A three-day workshop on integration of freshwater bio-diversity in the development process through Africa organised by the Wetlands International, is currently underway at the Baobab Holiday Resort at Bijilo.
The workshop which gathered experts from The Gambia, Guinea Conakry and Senegal to analysis data relating to The Gambia River species and habitats, aimed at assessing the data extracted from the regional assessment for the Gambia River Basin Authority (OMVG) by freshwater bio-diversity experts.
Funded by the European Commission, the project will also enable water resource managers and environmental planners in Africa to integrate information on freshwater bio-diversity in the development process.
Speaking at the ceremony, Bubou Pateh Jallow, permanent secretary, Department of State for Forestry and the Environment who deputised for the SoS for Forestry and Environment said the workshop will create forum for partners to redouble their efforts in the regional ecological management and the creation of bio-diversity. Freshwater species and habitats management, Mr Jallow said would provide information that would be essential for Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
PS Jallow further stated that The Gambia government and the whole African sub-region are looking forward to further implementation of the project. According to him, priority issues will be taken into consideration by Wetlands International member states, which will serve as the key project. He told participants to be steadfast in their deliberations, as the resolutions at the end of the workshop will be useful for development.
Alpha Jallow, director of Wildlife Management said that The Gambia River Basin Authority is co-ordinated by Wetlands International with specific objective of ensuring integration and information on ecological bio-diversity for ‘water mammals. He noted that at the end of the workshop, measures would be drawn in dealing with water resources within the sub-region adding that, that will be vital for the policy makers of the wild life management to better carry out their works. " Knowing our bio-diversity status will enable us to effectively utilise it" he noted.
Mr Jallow then urge participants to exercise commitment in the services of the African sub-region.
For his part, Ibrahim Thiam, regional director of Wetlands International, Africa Programme, emphasised that the aim of the workshop is to ensure that the environmental planning for water resource development throughout Africa is based on the integration of reliable information on the status, distribution and ecological requirements of freshwater bio-diversity for priority taxonomic groups, such as fish, aquatic plants, water birds and crabs.
He then pointed out that plants are today faced with challenges that couple with the climate change and the absorption of carbon. "To respond to these challenges, member states of Wetlands International most come together and co-operate. Aware of all these challenges, Wetlands International has intended to enhance Africa’s capacity by training the policy makers" he said.
He then thanked the government of The Gambia for hosting the workshop and urged participants to work towards the realising the aims of the workshop.