Freetown Mayor Aki-Sawyerr at the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 November 2023:

Freetown Mayor Aki-Sawyerr, one of Sierra Leone’s most outstanding politicians and climate change action campaigners, championing efforts in Sierra Leone to mitigate the impact of climate change and deforestation in the capital Freetown, will take centre stage in Dubai today, where the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference is underway.

More than 70,000 delegates are attending COP28, including the member states (or Parties) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Business leaders, young people, climate scientists, Indigenous Peoples, journalists, and various other experts and stakeholders are also among the participants.

COP28 stands for the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). COPs take place every year and are the world’s only multilateral decision-making forum on climate change with almost complete membership of every country in the world.

The COP is where the world comes together to agree on ways to address the climate crisis, such as limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, helping vulnerable communities adapt to the effects of climate change, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Yesterday, Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr met Climate Youth Activists in Freetown before her departure for COP28.

Writing in a statement published yesterday, she said: “The future of our youth is being adversely impacted and will continue to be adversely impacted by the negative consequences of climate change if urgent action is not taken to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.

“Today, together with councillors on the FCC Climate Change and Environmental Management Committee, staff from the FCC Climate Action and Disaster Management Unit and MDU Climate Action technical support, I met with 25 young people representing 13 different youth led climate organisations. It was a great opportunity to listen to the youth explain how climate change is affecting their lives, what climate action they are already taking and what more they believe they could do with the relevant support and collaboration.

“It was truly inspiring to hear about plastic recycling initiatives, vertical garden projects, renewable energy aspirations, electric vehicle production, climate awareness and sensitization campaigns and so much more. These youth recognize the problems created by climate change in their communities and are actively involved in implementing solutions.

“As the newly elected C40 Cities Co-Chair, mobilizing and supporting greater climate youth awareness and action is among the priorities that I will be promoting at COP28. Local action leads to global impact so I will continue to strengthen our partnerships with the youth organizations at today’s meeting as well as with other youth organizations including the 15-youth led community based organizations (CBOs) that are already planting and monitoring tree growth under the FreetownTheTreeTown initiative.”

You can watch the opening ceremony of COP28 here:

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