A UN Resident Coordinator’s Blog about Improving Lives in The Gambia

Date:

A UN Resident Coordinator's Blog about Improving Lives in The Gambia

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Sunday, March 05, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Reconciliation and TruthThe creation of the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC), supported by the UN and other partners, was a significant development.

  • The transition has occurred over five years, and we have assisted the government in laying the groundwork for most of the reforms, programmes, and initiatives.

  • Enhancing people’s lives in addition to backing the reforms, we have taken a leading role in advancing the economy, empowering women, and combating climate change.

  • The Gambia is severely affected by the climate catastrophe when it comes to flooding; last year was the worst since 1938.

  • I have no doubt that we have improved lives in The Gambia.

It had only been a short while since the dictatorship [Yahya Jammeh’s two-decade tenure] ended when my mandate began in 2018. The UN had allotted funds for peacebuilding, and the new Government was already implementing multiple changes at once, including examining the constitution, the judiciary, and the security sector.

Reconciliation and Truth

The creation of the Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Commission (TRRC), supported by the UN and other partners, was a significant development.

The Commission, which has been crucial for the nation, was eagerly embraced by the populace. Expectations from the victims, the general public, and various partners were high. To prevent outside influence, the process needed to be led by the Gambian people. We provided the know-how to run it and assisted in setting it up.

Because they are directing the process and this is the first time they have encountered a case like this, the Ministry of Justice needs to be strengthened. Once more, we are offering our experience to develop a plan that will result in adopting the Commission’s recommendations.

We are participating in the process’ communications because we want to ensure that communities, local governments, and civil society know their responsibilities and can set realistic expectations. We need to ensure everyone knows these reforms won’t take place overnight; they’ll take many years.

The time has come to implement the reforms. The government has thus far published a white paper that largely accepts all of the recommendations. Although the COVID-19 pandemic hampered the pace, they remain committed to doing more.

Establishing a solid basis

It is essential to have a government that leads by example. If not, you can devise a plan for where the nation should go, but you won’t succeed.

The government’s decision to establish a Department for Strategic Planning and Delivery inside the Presidency has our support. We have instructed the workers and demonstrated their international best practises.

We argued for the creation of a new ministry because there was no Minister for Gender when we arrived, and as a result, we are now witnessing advancements in women’s empowerment.

After twenty years of a dictatorship that violated human rights, we backed the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission, which is now operational and, in many respects, a crucial organisation that will oversee the TRRC’s implementation.

The Gambia needs to succeed in creating solid institutions going the future, which is essential for all nations. Weak institutions make it impossible to carry out plans and squander money.

I believe that this nation is progressing in the right way. The donor community is expanding, and we currently have many partners. The transition has taken place over five years, and we have assisted the government in laying the groundwork for most of the reforms, programmes, and initiatives.

The UN Capital Development Fund supports the fruit and vegetable business owned by brothers Alhadje and Abdoulie Faal in Kanuma, The Gambia.

Enhancing people’s lives

In addition to backing the reforms, we have taken a leading role in advancing the economy, empowering women, and combating climate change.

Regarding the economy, where tourism plays a significant role, UN agencies have prioritised training for children and vulnerable groups like returning migrants and providing them with start-up funds for their businesses. Returning migrants frequently feel like a burden to their families, but many have succeeded with our assistance.

Regrettably, this country has a lot of violence against women, including female genital mutilation. We’ve constructed centres where women can get treated and receive assistance because sometimes they don’t want to talk about the violence they experience. Instead, we’ve set up hotlines they may call.

The Gambia is severely affected by the climate catastrophe when it comes to flooding; last year was the worst since 1938. It might not have been on the same scale as the floods in Pakistan, but it had a significant effect for a small nation with a tiny population.

In addition to giving clean drinking water and food to individuals who were left without homes due to the flooding, our organisations are also assisting the populace in adapting and getting better organised in advance of the next storm.

I do not doubt that we have improved lives in The Gambia. Although we’re still in the early stages, I think we’ve laid the groundwork for development. Over the next five years, we’ll see an even more significant impact as the nation develops cohesively throughout all regions, leaving no one behind.

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