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On Climate Change – EPA Boss addresses UN General Assembly

On Climate Change – EPA Boss addresses UN General Assembly

The Executive Chairperson of Sierra Leone’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mrs. Haddijatou Jallow (in photo), has informed the United Nations General Assembly that the people of Sierra Leone are increasingly experiencing the adverse effects of climate change related hazards in all sectors, noting that the country has been ranked as the third most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change after Bangladesh and Guinea Bissau.

Mrs. Jallow was speaking at the UN Headquarters in New York on 29th June, 2015, during a high level event on climate change convened by the President of the UN General Assembly and attended by ministerial-level participants, heads of Environmental Agencies of member states.

Highlighting the efforts made by Sierra Leone to combat the adverse effects of climate change, the EPA Chairperson revealed the country’s five year development plan which incorporates Inclusive Green Growth, underscoring the government’s commitment to confronting climate change effects.

She assured the assembly that Sierra Leone has joined the call by Least Developed Countries and the African Group for all parties to ensure that the Adaptation Fund is maintained and sustained in order to help vulnerable countries strengthen their resilience to the adverse impact of climate change. To this end, she went on; Sierra Leone reiterates the call of the African Group for concrete commitments towards fulfilling the developed country parties’ pledge of one hundred billion United States Dollars per year by 2020.

As a plea on behalf of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Jallow urged the UN Secretary-General to establish, with the support of the private sector, a rapid response disaster mechanism to provide the most vulnerable countries with critical multi-sector assistances to victims of climate change.

The EPA Chairperson who is also Co-Chair for African Women Heads of Environment said Sierra Leone was committed to a legally binding agreement in the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris in December, 2015, an agreement which, she advocated, should be quite ambitious, inclusive and transparent and one that recognizes women as the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change. She, therefore, called for the integration of gender considerations, especially for least developed and developing countries.

The President of the General Assembly convened the high-level event with the goal of helping countries reach a climate change agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris in December, 2015.

The main objective of the high-level meeting was to highlight the importance of keeping focus on the issue of climate change and to provide impetus and momentum towards reaching a universal and ambitious agreement on climate change in Paris, in December2015. It aimed also at providing space for showcasing climate action through concrete initiatives and multi-stakeholder approaches to address climate change.

Given the critical importance of resilience to addressing climate change impact and risk, one of the topical issues discussed was how strategies and actions could be adopted at all levels to make sure that resilience is incorporated and mainstreamed in international and national planning processes.

As an outcome among many other major things, the meeting also discussed what kind of technology transfer and capacity building support were needed and effective in enabling ambitious climate actions by developing countries, especially the most vulnerable countries. The meeting ended with a closing session, where the UN secretary- General and the President of the UN General assembly made closing statements.

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