Gowamer, in collaboration with the Fisheries Department, UNDP and EU recently held a Development Forum at the Ocean Bay Hotel.
The aim of the forum was to reduce poverty and strengthen food security.
Speaking at the ceremony, the UN Resident coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ade Mamanyane Lekoetje, said the development forum have comes at a critical moment when the world has taken a renewed commitment to end poverty by 2030 and pursue a sustainable future.
The governance and management policies of marine and coastal resources are an essential component of sustainable development and Agenda 2030, she said.
According to her, the oceans and seas are essential for both global and national well-being, with global ocean economic activity estimated to be between US$ 3 trillion and US$ 6 trillion, contributing to the world economy in many important ways.
She highlighted that the Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals highlights the importance of conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
The coastal regions of The Gambia provide valuable natural resources and support a rich variety of biological diversity as well as the tourism industry which contributes an estimated 12% to GDP, she added.
She said the fisheries sector is of extreme social and economic benefit to the country; as a source of employment and livelihood and food security, not just for the inhabitants of the fishing and coastal communities but for the country as a whole.
The effective management and control of marine and coastal resources plays a significant role in reducing poverty and leaving no one behind, she stated.
The Gowamer project, co-funded by the EU and UNDP was established to contribute in reducing poverty in the sub-region, enhance food security, improve governance of resources and promote the adoption of best practices for the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in the West African ecoregion.
This is in line with national priorities to strengthen regional and sub-regional cooperation in fish stock assessment and involve communities in the management of coastal and marine resources through publicity, information and education.
According to her, Gambia is finalizing its next national development plan (NDP) 2018-2021 which would be the first in a series of national development plans to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals into the national development agenda.
The Gowamer project has been supporting this priority throughout its 5-year implementation working programme with the Government ofThe Gambia as well as relevant partners and stakeholders to strengthen monitoring and participatory surveillance of the territorial waters of The Gambia, fight the menace of illegal, unregulated and unreported(IUU) fishing and contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of the country’s fisheries resources.
The local communities and other stakeholders have a fundamental role to play as they best know their interests and resources.
Collaborative efforts from all stakeholders, legislators, journalists, local authorities and development partners would lead to greater management and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in The Gambia.