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“Sierra Leone Determined To Be Green”… President Bio

President Bio addressing the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio has stated that while it is not easy being green, his country was determined to be green. He made this statement while addressing the 26th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Glasgow, Scotland.

The President informed world leaders that Sierra Leone was highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, rapid biodiversity and tree cover losses, and the attendant threats to human habitat, health, food, and water security.  “We are doing the very best we can in the circumstances. We are fully committed to all international agreements and actions to develop a climate-resilient future. We have established a stand-alone Ministry of the Environment and recently reviewed and updated our Nationally Determined Contribution, National Climate Change Policy, and National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plans.

We have identified environmental pressure points and we are implementing coherent mitigation and adaption strategies”, he stated.  President Bio informed the gathering that Sierra Leone has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world: inland wetlands and forests across four main relief regions, about 15,000 plant species, the most diverse fish stocks along the west coast of Africa, and 761 species of mammals and birds. 

He went on to state that his government have enhanced the conservation and protection of natural habitats and ecosystems, improved meteorological services, integrated water resource management and community-based adaptation strategies in the agriculture sector, and promoted climate change risk management. 

“We are promoting alternative renewable energy in off-grid solar networks and stepping up tree planting to restore 960,000 hectares of depleted forests,” President Bio added.

He called for technical support to introduce or implement enabling regulatory and structural reforms. He stressed that his government was eager to work with partners to further ease the investment climate, co-create projects, and map out incentives for potential green and ESG investments. He pleaded for urgently needed investments in digital infrastructure and technology if Sierra Leone is to acquire better GIS data, improve marine conservation and management, promote the nature-based solution and just rural transitions to sustainable agriculture, introduce climate-smart agriculture and food systems that preserve our forests, and provide high-yield, improved seeds to farmers.

“We stand ready to invest in green energy sources with smaller environmental footprints. We have introduced some off-grid solar electrification to some towns but we need to expand those investments to other towns and make them even more affordable. Cheaper and affordable solar systems will expand energy access to more Sierra Leoneans.  We should also invest in affordable, competitively-priced, low-carbon energy sources for cooking and other domestic uses to avoid the indiscriminate felling of trees for firewood and charcoal”, he added. 

President Bio urged World leaders to invest in green urban planning, sustainable urban waste management, green mass-transit transportation systems, and stricter emissions testing and enforcement to reduce emission footprints.

The first gentleman of Sierra Leone lamented that Africa needed support from global climate financing streams, as the continent only has access to less than 5% of global climate financing.

“At this conference and beyond, Sierra Leone is determined to engage and explore all possibilities, ideas, and partnerships to achieve our collective global goals. It may not be easy being green but we, in Sierra Leone, are determined to be green”, he concluded.

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