The EPA-SL is the legitimate national principal organ of government responsible for advising, coordinating, monitoring, regulating and supervising all matters on the environment with respect to the economic and social development in Sierra Leone. The Agency also has a responsibility to ensure that development activities are undertaken through environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures, which results in the issuance of environmental impact assessment licenses and monitoring of developers/proponents environmental management plans in achieving environmental sustainability.
The vision of the EPA-SL is to contribute to poverty reduction through sound environmental management, and ensuring a clean, healthy and secure environment in achieving sustainable development Goals in Sierra Leone.
The mission of the EPA-SL 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.
In 1986, several Government Departments, Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) and other Agencies carried out development activities independently without due consideration of sound environmental management. In order to mainstream environmental considerations, the responsibility was therefore given to the then Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning which was later transferred to the Ministries of Transport; Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security in 1996 and 1997 respectively. In 2000, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) established a Department of Environment by an act of Parliament, the Environment Protection Act, 2000 and transferred the responsibility to 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 and transferred to establish the National Commission on the Environment and Forestry.
With the growing global environmental awareness and in pursuit of sustainable environmental management and development, GoSL felt there was a 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 Department was transformed to the Environment Protection Agency Sierra Leone (EPA-SL) which was established by an act of Parliament, the Environment Protection Agency (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. The Environment Protection Act of 2000 was repelled by the enactment of the Environment Protection Agency Act of 2008 which ended the existence of the Environment Protection Department in the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, with the mandate to protect and manage all issues related to the environment.
As a demonstration of Government’s commitment to sound environmental protection and management the EPA Act, 2008 was amended by Parliament in July 2010, and the Office of the President has oversight responsibility of the Agency. This is designed to enable the Agency to effectively and efficiently carry out its broader mandate of overseeing, coordination and monitoring the implementation of all national environmental policies, plans and programmes as well as projects in achieving the millennium development goals and ensuring environmentally sound and sustainable development countrywide.
Broad Policy Objectives
The EPA-SL broad policy objectives are to:
- Secure for all Sierra Leoneans a quality environment adequate for their health and well-being;
- Formulate, coordinate and implement environmental policies, regulations and build capacity for their implementation;
- Raise public awareness and promote understanding of the essential linkages between environment and development and to encourage individual and community participation in environmental improvement efforts;
- Ensure effective coordination and routine monitoring of all programmes and projects with potential negative impacts on the environment;
- Promote environmental research studies and analyses to ensure effective protection and management of the environment and the maintenance of a sound ecological system,
- Ensure environmental mainstreaming into national policies, programmes and projects, and
- Promote international cooperation and the effective implementation of bilateral/multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) in the country.
Our Core Values
In living with its motto, the EPA-SL will strive at all times to maintain the under-mentioned core values:
- Efficiency and Professionalism: We try to achieve the most with the resources made available to us and aim at maintaining the highest professional standards in our work.
- Teamwork and Partnership: We strive to work as a team and partners with key stakeholders to achieve the policy objectives of the Agency.
- Stewardship: We carry out our statutory mandate, taking into account the responsibilities we bear for current and future generations.
- Transparency and Accountability: We strive to do our job in a transparent manner and we are accountable to our customers and our people know about the developments regarding the environment in which they live.
- Integrity, Proactive, Creativity and Innovations are equally important for the Agency.
In ensuring effective protection of the environment and sustainable exploitation of our natural resources, we promote economic growth and prosperity and offer quality services to our clients. The following are the agency guiding principles.
- Uphold integrity, honesty and transparency in all its operations.
- Cultivate a culture of goodwill among stakeholders and clients.
- Promote efficient and effective utilization of environmental and natural resources
- Promote social equity and well-being of all Sierra Leoneans.
- Provide quality leadership in all matters related to environmental management nationwide.
- Cultivate team spirit among the entire Agency’s staff.
- Decentralize its functions and allow the participation of all stakeholders in undertaking its mandate and responsibilities.
- Promote and provide environmental education and awareness raising.
- Prevent and control pollution and
- Promote science and research and provide information and data to the public.