Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - A regional forum of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Sahel West Africa aimed at keeping stakeholders abreast with its strategies, policies and procedures opened in Banjul on Thursday.
It is also to encourage coordination of efforts towards global environmental protection.
This regional dialogue provides stakeholders with the opportunity to interact with the staff from GEF Secretariat and agencies in the region to discuss priority issues and share lessons, experiences and best practices.
Gambia's Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Lamin Dibba, said the continent of Africa suffers the most from environmental challenges ranging from climate change impacts, land degradation, loss of biodiversity and associated socio-economic and livelihood losses.
“In our West Africa sub-region, the extent of climate change impacts, loss of biodiversity and land degradation have impacted negatively on the lives and livelihood of vulnerable communities, whose capacity to adapt to those impacts are hampered by poverty,” he said.
“Our sub-region's biodiversity is at risk of depletion due to continuous habitat destruction and increased urbanization and cultivation. Furthermore, the sub-region is faced with challenges of waste management issues, sanitation and eventually public health related problems,” Minister Dibba said.
He noted that the decline in annual average rainfall and high consumption rates of forest resources continue to negatively impact the lives and livelihood of vulnerable countries.
Dodou Trawalley, the Executive Director of the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the national GEF operational focal point, disclosed that GEF funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements.
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