September 3rd 2020
Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources
Lamin B. Dibba
The distinguish Minister of the Environment of JAPAN
Honourable KOIZUMI Shinjiro,
The distinguish Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC
MS. Patricia ESPINOSA
Distinguished Honourable Ministers and Participants of the online platform
Her Excellency the Gambia ambassador to Brussels, Ms Teneba Jaiteh
It is my singular honour and gratitude to join the ministerial meeting to unveil the online platform on Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19.
As you may be aware, The Gambia is the smallest country on the continent of Africa with a population of 2 million depending on an economy that largely depends on rain-fed agriculture and Tourism. Therefore, it is apparent that any climate or travel disruption will inevitably have a huge negative impact on the economy with devastating consequences on our GDP output.
In addition to the climate change and its attendant impacts; inadequate rainfalls and poor harvest in 2019/2020 raining season which is exacerbated by the global Covid 19 Pandemic thus increasing the vulnerability of our communities. This has drastically delayed most of our efforts geared towards national development and building resilience against the adverse impacts of climate change as enshrined in our national development plan and the climate change policy.
However, we are currently reviewing our NDC to reflect the new realities and aligned to the Paris Agreement, one of the most ambitious NDCs among member states, the long term strategy (LTS) which is anchored on the Climate policy targeting zero net carbon emission by 2050.
With this vision of reducing GHG emission by 44% by 2025 and 45%by 2030, the energy policy of the Gambia is focused on renewable energy (Clean Energy). As result we are implementing several solar projects: The world Bank supported 20mw solar project, 10mw NAMA facility solar project, one thousand schools and over one hundred health facilities to be connected to solar for lighting and cooling funded by the EU and the sub-regional hydropower project. These projects will reduce our dependence of fossil fuel more than 50% (Green economy).
It’s a known fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously reduced economic activities worldwide and my country in particular, as the hotel industry and businesses were closed for public safety. The overall, economy is forecasted to shrink significantly from 2020 to 2021 as a result of reduced national revenues, making it more urgent for international support and collaboration to implement planed programmes and projects for 2020 and beyond.
Meanwhile the Gambia has developed strategies to soften the impact of the COVID 19 on the economy and society in general with some relief packages to the most vulnerable.
The Gambia strongly welcomed the online platform on Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from COVID-19 initiative and I would like to sincerely thank the Government of Japan for this laudable initiative. There is no doubt the online platform will contribute significantly to stepping up collaboration for international cooperation and development
On this note, I thank you all