Minister Jarju calls for sustainable use of resources

By: Sheikh AlkinkySanyang
The Hon. Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Water & Wildlife hasPa Ousman Jarju
said thatthe 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 in his
office marking the commemoration of 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.

The Environment Minister revealed that most of the world’s natural
resources such as water, air, coal, oil, natural gas, minerals, soil,
forest and timber, wetlands, coasts, etc, have been negatively
impacted due to human activities, noting that our forest cover is
being lost at a fast rate. He noted some indigenous species have extinct due to
the inability to adapt to the current situation of the environment;
land degradation, water and air pollution, loss of biodiversity and
climate change are all  environmental issues that are of great

Through decades of World Environment Day celebrations, which The
Gambia has been an active partner, Hon. Jarju said, hundreds of
thousands of people from countries all over the world and from all
sectors of society including the private sector, Non-Governmental
Organizations and UN agencies have participated in individual and
organized environmental actions. In 2014, he said , the day
received a total of 6437 pledges and over 3000 activities were
registered online, which tripled corresponding figures for the
previous two years.

This, he said is encouraging and has shown that people, governments,
stakeholders are becoming more proactive towards the environment. “I
urge you to be part of the World’s team of sustainable development.

Fellow Gambia and listeners,” he said, “We have our dreams, and all these
dreams are in this fragile planet ‘’EARTH” and if care is not taken,
the threats may go beyond human capacity and the impacts are expected
to be huge. It is therefore clear that we have been and still battling
with the impacts of unsustainable management of the environment such
as sea level rise, increase in temperature, decrease in rainfall,
decrease in ground water level and spontaneous flooding.”

In conclusion, the Environment Minister reiterated that it requires
collaboration and support from all of us as individuals, sectors and
businesses to ensure that we consume with care, so as to realize our
collective “seven billion dreams.” He added, “Therefore, I wish that every action
we take as individuals, sectors and businesses in the course of using
our natural resources, we will treat the environment with the utmost
care it deserves.”