The UN Environment Programme is helping the government of Gambia to adapt to climate change with a major project, titled Large-scale Ecosystem-based Adaptation in The Gambia: developing a climate- resilient, natural resource-based economy. Funded by the Green Climate Fund, the project aims to restore 12,788 hectares of degraded forests, savanna, and mangroves, and 3,000 hectares of farmland to increase the resilience of rural villages to storm surges and floods – a practice known as ‘ecosystem-based adaptation.’
The consequences of climate change in the Gambia are stark. One-third of its total land area is below 10 meters above sea level, and 10-20% of its land is seasonably or diurnally flooded, which makes the Gambian population of 2.3 million extremely vulnerable to climate change and rising seas.
The project is helping the establishment of 176 natural resource-based businesses with a cumulative gross cash return of USD $4.5 million (in November 2021). Up to 500 people are expected be directly employed by the enterprises and they will provide almost USD $700,000 in annual contributions to the National Forest Fund (NFF). These businesses will stimulate economic activities for poor communities while creating investments in ecosystem services and easing the transition of the country towards a green economy.
The project is being implemented across four regions of Gambia: Lower River Region; Upper River Region; Central River Region North; and Central River Region South.