Former president Koroma of Sierra Leone and world leaders calling for environmental change

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 June 2020:

Although covid-19 has brought unprecedented decline in global CO2 emissions with an expected significant reduction in global warming, serious concerns are still being raised about the world’s attitude towards the environment and nature.

Yesterday, a press statement, titled: “Recover from the Global Recession, We must Invest in Nature” –  authored and signed by a group of prominent global players, made up of former presidents and prime ministers, including Sierra Leone’s former president Ernest Bai Koroma, who are members of the ‘Campaign for Nature’s Global Steering Committee’, was published, calling for change.

This is what they said:

Ranging from former heads of state to former foreign ministers and diplomats, we have come together to serve as the Global Steering Committee for the Campaign for Nature.

We come from regions around the world and are united by the belief that the destruction of the natural world is an urgent issue for our economies, our health, and the overall wellbeing of mankind. (Photo: Former presidents Obasanjo and Ernest Bai Koroma).

Specifically, we have formed this group with the overarching purpose of calling on world leaders to support a new global goal to protect at least 30 percent of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030.

Scientists are telling us that this is the minimum amount needed to halt global biodiversity loss, which threatens up to one million species with extinction and is considered by the World Economic Forum to be one of the top five risks facing the global economy.

We believe that the issue of land and marine conservation is timelier than ever. The coronavirus pandemic has further underscored the need to protect more of the natural world, as studies have shown that the destruction of nature increases the risk of infectious disease outbreaks.  (Photo: Former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf).

We also believe that nature conservation must both be a core element of the economic rescue plans that global leaders are developing to respond to the emerging global recession, and a cornerstone of creating a resilient new economy.

We would like to call world leaders’ attention to a new report that found that protected areas and the local communities that depend on them for their livelihoods are well positioned for financial support through stimulus packages, and yet thus far they have been overlooked by stimulus discussions.

We would like to endorse the report’s findings and urge countries around the world to urgently invest in nature conservation for several reasons:

  • To prevent local communities worldwide associated with protected areas from collapsing into prolonged poverty, unemployment and depression;
  • To prevent protected areas from being further exploited by wildlife poaching and illegal logging and mining – the assets of the protected areas’ business;
  • To create jobs and economic activity, including through restoration and by providing a safety net to nature-based tourism, which was one of the fastest growing sectors before the pandemic;
  • To safeguard the huge contributions that nature makes to the global economy (more than half of the world’s GDP depends on nature);
  • To fight against climate change, as nature-based solutions are recognized as key to meeting climate goals and can deliver near-term and long-term economic benefits;
  • To help recover crucial biodiversity and critical ecosystems; and
  • To guard against future pandemics.

We are living at a pivotal moment in world history, and we are motivated by the opportunity for all countries to work together, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, as a global community to invest in nature for the benefit of all people and societies.

Signed: 

Russ Feingold, Former US Senator and former Special Envoy to Great Lakes Region of Africa

Hailemariam Desalegn, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia

Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary UNFCCC

José María Figueres, Former President of Costa Rica

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Former President of Iceland

Zakri Abdul Hamid, Former Science Advisor to Prime Minister of Malaysia

Ernest Bai Koroma, Former President of Sierra Leone

Tzipi Livni, Former Foreign Minister of Israel

Susanna Malcorra, Former Foreign Minister of Argentina

Amre Moussa, Former Foreign Minister of Egypt

Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria

Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland

Emil Salim, Former Environmental Minister of Indonesia

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia

Yongyuth Yuthavong, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand

Congresswoman Deb Haaland (Honorary Member)

6 Comments

  1. We hope and pray that the former President EBK removes himself now from all politics and remains empty with no more ‘lifetime chairman’. All this is happening in order for him to advise himself and step aside. We are still yet healing our wounds. One thing I am angry about the current regime; their investigators are not well equipped to do their job properly. We have to love our country than the politics, it will take a very long time for APC to acquire office again in the country.

  2. I personally believe that most of these former leaders are sending a message to the lifetime chairman of the APC party, that it is time for him to resign from active politics and spend the rest of his life as “ trees hugger “ in order to save the planet. I also believe that most of them are now in repentance mode, because of their past policies towards the environment. I hope and pray that the lifetime leader of the APC will introduce democracy within his party before retiring,. so that Dr. Sylvia Blyden and Chief Sam Sumana will have an opportunity to be the presidential candidates contesting against Dr. Samura Kamara for the 2023 election.

  3. When Ernest Bai Koroma was in office we saw one of the highest falling of trees by the Chinese and shipping them to China. His MP’s deforesting areas to build massive houses from the spoils of corruption. Even around one of the most reserved area – Guma, where part of the country depend on for water supply was deforested by one of his most corrupt ministers – Alpha Khan, to build a $1 million house for his girlfriend. Please Mr Koroma don’t lecture us about nature and climate conditions because you help destroy our countryside.

    Before I forget, Mr Koroma, don’t forget the mudslide. Under your watch some of your influentials build their mansions in an area that was never to be built on and the poor soul that went up there to warn them not to build there, was killed and dumped his body in the forest. The people who killed this gentleman were freed in court by the likes of Eddie Turay. This all happened under your watch. I am sure you are finding a new purpose in life now. All the money you embezzled from the poor people in the country cannot find you a purpose in life.

    Many of you African leaders should hang your heads in shame. Your citizens fleeing your countries to find a better life elsewhere, away from the continent. Shame on you idiots.

    • Indeed our African leaders including former president Koroma are all hypocrites. Their actions when they were at the seat of power and what they are preaching now is completely opposite. They have no shame whatsoever. I am not sure who they are trying to fool.

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