By Madiba Singhateh
The National Environment Agency, on Monday 19th December 2022, commenced a two day stakeholder’s dialogue in addressing the environmental challenges through the Global Environment Facility Funding GEF. The GEF National Dialogue is a means of resource provision and support to assist countries in their decision on how to optimise the use of resources available through the facility.
The dialogue aims at better understanding the GEF-8 strategies and policies and taking decisions on participation in various impact programs. Over the years, the Gambia has benefitted from various GEF Trust Fund in a total of thirty two projects.
In his welcome remarks, the Director of National Environment Agency, Dawda Badjie, who doubles as the focal person for the Secretariat, said the Global Environment Facility fund is a window of support together with other international funding partners, and was established in 1991 to forge international cooperation and finance actions to address critical threats towards the global environment.
He said the Fund is the designated financing mechanism for the conventions on bio-diversity, climate change, land degradation and persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
“GEF provides grants and concessional funds to cover incremental cost when development projects pursue global environment objectives and benefits,” Dr. Badjie said. That over the years, the Gambia has benefitted from various GEF cycles since 1994 and the total funding received has been received for 32 projects (14 National ,12 regional and 6 national / regional).
For the latest GEF funding cycle (GEF 8), the total STAR allocation for the Gambia is 12.078M USD, with specific allocation of 2.0M to climate change; 4.0M to biodiversity, and 6.078M to land degradation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of the Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Rohey John Manjang, said the Gambia is a member of GEF benefiting countries and has received funding through the various GEF 8 grants amounting to 12 .08 million US Dollars, to address environmental challenges in the areas of climate change, land degradation and bio-diversity loss. She said the National Dialogue is a means of providing resource support and to assist countries in deciding how to optimise the use of GEF 8 allocations.
“This we believe can only be achieved through the engagement of all relevant national stakeholders including ministries, technical departments, NGOs, CBOs, Civil Society and International development partners in the planning process, to identify national priorities for GEF support as well as develop ideas for new projects,” she said.
She added that the importance of the dialogue cannot be over-emphasized considering the increasing rate of environmental degradation, coupled with the adverse impacts of climate change and loss of bio-diversity, that is threatening food security and health of the population.
Minister Rohey John Manjang concluded by expressing gratitude to GEF and its trustee, for supporting various projects and programs in the Gambia and to implementing / agencies, for their technical guidance.