Gambia’s Environment Minister has called for a more realistic global plan to end climate change. Lamin B Dibba was addressing the just concluded Conference of the Parties (COP-26) in Glasgow
“It’s important we shift the paradigm from ‘business as usual’ to a more realistic plan for the entire globe. If the richer countries don’t, what will happen? Yes, we will suffer, and the Gambia only emits 0.01% of greenhouse gases. But the consequence, the economic damage, the cost to society … you quantify this,” Dibba said.
He entreated richer countries to finally honour funding commitment made 12 years ago at the Copenhagen Climate Summit (COP-15) in 2009.
“Rich countries must hit their $100bn climate finance target in the last week of COP- 26 or it will be catastrophic for the poorest nations suffering the most from the climate crisis,” the Gambian environment minister warned.
He further noted that the world’s least-developed countries bear the biggest brunt of the impact of climate change even though their contribution to overall climate change is minimal.
The leaders of the wealthiest countries had committed to providing $100bn(£75bn) to finance the fight against climate change.
Poor countries were given about $80bn (£60bn) in climate finance in 2019, the latest year for which full data is available, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Although the small mainland country has been praised for its plans to tackle the climate crisis, Dibba said that without a hefty injection of climate finance and other support it would be difficult for the nation to respond properly.
The Gambia has over the years continued to suffer the impact of climate change. Its farmers have seen crop yields decrease due to irregular rainfall; its tourist industry is grappling with beach erosion; and many residents, particularly the poorest, face regular flooding and other natural disasters.
Dibba calls for greater investment in resilience and adaptation programmes to build the capacity of vulnerable communities to withstand extreme climate events.