The Hon. Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Water & Wildlife has said the wellbeing of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend upon the sustainable management of the planet’s natural resources, and yet evidence is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide.
Hon. Pa OusmanJarju made these statements on the eve of the day ahead of the commemoration of the World Environment Day that is annually celebrated on 5th June. He noted that many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, occasioned by high population growth and economic development. By 2050 he said, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption.
The environment Minister therefore preached that there is need to consume with care and sustainably. “Consuming with care, means living within planetary boundaries to ensure a healthy future where our dreams can be realized. Human prosperity need not cost the earth. Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur is not a necessary by-product of economic growth”. Hon. Jarju pointed out.
The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘’ Seven Billion Dreams, One Planet. Consume with Care,’’ as the day has been identified in the Environment Calendar as World Environment Day. He added that the day is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years, he continued, it has grown to be a broad and global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries including The Gambia. The Gambia which is no exception will continue to celebrate this day with the main objective of fostering attitudinal change towards safeguarding the environment, he assured.
The Gambia as a nation, we are fully aware of the future threats that are likely to result from unsustainable use of our environment, and our environment, which is key and an influential medium for the activities of all living creatures, needs to be safeguarded without compromise, Minister Jarju posited.
Furthermore, he said the Government of the Gambia, under the visionary leadership of Sheikh Prof. Alhagie Dr. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh, has shown great commitment towards the environment and will not relent in this crusade. This has led to the development of the Gambia Environment Action Plan (GEAP), the implementation of which is coordinated by the National Environment Agency. The GEAP, he said gives high consideration to natural resources management which aimed at assisting and encouraging producers to adopt improved land and natural resource management practices.
The day also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet. “The day is an opportunity for everyone to realize the responsibility to care for the Earth and to become agents of change. Let this day be oriented with actions as every action counts.
“You will agree with me that our natural resources are of great importance to our lives. However, due to our activities, we are degrading our natural resource capital at an alarming rate. Indeed, we are now at a critical stage in our national development as we forge ahead to implement a programme of sustainable growth aimed at improving the basic living standards of the majority of the population while protecting the environment. In this process we must take into account the need to conserve and promote the rational use of the nation’s natural resources. To do this we need to continue to improve our capacities to manage the environment, use alternative resources and better resource management plans,” He disclosed.