July 20, 2020
By Mohamed Massaquoi
Chief Minister, Professor David Francis, has said that the New Direction administration of President Julius Maada Bio has taken enormous strides in protecting the environment, adding that Sierra Leone is the third most vulnerable country to climate change, which was the more reason the president established the environment ministry.
Professor Frances made the statement at a consultative workshop on the amendment of environment related Acts and review of the national environment policy, 1994, at Hotel Cabinda in Freetown.
The professor thanked the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) for their support to the Government of Sierra Leone and more especially the newly created Ministry of Environment, adding that like many other developing countries environmental challenges are many but that the country is making strides in mitigating the impact.
“The environment is ours and we must take steps in protecting it. This consultative workshop is to see how best we can review all of these laws as most are now obsolete and not good for purpose. We must all work together in protecting our environment and only by this we will be able to sustain the gains we have made as country. I want to thank the minister for his steadfastness in bring this ministry to its current status,”he concluded.
Chairperson for Environment Committee in Parliament, Honorable Ibrahim Tawa Conteh, said the country’s environment has been a source for compensating political cronies without due regard for life.
“The continued invasion of our forest cover across the Western Area Peninsula, a demarcated protected and spanning seven separate and distinct areas, comprising a combined total of 18,336 hectares from Black Johnson to MacDonalds forest compound to No 2 Rivers, Regent to mile 13 and many more falling within this measurement, is being constantly attacked by invaders in high places, he said.
He claimed that it has become a practice that supporters of politicians are compensated with pieces and parcels of land without due consideration for the green belt.
“Every day politicians before us and now usually pass by the beautiful Regent Grafton highway and see the massive invasion and assault on our environment but take limited or no action. This has to stop if we are to mitigate the next worse disaster that may even be worse than the mudslide,” he said, adding that the World Bank and the Government of Sierra Leone are currently investing a $ 11,5 Million on sloop stabilization, renovation of the Guma reservoir on Babadorie, construction of box culverts across the mudslide.
The UNDP Representative at the consultative workshop, Mrs. Tanziila Watta Sankoh, Team Lead, sustainability and Local Economic Development Cluster, said climate projections for Sierra Leone indicates that the country faces risk of climate change impacts to natural human, infrastructure, and productive systems, in an uneven way.
She said the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like flooding mudslide, sea erosion, storm surge and rise in temperature threatens food supplies, causes migration and jeopardize livelihood of the poor including women and children.