The Honourable Minister at the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Rohey John-Manjang said that the impacts of climate change cannot be efficiently managed without building on forest covers. She said this while officially presiding over the handing over ceremony of preliminary certificates to 10 committees to manage their forests under the community forest management program in Kerewan, North Bank Region.
She hailed the communities for taking up the bold step to manage their environment, especially the forest. ‘‘I want to thank these communities for taking up this difficult task to manage their forest,’’ she said.
Hon. John-Manjang emphasized the importance of people understanding the importance of having forests protected as it is one of the best solutions to the adverse effects of climate change. She called on other communities to support the initiative, stating that the government cannot do it all alone.
The community forest management initiative is spearheaded by the Department of Forestry in partnership with the Large-scale Ecosystem-based Adaptation Project to promote community forestry management in the country.
Community forestry management is one of the most effective and inclusive ways to protect, manage, preserve, and restore forests. It strengthens the collective rights of local communities, prevents deforestation and forest degradation, contributes to climate stability, fosters community, and protects the common goal, contributing to social, economic, and gender justice.
The Director of the Forestry Department, Mr. Momodou Lamin Jaiteh said awarding a preliminary certificate is the first phase of the community forestry management program which comes after the community expressed interest in the forest management initiative. The certificate contains actions and management plans for forest management which are to be implemented over the course of three years.
After 18 months, the community will be evaluated to check all the agreements are fulfilled, if yes, the community will proceed to the next phase which is to take complete ownership of the community forest.
Six communities in the Central River Region were also awarded the preliminary community forest management certificates at the regional office of the Department of Forestry in Janjanbueh.
In another engagement, Hon. John-Manjang and the team paid visits to the victims of forest fire in CRR and URR. The visit was meant to provide the delegation with first-hand information on the recent forest fires in the regions and a way forward on how to minimize such mishaps. Speaking to the victims in Kujew in CRR, Hon. John Manjang sympathized with the victims and assured them of the government’s continuous support to make sure such incidents are minimized in the future.
Hon. John-Manjang called on all stakeholders to come together to help these communities restore their forest cover as bush fire significantly hinders the efforts of climate change