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EPA and EU launch €4m project on environmental governance & mainstreaming in Sierra Leone

 

By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya…

The European Union delegation in Sierra Leone has released the sum total of four million Euros to strengthen environmental governance and mainstreaming in the country. The four months environmental governance and mainstreaming project is designed with the general objective to contribute towards poverty reduction and achieving environmental sustainability. The specific objective of the project is to improve environmental governance in Sierra Leone and facilitate the implementation of environmental and climate change related policies. The launching ceremony took place at the British Council Hall on Wednesday 14th March 2012.

Madam HAddijatou JAllow, Executive Chairperson of the Envionment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone Earlier, in a statement, the Head of the European Union Delegation in Sierra Leone, Jean-Pierre Reymondet-Commoy said “this support to the Environmental Protection Agency Sierra Leone will help the agency to be fully operational and ensure the core functions of its mandate at central and decentralized levels and make progress in becoming financially sustainable. It will also mainstream the efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency Sierra Leone leading to the development of coherent environmental policies, regulations and standards on environment and climate change”.

 

Madam HAddijatou JAllow, Executive Chairperson of the Envionment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone

 

The project will enable the EPA Sierra Leone to be fully operational, ensure the core function of its mandate at central and decentralized levels, and make progresses in becoming financially sustainable; mainstreaming efforts by EPA SL leading to the development of coherent environmental policies, regulations and standards on environment and climate change and progresses in the implementation. It will also increase environmental awareness of the general public, particularly the youths and women in relation to environmental governance and climate change through the design and implementation of pilot projects; increasing professional skills level on environment management and climate change and communication and visibility activities related to environmental governance and climate change will be implemented by the project.

The Executive Chairperson for the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone, Madam Haddijatou Jallow said he was very pleased to inform the people of Sierra Leone that the European Union under the Technical assistance and Capacity Building project for the environment protection Agency of Sierra Leone has made the agency to increase its viability, strengthen its organizational set-up, building the capacity of EPA staff and MDAs and increase environmental educational and awareness in the country. The head of the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone said ‘the launching of this project is very timely as it will complement the activities carried out under the Technical assistance and governance and mainstreaming will allow openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence in the development and implementation of national policies, plans, programmes and project’.

She added that the implementing agency of the project which is the EPA-SL will be fully operational at the central and decentralized levels adding that the project will strengthen other environmental institutions and develop an adequate environmental legislation and regulatory framework by supporting the development of more urgent environmental regulations and standards, increase in professional skills level of government line ministries to name just a few. She thanked the European Union for funding the government of Sierra Leone through the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone for environmental management in the country. Madam Jallow intimated the gathering that Environmental impact assessment (EIA) license regulations were developed in December 2010 which are now used to determine the EIA license and monitoring fees levied on deployment projects to ensure compliance and provide sustainable financing of the Agency adding that the control and management of pesticides regulations have also been drafted and validated through four regional workshops for the effective management of pesticides and chemicals in the country.

The EPA-SL head also stated that her agency now has Global Positioning System (GPS) for data collection and ground trotting and geographic information system (GIS) software applications for geospatial interpretation, mapping and monitoring. She added that training on GPS and GIS has been conducted for professionals from government ministries, departments and agencies for effective environmental mapping and monitoring in the country. During the launch of the project, Madam Jallow said the provision of mobility for routine environmental monitoring has enabled the agency to undertake series of monitoring field visits to operational areas and sites of mining and bio-energy companies including the African Minerals, London Mining Company, Sierra Rutile to name a few. This, she said is to ensure compliance with the EPA Act of 2008 as amended in 2010 for effective environmental protection and management in the country.

When the Executive Chairperson for the EPA-SL was highlighting some of the many achievements they have been doing towards environmental issues in the country, Madam Jallow indicated that quite recently, her Agency conducted a national training workshop on the Strategic Environmental Assessment with participants drawn from the EPA staff, professionals of government line ministries, the University of Sierra Leone, research institutions, firms and nongovernmental organizations to enable them understand the significance and use of the SEA and EIA tools right from project design, policy, plan and programme formulation to achieve environmentally sound and sustainable development in Sierra Leone. Madam Jallow stated that they have produced reports on assessment of sensitive terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the country, the role of relevant government and non-governmental actors in the field of environmental actors and rapid assessment of the environment have been produced and she said they will be available through the website of the agency.

In facilitating and bringing in innovations into the agency, the Madam stated that her Agency had made study visits to the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana to gain firsthand experience in its daily operations and established better cooperation with the EPA of Sierra Leone for exchange of programmes in environmental management. The representative for the European Union Delegation, Achim Ladwig said the environmental governance & mainstreaming project came from a long term successful partnership with the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone. He said he is glad to say that the Sierra Leone government is ready and committed in championing environmental issues through the environment protection agency of sierra Leone. He revealed that once it’s involves taking care of the Sierra Leonean environment, it will not cost them much in supporting such kind of development programmes.

Mr. Achim indicated that the European Union is committed in partnership with the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone and continued funding of environmental projects in the country. The representative for the Office of the Chief of Staff, Kenei Lamin said environment issue before then was a problem but today it has been an issue of global concern adding that since this has been an issue of global concern, it must be the concern of all Sierra Leoneans. He made it clear that the Office of the Chief of Staff will be playing a key role towards the implementation of the project.

By kindamadumbuya@yahoo.com

 

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