The President also said that the threat of climate change is 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 his commitment to taking further actions to create, promote and facilitate markets for renewable energy technologies, mitigate Greenhouse Gas emissions due to thermal electricity generation; adding that the country would reduce methane emissions through improved waste management by land-filling, 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 industrialized countries to scale up climate financing to support the urgent and immediate needs of vulnerable countries.
He ended by saying: “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”.
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 devise plans to accelerate SDG action.