Deputy Executive Director
Senior staff, Regional Coordinators and All Staff
The press, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Let me begin by welcoming you all to this critically important Strategic Planning Retreat of the Management and Staff of the National Disaster Management Agency, where we review our performance over the past year in meeting the goals of our Institutional Strategic Plan (ISP), and lay out our plans for this year… I must admit that this meeting should have come earlier in the year to enable us to kick start the focused implementation of our plans much earlier. However, this was rendered impossible by resource and scheduling challenges.
It is indeed with excitement that I deliver these opening remarks. I am excited because I believe that for some of us, what we will discuss at this retreat, the plans that we will make and the commitments thereof, will leave us on the threshold of spurring this important institution to greater effectiveness in the eyes of the general public, our stakeholders and even ourselves. I am thrilled because when we sit down to plan we are, in fact, establishing and reaffirming a destination of where we want this institution to be and what we must do to get there. I am excited because when we establish a destination, then take action by making choices to move towards that destination, the possibility for success is limitless and arrival at that destination is inevitable.
This Retreat, which is the first of its kind in the history of the NDMA has come on the heels of tremendous achievements by the NDMA and it is prudent that we begin on a high note by highlighting some of these achievements.
Already it is self evident that The Gambia under the leadership of H: E President Adama Barrow has adopted a people centered approach to Disaster Risk Reduction and Management. This has made provision for other stakeholders especially NGOs and civil society organizations at national and community levels to contribute effectively to disaster management in the Gambia as enshrine in the Sandai framework 2015 -2030 and as encapsulated in the National Development Plan (NDP) (2018-2021).
To this end, the NDMA has championed the implementation of the ARC Program since 2014 and is currently implementing a complimentary project- the Africa Disaster Risk Financing Project funded by the AfDB. The Identification and training of key focal points in various Government Ministries to accelerate the implementation and reporting of the Sendai framework was an important achievement.
An important outcome in the past year is the UNESCO – India Government funded activities on Floods mapping with which we hope to achieve reliable and accurate data on floods.
The Bin Caliph Foundation responded positively to alleviating the plight of the Kuntaur Disaster Affected Communities by Constructing Flood resistant Dykes and 23 dwelling units. An information center is being operationalized thanks to the UNEP/ GoTG funded project.
As at now the NDMA with partners just concluded, GIS mapping and begun preparing an investment plan for a Coastal resilient project.
As part of the reform process I am happy to inform you that the Finance and Administrative Manual (FAM) has passed and the salaries of staff have been reviewed and applied appropriately in commensurate with time and service.
The strength of the agency has also double during the period, this is to bridge the capacity gap of the Agency. The last three years has seen an increase in the number of the Agency staff with Graduate and undergraduate programs while, that is to celebrate I take note that the structures at the decentralized level are becoming dysfunctional. We should therefore propose solutions to remedy the situation as well as reform our methods of program management, Planning and Implementation. Already, Management has taken a bold step to address the later by setting up a resources and program management unit.
The achievements despite limited resources could not have come without the dedication, commitment and hard work of the Management and Staff of the Agency. I therefore wish to seize this opportunity to applaud our collectives for a job well done. I am indeed very proud of the management and staff of this Agency, your dedication to duty, cooperation and willingness to work under pressure, with tight datelines has indeed brought us this far.
Let me also use this moment, to thank the following partners for their tireless efforts in supporting our drive for a safer and risk-free Gambia. UNEP, Bin Caliph Foundation, World Bank, ECOWAS, India Government& UNESCO, AfDB, WFP, ARC. Special thanks also goes to the Office of the Vice President for the leadership and encouragement.
1 will like to encourage everyone at this retreat to participate fully. We must never get tired of improving on ourselves and our performance; we must never be shy of telling ourselves the truth. The all-inclusive policy of this management is for a purpose: to give every staff an opportunity of exposure and chance to showcase and harness their skills and talents; to build a critical mass of transformed staff that will be a positive influence on the NDMA:
On behalf of the Disaster Governing Council and on my own behalf I wish to declare this two day retreat open.
Thank you for your kind attention