The Gambia is signatory to various regional and international agreements and processes which are related to, or affect biodiversity. In addition to the CBD, others include the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Water Fowl Habitat (Ramsar).
The Gambia signed the CBD in 1992 and ratified it in 1994 making it the 63rd Party. The objectives of the CBD include the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources. To fulfil one of the key obligations for Parties under Article 6 of the Convention, Gambia prepared the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) in 1999 which is essentially the main national policy and basis for biodiversity conservation and for the implementation of the Convention at the national level.
Regional agreements and processes to which the country is signatory include the Convention for the Cooperation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region (Abidjan Convention), and the PRCM1 process under both of which the country receives assistance to build its capacity in Protected Area management including national parks and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Legislation (Laws and Regulations)
The environmental policy measures are supported by various biodiversity-related sectoral laws; for example, the National Environment Management Act, (NEMA) 1994 ensures the integration of environmental considerations in all development strategies and related activities; the Fisheries Act, 2007 and its attendant Regulations (2008) have provisions covering efficient management of the artisanal and industrial fisheries as well as the development of aquaculture; the Biodiversity and Wildlife Act, 2000 under the purview of the DPWM is currently being revised to further enhance the implementation of the NBSAP. The Forest Act, 1998 and Regulations involve the communities in forest management and protection by legally requiring them to participate in fire prevention and participative in forest management activities.
Government allocation of Financial Resources to DPWM
The DPWM is appropriated financial resources from the Ministry of Finance to cover expenses related to salaries, wages and other personnel expenditure, as well as goods and services, and indeed all other aspects relating to the operations of the Department. 7 These approvals are done on a yearly basis, allocations paid out monthly or quarterly to the department.
However, the rate and amount of disbursement from the Ministry of Finance, and budget execution by DPWM is usually dependent upon the revenue inflows of government in the course of the year. In this regard financial receipts by DPWM can be unpredictable as amounts paid out could sometimes be less than budgeted, and consequently expenses are lower than planned. This therefore calls for the need for the DPWM to seek other sources of revenue generation and to even retain a portion of the revenue generated to plough back into parks management to supplement the subvention from the government.