Sustainable Development – A Bottom Up Approach 

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By Gibril Saine, Twitter: @gibbysaine

The concept of sustainable development can be interpreted in many different ways. At its core is an approach to development that looks to balance different, and often competing, needs against an awareness of the environmental, social and economic limitations we face as a society.

Sustainable development, simply means development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Living within our environmental limits is one of the central principles of sustainable development. One implication of not doing so is climate change.

In The Gambia, a country reeling from the damages caused by irresponsible leadership resulting in major damages to the body politic’, toxic environment pollution and crisis within banking, a bottom-up approach to development is the surest way to remedial solutions.

Let it be known the focus of sustainable development is far broader than just the environment. It’s also about ensuring a strong, healthy and just society. This means meeting the diverse needs of all people in existing and future communities, promoting personal wellbeing, social cohesion and inclusion, and creating equal opportunity. That calls for courage and vison, and the reason why one calls on parliament to scrutinise and debate the National Development Plan (NDP) identify gaps, where so.

A sustainable development approach can bring many benefits for The Gambia, saving the taxpayer millions each year. It is a case of implementing smart policies and finding better ways of doing things, both for the future and the present. I call on the authorities to regulate tree cutting causing damage to the rainforest. The Gambia, alone, cannot satisfy the world with its demand for logs. The forest must be allowed to grow green and breathe.

Sustainable development approach makes for better decisions on the issues that affect all of our lives. We should all realise the way we approach development affects everyone. The impacts of government decisions and that of our own individually have very real consequences. Take the most populous city, Serekunda, for example, poor city planning and lack of investment in local communities has led to a reduction in the quality of life for residents

By designing smart cities with desirable leisure parks, high streets, brand new roads + pavement, LED solar street lights, with free wifi internet access for schools and colleges, whilst incorporating primary health plans for local communities, we can enhance the quality of life of all Gambians.

Today, poor town and city planning continue to add significant stress to land allocation for residential, commercial and farming purposes. The country needs to redesign and rebuild its cities, Serekunda, Brikama, Gunjur, Basse, especially Banjul. A potential for desirable sprawling cities to house the population on a par with Kigali, Dakar, Nairobi or ‘Dar es Salaam’ – and to designate the countryside an agricultural zone.

Government has to prioritise agriculture, foremost, and to ensure a sustainable food supply chain ensuring The Gambia produces enough rice and vegetables all year round. Please, let Gambia be that farmland to supply and feed Africa and Europe with its fruits and sunny delights.

To be fair, every Gambian has a part to play in sustainable development, it requires each one of us. Small actions, taken collectively, can add up to real change. However, government role to achieve sustainability in The Gambia. If one may appeal to the administration to look through the UN Sustainable development Goals, and to its own development blueprint, and deliver big on promises.

Author Gibril Saine (Left)

A few – To do-list

  • The weekly press briefs from the presidency was received to widespread acclaim; so was the announcement to Cabinet meetings.
  • But, please, what is happening within agriculture? Why the great silence? Will someone explain what good, if any, is in motion towards mechanised agriculture, land reforms, rice cultivation, peanut farming, horticulture and such irrigation best practices? Tell us more!
  • On the issue of ‘National Security’, not impressed, by CDS, asking for more money on camera. On what? Weapons? The Gambia should return to the basics – reorganise, restructure & retrain its military, which must not exceed two-thousand personnel. Let police reform be the focus strategize a new path to reclaim & restore Gambia’s streets to safety. It requires stricter gun laws. And who is the interior minister? With the country’s fishery products subject to daily theft costing injury in lost tax revenue, the navy must upend and mobilise defend Gambian waters. But they need training first, and smart weaponized boats to be effective; collaborating with regional maritime posts. Can the army come off barracks, start working on bridges, road construction, help clear parks and forests and some other damn fine jobs that secure and strengthen the nation in various sustainable turns sic.
  • The new constitution under draft – ready yet? Will it be put through a referendum on the day as nationwide local government elections? Helps save time and money to the tax payer. Let parliament stay up all night debate points if needs be. Work THRU a weekend too where needed to meet this time frame. Since everyone in government is talking about national interest, show your sincerity!
  • President Barrow & his Cabinet should look to replace the ‘Dalasi’ bank notes for quality polymer technology that cannot be counterfeit. The Gambian currency needs to reclaim its value & status.
  • On a lighter note – Parliament should install a gym; so is the presidency. Simply because despite politicking, we care for our leaders wishing them to succeed & live long. A little run & sweat helps for a healthy living. Hence, true democracy come in the form of a ‘Social Contract’, we, the tax paying public, are happy to fork out that maintenance, as long as the actions of politicians reflect that of the ‘National Interest’.
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