By Makutu Manneh
James F.P. Gomez, the Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources said experts have predicted that a rise in sea levels to one meter, will sink close to 10 percent of the country’s landmass including some hotels and infrastructures in Banjul.
Gomez made these remarks at the eighteenth World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) congress in Geneva, Switzerland, which began on Monday June 3rd 2019. The event gathered representatives of Governments from across the globe to discuss relevant topics such as Global Multi-Hazard Alert Systems (GMAS), Multi-Hazard Early Warnings Systems (MHEWS), Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS) and others.
WMO is an organization that provides world leadership in expertise and international cooperation on weather, climate, hydrology and water resources and related environmental issues. The activities and interventions of the organization contribute to the safety and well-being of people throughout the world, and to the economic benefits nations.
“The combined effect of sea-level rise and changes in upstream river discharge, erosion of coastal embankments and changes to natural sediment dynamics poses a serious threat to the natural resource base and livelihood opportunities of coastal and riverine communities,’’ he disclosed at the gathering; adding that the Gambia is faced with numerous capacity challenges to overcome the situation and of the frequency and intensity of its dangers. “This is further worsened by a clash of interest over resources, weakened social cohesion, and inadequate response by the Gambian populace to environmental issues,” he said.
The Minister further said that for the Gambia to effectively deal with weather and climate change issues, there should be an accelerated financial, capacity building and technological support, which he said is urgently needed to enhance mitigation and adaptation efforts.
“My wish is for the Gambia to become weather ready, climate smart and water wise,” he told the gathering; that this is necessary to support the national and international agenda on sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
He said his Ministry through the Department of Water Resources, will continue to provide the best possible weather, climate and hydrology, marine and environmental services to protect life and property, and support decision making processes for the country.