By Edward Francis Dalliah
Two Gambians have been appointed to two of the African Union’s (AU) Advisory Groups on Disaster Risk Reduction. The two Gambians appointed are Modou Lamin Sowe commonly known as Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe and Almami Dampha back in August 2023. Both of them have been appointed for a period of two years.
Climate change, waste management and air pollution are major problems affecting the African Continent which threatens the welfare of Africans across the continent exposed to these risks. According to Accelerating Impact of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa the continent “is the — most impacted by the effects of climate change even though it contributes less than 4% of the world’s total emissions. The growing recognition of substantial impact and risk to the African continent from climate change made it clear there was a need for the development of a robust and coordinated policy response”.
In an effort to address the issue, the AU Heads of State and Government adopted the African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2023) which lays “the foundation for joint climate action at the continental level. It also provides a common framework around which African countries and Africans can pursue their collective climate change and resilient development agenda, develop partnerships, and rally support for its implementation”.
Mr Almami Dampha is a forestry and land management expert with significant working experience in the field. Our research on Mr Dampha showed a number of publications and advocacy statements on climate change. One article he authored is “Management of Forest Fires Through the Involvement of Local Communities: The Gambia”.
In 2013 Mr Dampha was quoted in an AU press release headlined “Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative”. In this press release, Mr Dampha is quoted saying “Regional activities aim at harnessing the collective capacities of countries and communities. They are beyond the political mandate and technical or financial capability of one country and thus allow the pooling of various kinds of resources to address common issues such as, pastoralism; water resource management; illegal trade in forest and wild products; and bushfire management”.
Mr Dampha was appointed to the Africa Science and Technology Advisory Group on Disaster Risk Reduction (AfSTAG-DDR) together with 14 other Africans from Ghana, Senegal, Kenya and others.
Another Gambian appointed is the well-known Modou Lamin Sowe who is now a Board Member of the Africa Youth Advisory Board on Disaster Risk Reduction (AYAB-DRR). Through his creative writings and climate change advocacy, he now starts another journey investing his knowledge in helping The Gambia, West Africa and the African continent to adapt and mitigate the challenges of Climate Change.
The scholar who is a founding member of the Young Writers Association of The Gambia previously won an award back in 2021–2022. Mr Sowe was appointed alongside 14 other Africans from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and others.
The AYAB-DRR Board is an institution that works on disaster risk reduction with the vision and mission to engage African youths to broaden their understanding and strengthen disaster risk governance and management in Africa.