The new Executive Chairman of Sierra Leone’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-SL), Professor Foday Moriba Jaward has been awarded for his profound commitment and contribution to sound environmental governance in Sierra Leone. The event was organized by Shout Climate Change Africa, a non-governmental organization that advocates for the mitigation of climate change in Africa.
Professor Jaward is an accomplished academic with a wealth of experience in the field of environmental science. His appointment by His Excellency The President to head the EPA was a major boost to environmental management in Sierra Leone. Within a very short period of his appointment, Professor Jaward has already set the stage for a proper functioning of environment policy framework in the country.
Making a statement at the ceremony, Professor Jaward thanked His Excellency the President for the confidence reposed in him and for the President’s firm commitment towards ameliorating Sierra Leone’s environmental challenges. He also thanked the Shout Climate Change team for organizing an event that would serve as an inspiration to others.
He noted that our country is currently challenged by a number of environmental problems due to deforestation, desertification, decline and loss of biodiversity, plastic waste, air and water pollution among others, thereby undermining development and the quality of life of Sierra Leoneans. These factors, Professor Jaward said, have culminated into Sierra Leone being classified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the third most vulnerable country to climate change events.
Professor Jaward expressed appreciation for the efforts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in mainstreaming environmental issues into their respective policy framework, a move the Executive Chairman said would significantly contribute to environmental sustainability and development in Sierra Leone.
In a movethat would encourage investors and create an atmosphere of fairness in the acquisition of the Environmental Impact Assessment License, Professor Jaward announced the following new measures:
- Having reviewed the EIA process upon assumption of office, measures have now been put in place to ensure that the EIA process is completed within the shortest possible time.
- All EIA License fees would now be computed on a case by case bases.
- The development of sector specific EIA fee regulations in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office and the Law Officers Department to ensure fairness and transparency.
Professor Jaward also announced that in order to improve on the environmental governance of the state, certain considerations would be high on his agenda. These include the development of a National Communication Strategy on Environmental Education and Awareness; development of a National Integrated Waste Management System including a strategy on handling plastic waste and marine litter in collaboration with MDAs; an elaborate tree planting program across the country; harmonization of sector specific environmental policy and legislation for sound environmental management; establishment of an environmental court; training of local councils on environmental and climate change mainstreaming; capacity building and logistical support for effective environmental monitoring and governance.
Upon receipt of the award, Professor Jaward expressed gratitude to His Excellency President Maada Bio for giving him the opportunity to serve his country under the New Direction. He also thanked his staff and family for their continued support and said he would dedicate his new award to the protection of the environment in Sierra Leone.
Other awardees at the ceremony were the Mayor of Freetown, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone and the European Union head of delegation in Sierra Leone.