Ms Fatou Ndeye Gaye said there is evidence that climate change is affecting biodiversity with negative consequences for human beings.
“Biodiversity makes an important contribution to both climate change mitigation and adaptation through the ecosystem it supports,” she said.
Minister Fatou Ndeye Gaye made these remarks at the opening ceremony of a three-day national workshop on Protected Area Resilience to Climate Change (PARCC) West Africa, officially known as Evolution of Protected Area Systems with regards to Climate Change in West Africa Region.
She added: “There is an overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is mainly human-induced, forcing global warming to increase, while species and their habitats are on the decrease with chances for ecosystems to adapt, diminished naturally.
“Consequently, conserving and sustainably managing biodiversity is crucial to addressing climate change; that the rapidly changing climate and accelerating biodiversity losses are risks to human security.
"These include major changes in the food chain upon which we depend, water sources receding or disappearing, medicine and other resources we rely on may be harder to obtain as the flora and fauna we derive them from may reduce or disappear."
Minister Gaye however, believes that proper management of biodiversity could reduce the impacts of climate change.
“The government of The Gambia recognises that environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources create cycles of poverty, poor health, and loss of wildlife and generally retarded development which need full national commitment to address.”
Minister Gaye said the PARCC-West Africa is a full-size Global Environment Facility (GEF) project, focusing on issues of climate change and protected areas being implemented by the National Environment Agency (NEA), as the designated national liaison institution for the project on behalf of GEF and World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC).
The expected outcome of the workshop was for participants to understand climate model results, disseminate species vulnerability results in their institutions and to relate vulnerability species with either seasonal or climate projections.