By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya
On Tuesday 15th February 2022, the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone launched the Initial National Adaptation Plan (INAP) in the presence of key government officials and local community representatives at the Sierra Bay Hotel in Freetown. The objectives of the NAP process in Sierra Leone are to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience and to facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation in a coherent manner among others.
The mandate of the Sierra Leone’s NAP is grounded in its National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan and the Medium-Term National Development Plan of 2019-2023 which includes a cluster on addressing vulnerability and building resilience.
This document will serve as Sierra Leone initial national Adaptation Plan submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The NAP process was established under the UNFCCC in 2020 as part of the Cancun Adaptation Framework where the process enables Parties to the UNFCCC to formulate and implement NAPs as a means of identifying medium-and long-term adaptation needs and for developing and implementing strategies and programmes to address those needs.
The first ever national adaptation plan together with its communication strategy and the framework gears towards strengthening the country’s adaptative capacity, increasing resilience and reducing the vulnerability of people, communities and ecosystems to the adverse effects of climate change to which Sierra Leone is vulnerable.
“Adaptation to climate change has become a routine and necessary component of planning at all levels. At its 17th session of the conference of parties to the UNFCCC, it became glaringly clear that national adaptation planning could enable all developing and least developed countries like Sierra Leone to assess their vulnerabilities, mainstream climate change risks and address adaptation” said Professor Foday Moriba Jaward, Minister of Environment.
Sierra Leone is taking concrete measures to adapt to the effects of climate change. “The NAP responds to the overall objective of the UNFCC’s national adaptation plan guidelines for reducing vulnerability to the impact of climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience of the country and facilitating the integration of climate change adaptation into relevant existing and new policies, programme and activities” said Gabriel Kpaka, Deputy Director and Head of programmes, Sierra Leone Metrological Agency.
“The initial adaptation plan process will help countries to conduct comprehensive medium and long-term climate change adaptation planning process that builds on each country’s existing adaptation activities and aid the integration of climate change actions into national decision-making agenda” said Hon. Yousif Mackray, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on the Environment.