22 Nov 2017 Story Climate change

Ecosystems project to help 50,000 people in The Gambia

A hook-up between the Green Climate Fund and UN Environment is set to build resilience to climate change and improve livelihoods in the West African nation.

Climate change is exacerbating the effects of poverty in The Gambia, which is one of the poorest countries in Africa.

Large-scale “ecosystem-based adaptation” is necessary to build the climate resilience of rural Gambian communities, whose livelihoods are threatened by the impacts of climate change. Ecosystems-based adaptation provides nature-based solutions that help people and communities survive and thrive in the face of variations in climate.

A ground-breaking new project will restore agricultural landscapes and degraded ecosystems – including forests, mangroves and savannahs – using climate-resilient tree and shrub species across an area of at least 10,000 hectares.

The Gambian Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Forestry, Water, and Wildlife is executing the project; UN Environment as a Green Climate Fund Accredited Entity is supporting it; and the Green Climate Fund is the main funder.

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River Gambia ©: Dorothy Voorhees
 

The six-year project will be implemented in four of The Gambia’s seven regions, and aims is to make over 57,000 people more resilient to the negative effects of climate change. Of these people 11,550 will benefit directly, and 46,200 indirectly.

The project will improve health, food and water security, and it will support the livelihoods of people and communities living near the river. All of these outcomes are in line with Sustainable Development Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities.

The project also involves establishing natural resource-based businesses, generating cash returns of at least $75 million over 20 years, and channeling $11.3 million over 20 years to the National Forest Fund in taxes and licensing fees. It will strengthen capacity and policies to implement ecosystem-based adaptation systems.

The aim is to protect the environment and facilitate the development of a sustainable, natural resource-based economy.

“The plan envisages integrating ecosystems-based adaptation into planning at national, district and village levels,” says UN Environment adaptation expert Jessica Troni.

The project will also adopt a target of gender-equitable benefits that promotes the economic empowerment and increased decision-making of women.

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River Gambia ©: Udo Schmidt

About the Green Climate Fund

The Green Climate Fund supports the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change. As part of UN Climate Change’s financial mechanism, it seeks to promote a shift to low-emission and climate-resilient development.

The Green Climate Fund recently transferred the first tranche of climate funds to improve ecosystems-based adaptation in The Gambia. The first tranche of $6 million marks the start of the Fund’s disbursements to the above project.  

The Green Climate Fund pays particular attention to the needs of societies that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, in particular Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, and African states.

“Our innovation is to use public investment to stimulate private finance, unlocking the power of climate-friendly investment for low emission, climate resilient development,” says the Green Climate Fund website.

For further information: Jessica Troni: Jessica.Troni[at]unep.org