Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 September 2019:
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has called on world leaders to take urgent action on climate change by fully implementing the Paris Agreement which he described as the blueprint for action.
Addressing world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly during the Climate Action Summit 2019 hosted by the United Nations Secretary-General, President Bio said that the impact of climate change is already adversely being felt by countries, especially those in the developing world.
He said that: “Sierra Leone, for example, is rated as the third most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change.”
The President also said that the threat of climate change was real and could be an impediment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Reiterating Sierra Leone’s commitment to tackling climate change, the President said: “As a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, Sierra Leone joins the call for urgent and concerted action to stop the increase in emissions of Greenhouse gases by 2020”.
He also highlighted some of the actions his Government had taken to address climate change, including setting up early warning systems for climate resilience, mainstreaming climate resilience in the National Development Plan, establishing a National Appropriate Mitigation Action plan with pipeline programmes, planting over one hundred thousand trees as part of a five-year plan to plant two million trees by 2023.
President Bio also expressed commitment to taking further actions to create, promote and facilitate markets for renewable energy technologies, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions due to thermal electricity generation.
He added that Sierra Leone would reduce methane emissions through improved waste management including landfilling, composting and recycling of waste as part of government’s implementation of the National Climate Change Financing Framework that would create a dedicated National Climate Change Fund.
“It is no gainsaying that my country, Sierra Leone, is a victim of actions that we have not contributed to. Paying the price both in terms of human lives, as well as the devastating impact on our development trajectory is unfair and unacceptable,” he said; and called on developed and industrialised countries to scale up climate financing to support the urgent and immediate needs of vulnerable countries.
“We remain committed to implementing Sierra Leone’s nationally determined engagements with a view to reducing the greenhouse emissions. It is a race we can win and a race we must win,” president Bio told World leaders.
The Climate Action Summit 2019 was formally opened by the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, who warned world leaders that: “This is not a climate talk summit. We have had enough talk. This is not a climate negotiation summit. You don’t negotiate with nature. This is a climate action summit”.
Later, His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio also visited the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Zone, where SDG campaigners engaged him on various events to gather, share stories and lessons and devised plans to accelerate SDG action.
What about planting trees at the Sugar Loaf mountain hill sides where a number of our compatriots died – killed few years ago in landslide? The place should be designated a grave site and none should be allowed to put up a structure on any part of that portion of land. Plant trees and enact a law preventing anyone from cutting or harvesting the trees.
Talk is cheap, action is expensive. We want action. The Chinese are turning their country into green land. Stop harvesting timber and exporting it to China and other countries. There are other sources of income. Protecting the environment starts with everyone.
“It is a race we can win and a race we must win,” President Bio told world Leaders in the UNGA climate change summit. Mr. Bio, you highlighted very good points to combat the disasters caused by climate change presently in our country. But failure to take stringent actions on people that are responsible for causing unnecessary problems to our environment, Sierra Leone cannot win the climate change battle.
It is obvious that most of the environmental problems are caused by human activities such as charcoal burning, timber logging, mining, farming, clearing of pristine forests for building construction which is common in Freetown and the provincial towns in Sierra Leone, coastal deforestation etc. And today, flooding is prevalent in most of these communities with the Western area suffering most from this disaster. Can flooding prone areas be relocated in Freetown to other safety zones? I am sure we should start from here and later continue to fight all other factors causing climate change in our country.
Please Mr. President, let the right Scientists be involved in the planning, execution, monitoring and all technical processes in this climate change fight. Now that United Nations and world Leaders have declared WAR on climate change, please fellow Sierra Leoneans, let us also come together to fight it and eradicate it completely in our environment. Kudos President Bio for the plans you have already put in place to fight climate change. And shame to President Donald Trump as he has been against this fight; and thank God he was asked to stay away from the climate change summit this year.
This is the Sierra Leone we need. The president our brother is really trying to fight against today and tomorrow´s hazardous problems that will affect the country and the people. Thanks very much brother, you are really doing well to bring Sierra Leone to light. MAY GOD BLESS SIERRA LEONE, THE PRESIDENT AND THE PEOPLE. AMEEN.