Freetown Mayor Aki-Sawyerr supports call for “Unlocking a just transition through local action” at COP28

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 December 2023:

Yesterday Tuesday 5th December – Day 5 of the COP28 World Summit, Freetown Mayor Aki-Sawyerr spoke at the UN Press Conference on the Global Cooling Pledge on behalf of C40 Cities, and then went on to participate in a high level panel at which the Global Cooling Pledge was launched by COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber and John Kerry.

On the Mayor’s discussion panel were HE Graham Stuart, UK Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero HE Yutaka Matsuzawa, Vice Minister, Global Environmental Affairs, Japan.

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr also delivered opening remarks at the “Unlocking A Just Transition Through Local Action” session co-hosted by C40 Cities and the International Trade Union Confederation.

Joining UN Deputy Secretary-General H. E. Amina Mohamed who participated online from New York, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr spoke on a panel discussing “Pathways to 1.5 degrees Accelerating Global Energy Transition”.

Perhaps the highlight of Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s day was attending a dinner with over 20 climate youth activists from around the world, including Esther Kamara and Foday Sesay from Freetown, who are collaborating with C40 Cities.

And on Monday, COP28 focus was on Gender Equality and Mayor Aki-Sawyerr spoke on a panel along with Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell, UK Minister of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Photo above), HE Sigurd Kaag, Vice-Premier, Minister of Finance, Netherlands, Vice Premier and Finance Minister of the Netherlands and Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Environment, Rwanda.

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr spoke about C40 Cities Women4Climate mentorship programme which has been implemented in 22 cities, including Freetown and has impacted approximately 1000 women across those cities. She described C40 Cities “Cities Hub and Network for Gender Equality” (CHANGE) through which City Councils consciously ensure that women are prioritized in their employment, project and service delivery policies and practices.

“This has been effective in Freetown where our Urban Farming, Market Shade Covers, Market Health Screening and other projects specifically support vulnerable women,” the Freetown Mayor said. Closing remarks for the panel were delivered by former US Secretary of State Mdme Hilary Clinton.

As one of the Commissioners, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr also attended an event hosted by the Global Commission for the Economics of Water (GCEW). It was an opportunity for the Mayor to catch up with GCEW co-chair Mdme Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Dr Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank.

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr did a number of media interviews before delivering remarks at a dinner hosted by C40 Cities funders Urban Partners and the Copenhagen Infrastructure Partnership.

“It was an honour to share a platform with world renowned climate scientist Dr David King,” Mayor Aki-Sawyerr said as she continues to make the case for targeted climate financing to address the impacts of climate change in Freetown and other cities in the Global South.


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