Society for Climate Change Communications commits next Government to double up efforts towards Environmental IssuesFebruary 6, 2018
By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya
It is no more a secret that environmental issues ranging from Climate Change, drought, deforestation to name but a few are global issues of concern. This is why each year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat together with parties to the Climate Change Convention and now the Paris Agreement meet in a designated country to discuss key issues towards reducing emission and work towards combating Climate Change in the world.
In Sierra Leone, the Society for Climate Change Communication is doubling up efforts to ensure key players in decision making process commit themselves in tackling environmental problems in the country. As the country get closer to tits general elections and see the election to power of a President and Members of Parliament, the Society called on the political parties to commit them to environmental issues in the country. It was however disheartening that the major political parties such as the All Peoples Congress Party, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, the National Grand Coalition etc were absent but those parties with representation received the required information for their parties.
The minor parties who were represented commit themselves to upholding and doubling efforts towards environmental protection across the country in tandem with international agreements.
According to Alfred Fornah, the Executive Director for the Society for Climate Change Communication in Sierra Leone, the “national tragedy in August of last year of the mudslide was a wakeup call for us all”.
During the meeting at the Africel-American corner along Bathurst Street, key recommendations were presented to the parties after they made their pledges. As Climate Change is presently the key issue around the world affecting all spheres of life, the Society for Climate Change Communication called on all Political Parties contesting the March 7th Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Councils Elections to fully implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
On the side of Agriculture and low yield in this sector in the country, the S4CCC reiterated its call to the Political Parties to double up efforts in ensuring that there is more agricultural production of to feed all Sierra Leoneans before the end of their first term of five years. The society also called for the embracement of the Ecosystem-based food security for Africa and its sustainable programme to boost yield and increase youth and women participation in farming and give every Chiefdom access to quality seed and the means to increase mechanization as well as adopt the December platform on Agricultural Forum with political parties.
Under renewable energy, the S4CCC called on all political parties to improve access to off grid electricity for rural Communities by fifty percent within their first term as well as increase investment in renewable energy sources. It further call for enhancement of access to affordable and clean electricity for urban areas and ensure to invest in electricity charging points in other to have access to chargeable vehicles in the country.
In relation to Coastal and Marie Protected areas, the Society for Climate Change Communications called on all political parties to ensure they intensify the creation of more marine protected areas in the country and ensure these places are well protected and managed. It was also reechoed to the Parties to ensure they increase the coastal means of livelihood should they occupy the seats of power come March 7th 2018.
Under forests and Forested Communities, the Society for Climate Change Communications called on the new government to ensure they intensify and increase more protected areas across the country as well as institute a permanent ban on Commercial lodging from these forested areas as well as a ban.
There was also a call for political parties or the new government to ensure they protect the Sierra Leonean Wetlands and Mangroves in tandem to the RAMSAR Convention of international importance.
A representative of the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone, Abdul Bah commended the efforts of the Society for Climate Change Communication in Sierra Leone. He reechoed that environmental issues are burning issues affecting the globe and must be tackled by the concerted efforts of all civil societies, the media and all political parties.
Other speakers on the occasion stressed on the need or the harmonization of environmental laws and mandates within certain Ministries Departments and Agencies in the country.