It gives me great pleasure to join you all in this August gathering on climate on purpose. Let me extend my gratitude to the Government of Kenya, through the leadership of H.E President William Ruto, for inviting Sierra Leone to join this Partnership.
The governments of Sierra Leone and Kenya have been co-championing transformative initiatives aligned to technology and its impact on sustainable development. Today, this collaboration is called to do more.
As you all know, and as clearly amplified in the remarks by Heads of State and Governments at this 77th UN General Assembly, we are in a climate emergency. This statement may ring hollow, but now deeply reminded of the shocks of climate change. Africa, more than any other part of the world, is bearing the brunt of this existential threat. We are experiencing prolonged drought, biodiversity loss, increased climate-related disasters amidst a global pandemic, energy crisis, and food insecurity.
President Bio, in his address to CoP26, highlighted this impact on Sierra Leone. Rapid biodiversity and tree cover loss and the attendant threats to human habitat, health, food, and water security are causing other challenges such as increased poverty, gender disparities, and intensified youth unemployment, especially in the COVID-19 era.
I cannot over-emphasize that the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report confirms this fact, despite our contribution of less than 4% of total emissions. This report further places Africa’s annual adaptation needs at 86.5 billion US Dollars by 2030. The current mitigation or adaptation measures, while impactful, are not scaling fast enough to counter the effects of climate change.
It is, therefore, our belief that we must do more innovatively, leveraging natural and technological means to remove legacy carbon and keep the world on track to keep global warming below 1.5 Degrees. I believe we have a consensus: the science, according to the recent IPCC report and the math, points to a logical path of action. We need increased investment in carbon removal alongside mitigation and adaptation led by the global south and supported by developed economies.
To this end, I would like to applaud the leadership of the Governments of the United States of America with the recent allocation of USD$2.6 billion towards carbon removal. We also thank and acknowledge academia led by Thunderbird School of Global Management and other private sector companies for their commitment to this effort.
It is my conviction that the pathways being explored by this partnership will have immediate benefit to our countries, whether through fairer carbon markets and just technology transfer to our countries in the Global South. As noted by President bio, our fiscal space is already stretched and, therefore, requires more support from partners such as yourselves.
As we proceed to CoP27, we look forward to collaborating with this partnership and in close collaboration with the Governments of Kenya and Colombia to ensure that Carbon Removal remains high on the political agenda.