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The Gambia’s experiences in the implementation of GEF programmesCountry paper for the GEF African Meeting of National Focal PointsFebruary 20 – 21, 2002Dakar, Senegal.
Prepared byKebba Bojang
Senior Programme Office, The National Environment Agency, %, Fitzgerald Street, Banjul,The Gambia.
 The Gambia’s experiences in the coordination of GEF programmes.Introduction and background.
The objective of this country paper is to discuss and share experiences on issues pertaining tocoordination and implementation of GEF activities in The Gambia with colleagues from otherparts of the continent. It is hoped that such regional collaboration in the sharing of experiencesgreatly improve the service delivery to the GEF clientele. The paper will attempt to follow (asmuch as possible) the format for the outline provided for the workshop.Having actively participated at the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio1994, The government of The Gambia has fully herself to the principles of SustainableDevelopment as embodied in Agenda 21. In the pursuit of sustainable development objectives,The Gambia signed and ratified the 3 Post-Rio conventions on the environment and proceeded toestablish The National Environment Agency (NEA) as the central coordinating institutionresponsible for all matters relating to the environment. In line with its functions as havingresponsibility for environmental matters, the NEA was also designated as the GEF OperationalFocal Point in The Gambia. The mandate of the Operational Focal Point is to serve as the centralbody for all GEF related activities in the country. The operational focal point also performs theimportant function of disseminating relevant information to stakeholders. The focal pointhowever executes most of its functions through a national committee known as the GEF NationalCommittee.The National Environment AgencyThe National Environment Agency was established in July 1993 as a semi-autonomous institutionunder The Office of The President and charged with the responsibility of coordinating all matters(nationally and internationally) relating to the environment. One of its main functions is tooversee the implementation of The Gambia Environmental Action Plan (GEAP), which is anaction plan to address The Gambia’s environmental problems. The GEAP, which identified themajor environmental issues affecting The Gambia, is operationalised through 10 programmeareas namely:- The Agriculture and Natural Resources Management programme (ANR).- The Environmental Education programme.- The Environmental Impact Assessment programme (EIA).- The Environmental Information Systems programme.- The Environmental Legislation programme.- The Ozone programme.- The Coastal and Marine Resources Management programme.- The Environmental Quality programme.- The Contingency Planning and Disaster Management programme.The 10 programme areas execute their programme functions through established Working groups,task forces and committees, which bring together all the relevant key players within the sectorconcerned. One such committee within this setup is The national GEF Committee.
The National GEF Committee.The National GEF Committee was created in 1998 under the ANR programme. Although thiscommittee is located within the ANR programme, given its area of operation, it coverage is crosscutting and affects other programme areas as well. The National GEF Committee working underthe auspices of the operational focal point, serves as a clearinghouse mechanism for GEF projectproposals. Its membership include the focal points for the 3 environment conventions (CBD,UNFCCC and UNCCD), Agriculture, UNDP, a representative from the NGO community, privatesector and the Research establishment. Depending on the nature of the project proposal beingreviewed, the committee may co-opt any other member as may be deemed necessary. TheCommittee’s other role include making information on the GEF available to relevant stakeholdersand the general public through sensitization meetings and workshops.
Theme 1National coordination concerning the preparation/implementation of GEF projects.
The National GEF Committee plays an important role in the preparation and implementation of GEF projects in The Gambia. The Operational Focal Point, as part of its mandate, makesinformation about the GEF available to stakeholders. Such information, which is shared amongstakeholders, is meant to promote the GEF strategic objectives and foster a greater understandingon the role of the GEF in addressing problems, which are of a global nature. Furthermore, suchinformation is also meant to enhance the general understanding of the GEF procedures andguidelines in order to facilitate effective development of projects for the GEF consideration. Theentity seeking for GEF funding takes the lead in the development of projects for GEFconsideration. This of course is done in close consultation with the National GEF Committee,which ensures that the proposals conform to GEF procedures and take into consideration TheGambia’s development priorities.
(a) The main actors in national coordination concerning the development/implementation of GEF projects.
The GEF constituency in The Gambia include government technical departments in agriculture,forestry, fisheries, wildlife, fisheries, water resources, trade and the environment, NGOs involvedin rural development work, Community-Based Organisations engaged in natural resourcesmanagement and the private sector. As the Operational focal point, the task of coordinating thedevelopment of GEF projects as well as their implementation lies with this body. However, as hasbeen earlier outlined earlier in this paper, the Operational Focal Point executes its functionsmainly through the GEF National Committee.
(b) Processes of national coordination followed.
The coordination mechanism put in place for national coordination of GEF activities is quiteparticipatory and involves the active participation of the relevant stakeholders. The National GEFCommittee by design, is kept small in order for it to be efficient and active in its functions. EachGEF-funded project has its own Project Steering Committee (PSC) whose main responsibility isto ensure that the project is on track on terms of meeting its targets and sticking to its objectives.The PAC reports directly to the National GEF Committee and in that way, the latter iscontinuously kept informed of progress.

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