GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE
Environment Protection Agency - Sierra Leone
Office of the President
21 Old Railway Line, Brookfields, Freetown
Environmental and natural resources management has been plagued with a checkered history in Sierra Leone. Prior to 1986, environmental matters were not given serious consideration. In order to mainstream environmental considerations, an Environment Section was established in the then Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning which was later transferred to the Ministry of Transport and Aviation in 1996. In that same year, the Environment Section was upgraded to an Environment Division in the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and then transferred to the Ministry of Lands. In 1997, the Environment Division was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security. In 2000, the Government of Sierra Leone established a Department of the Environment by virtue of the Environment Protection Act, 2000, in the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment. In 2005, the Environment Protection Department and the Forestry Division were hived off from their respective ministries to establish the National Commission on the Environment and Forestry (NaCEF), which was under the supervision of the Office of the President. It is important to note that NaCEF was created by cabinet decision and had no statutory mandate. In 2007, the function of the environment was transferred to the Ministry of Lands whilst the Forestry Division returned to the Ministry of Agriculture.
With the growing global environmental awareness and the imperative of countries to adopt and integrate sustainable environmental management in their development trajectory, GoSL felt the need to create an institution that would be solely responsible for the protection and management of the environment, and to act as the focal point for national and international environmental issues. In view of this, the Environment Protection Agency Sierra Leone (EPA-SL) was established by an Act of Parliament (EPA Act 2008) in September 2008 as a corporate body to provide for the effective protection and management of the environment and other related matters after repealing the Environment Protection Act of 2000.
Recognizing that environmental management and development are inextricably linked, Government was galvanized into demonstrating strong commitment to environmental matters. This was coupled with the global drive to integrate environment, social and health impact. Furthermore, at the Earth Summit of 1992, developing countries noted that the implementation of Agenda 21 would entail huge sums of money. Thus, in the spirit of international partnership for development, the international community acquiesced on the need for increase of financial support. It was against this background that the EPA Act, 2008 was amended by Parliament in July 2010 to place the Agency under the Office of the President in line with the United States of America, Liberia and Tanzania. This is designed to enable the Agency to effectively and efficiently carry out its broader mandate of coordination and monitoring the implementation of all national environmental policies, plans and programmes as well as projects in ensuring environmentally sound and sustainable development countrywide.
The EPA-SL Board as the governing body of the Agency provides direction and makes decisions to enhance the overall performance of the Agency. The Executive Chairperson oversees the operations of the Agency and the Office of the President has oversight responsibility of the Agency. It is important to note that the first constituted Board of the Agency performed their duties without receiving entitlements due to lack of funds.
After its establishment in 2008, the Agency kicked off its operations with a staff strength of five, no office equipment and vehicles and no adequate office space.
In a bid to deliver its mandate in line with the Agenda for Prosperity (AfP), sustainable development goals (SDGs) and country policy and institutional assessment (CPIA) on managing the environment and natural resources, EPA-SL designed its first five year Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for the period 2012 to 2016. At the end of the implementation year, the Agency had a thorough review and assessing of its activities and analyzed the context of the present state of the country’s socio-economic and political dimension in relation to the environment, which has informed the 2017-2021 strategic action plan, with the main focus on environmental protection and management as well as addressing emerging issues and challenges related to the environment and climate change.
Vision and Mission Statements
The vision statement of the Environment Protection Agency Sierra Leone (EPA-SL) is to ensure sustainable use of our natural resources and contribute to poverty reduction through effective protection and sound environmental management.
The mission statement is to effectively protect, sustainably manage the environment and its natural resources to ensure a quality of environment adequate for human health and well being for all Sierra Leoneans.
The Agency has the overall mandate to oversee, coordinate, monitor and regulate all environmental issues in Sierra Leone to ensure a quality of environment adequate for human health and wellbeing of Sierra Leoneans. It also has the responsibility to advise Government on all environmental matters and serves as focal point for all national and international environmental issues.