projects seek to increase The Gambia`s resilience to climate change, by improving coastal defenses and enhancing adaption methods of coastal communities.
The Project Coordinator informed stakeholders that the project would as well strengthen the capacity of institutions that have stake in coastal zone management and equally identify on trial basis, a number of communities that could be assisted on alternative livelihood in areas of fisheries, agriculture and other income generating activities. “A number of coastal communities are affected with salt intrusion problems into their productive lands that are either attributed to climate change, or problems that have a bearing on it,” he said.
Rural livelihoods in the coastal zone, Trawalley said, will be enhanced, while the demonstration of good practices and the transfer of successful coastal adaptation technologies and the introduction of economic diversification in coastal areas and communities will equally be implemented. The third component of the project, he underlined, is sea defense against erosion in a number of places in the coastal zones.
The Project Coordinator, however, noted that the sea and river defense risk management involves a lot of activities, including hard structures that can be established as sea and river defense systems, while soft measures like mangrove restoration, land-use change planning, among others, as all important in facing the challenges of climate.
In his presentation, the consultant Johnnathan, W. McCue, who is a specialist on sea and river defense risk management programmes, said it’s important for The Gambia to equally manage her coastal areas in an effort to reduce the risks of climate change.