By Neneh Galleh Barry
Minister of Environment Hon. Lamin Dibba said forest degradation and deforestation in West Africa is undoubtedly the root causes of forest ecosystem depletion, the highest deforestation rate per hectare in the world.
He made these remarks as he presides over the opening of a two day validation forum of the Gambia National Forest Investment Plan held at Baobab Resort hotel.
Dibba called on all to mobilizes and involve everyone in order to implement urgent and coherent measures to restore and maintain the forest ecosystem.
The environment minister said in 2013, the ministers in charge of forestry and wildlife of ECOWAS member states adopted in Nigeria the convergence plan for the sustainable management and utilization of the forest ecosystem in West Africa.
Dibba said ministers strongly believe that the implementation of this plan would enhance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the ECOWAS region.
In the spirit of partnership, during this 2019 second quarter, ECOWAS planned to support a first batch of four countries TOGO, Guinea, Liberia and Gambia to organize their national consultation of the technical and financial partners of their national forest investment plans.
The forest cover also provides environmental services such as reduction of excessive amounts of soil erosion, the protection of the river banks and water bodies, habitat for wildlife, eco-tourism and a sink for carbon dioxide.
However, he said the level of forest degradation is on the increase due to ongoing human pressure on forest resources in the sub-region.
H.E Excellent Madam Vabah Gayeflor, delivered a statement on behalf of the Commission and said the forum aims to support the country in advocating and mobilizing resources for the effective implementation of its national investment plan.
The Ambassador said in West Africa forest contribute significantly to the national economy of some countries with high timber export potential and timber manufacturing that feeds the private sector for timber processing for furniture and housing construction.
The Ambassador said it is important to note that ECOWAS Commission adopted in December 2003, the West Africa forest Convergence Plan. The goal of the Forest convergence plan is to federate efforts to achieve concerted and sustainable management of West African forest ecosystem in order to contribute to the achievement of sustainable Forests Rescources management and sustainable Development goals in our region.
By Neneh Galleh Barry