EPASL hosts validation workshop of the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action
EPASL hosts validation workshop of the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action The Environment Protection Agency Sierra Leone has met with stakeholders to validate Sierra Leone’s Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) as part of the country’s commitment under the Paris Agreement of 2015. The one-day validation session was hosted at the Family Kingdom in Aberdeen on 15th September 2020 and chaired by Dr. Raynold Johnson, a renowned chemist and lecturer at Institute of Marine Biology and Oceanography, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. The workshop brought together representatives from various sectors include transport, energy, agriculture, Her Warship the Mayor of Makeni and District Chairmen from Bonthe and Pujehun Districts. Also in attendance were representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).Making his opening remarks, the Chairman of the workshop expressed delight for the validation of the NAMA which he said was a further demonstration of government’s commitment towards the reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in Sierra Leone. The Chairman noted that Sierra Leone was one of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse effects of climate change and carbon emissions and that the development of the NAMA would promote resilience and improve the capacity and maintain the integrity of our country’s carbon sinks. The Representative of the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Edward Bendu intimated participants that according to a recently released report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, time was running out in terms of global efforts for the reduction of GHGs and that there was a dire need for countries to redouble their efforts to avoid very high and undesirable climate change adaptation costs. He further noted that by signing the Paris Agreement in 2015, the government of Sierra Leone committed itself to the overall objective of limiting global temperatures to below two degrees Celsius. He called upon the agricultural, energy, industrial, transport and waste management sectors “to promote integrated sector based approaches that would limit the use of fossil fuels”, adopt renewable energy consumption practices and expand forest covers across the country to promote carbon sink capacities. Mr. Bendu added that the Ministry of Environment, for its part, would embark on the planting of five million trees over the next five years in order to increase the country’s forest cover. Further statements were made by representatives from other institutions including the Ministry of Transport and the Meteorological Agency.Delivering his keynote address on behalf of the Executive Chairman of the Environment Protection Agency, the Director of EPASL, Mr. Momodu Alrashid Bah told participants that climate change impacts on our country’s natural resources were placing additional burden on the development aspirations of government. He added that such a burden was compounded by the limited capacity in terms of technology and finance. The EPA Director further stated that a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has found that the world was not doing enough to meet its target of reducing GHG emissions by two degrees Celsius by 2030, and that higher temperature rises and extreme weather partners were bound to affect livelihoods and economies in Africa tremendously. Mr. Bah said these predictions were already manifesting themselves in the form of frequent floods and dry spells. He also stated that, amidst these threats, the government of Sierra Leone was committed to supporting global action to mitigate and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.Furthermore, Director Bah stated that Sierra Leone’s Green House Gas Inventory indicated that its emission was relatively low as compared to other countries, adding that, notwithstanding such low emission levels, and as a party to the Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol, Sierra Leone was contributing to global efforts to reduce carbon emissions through conducting a mitigation assessment, development of the NAMA document and implementing renewable energy initiatives and projects.Commenting on the significance of the NAMA, the EPASL Director said that “it is an important tool for climate change mitigation since it gives policy makers the opportunity to design mitigation measures in accordance with national circumstances and priorities”. He further stated that the NAMA was a tool that assist developing countries in the implementation of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. He further stated that Sierra Leone’s participation in the climate change political process would provide unique opportunities on finance, technology transfer and capacity for Sierra Leone.The EPASL Director concluded by thanking particularly the UNDP for funding the event. He called on all participants to think critically of the contents of the document as it contained the roadmap for Sierra Leone’s contribution to the reduction of its GHG emissions. It could be recalled that the initiative to have countries develop their Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions was a key outcome of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007. At the next COP in Cancun, Mexico in November 2010, the parties agreed to set up the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as a funding mechanism under the UNFCCC to provide assistance to developing countries to implement their respective NAMAs in a manner that they could be measured, reported and verified. The validation of the NAMA follows series of consultations with stakeholders in the public and private sectors, including local authorities, academicians, None-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations, prioritizing the transport, energy, waste, agriculture and other related sectors.