Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Civil society activists in Sierra Leone, supported by TROCAIRE Sierra Leone, have convened over the past three days to lay the groundwork for the establishment of a climate change advocacy network. The initiative aims to coordinate efforts and amplify the voices of vulnerable groups in advocating for climate change policies while ensuring accountability in key government institutions working on climate change.
The announcement was made during a national climate change dialogue at the Sierra Palms Resort in Aberdeen, Freetown. The dialogue, which occurred from the 21st to the 23rd of November, laid the foundation for the official launch of the network on the 24th of November 2023. Following the network’s formation, participating civil society organizations (CSOs) plan to present a position paper at COP 28 in Dubai, addressing crucial climate change issues.
Henry David Bayoh, the Climate Change Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at TROCAIRE, emphasized the pivotal role of CSOs in advocating for climate change policies and holding government institutions accountable. He stressed the importance of collaboration among CSOs to ensure a collective and coordinated voice, avoiding duplication of activities.
Bayoh highlighted the “Keep Your Promise campaign,” set to be launched as part of the network’s activities, aiming to raise awareness and sensitize the public as the country prepares for the COP 28 conference in Dubai. He underlined the significance of addressing issues of loss and damage, making it a key expectation for this year’s COP.
Speaking on Sierra Leone’s contribution to climate change, Bayoh noted its negligible impact but highlighted the nation’s vulnerability to climate change effects. He emphasized the need for necessary finance to build resilience and adapt to climate change impacts, with a focus on placing adaptation at the top of the agenda.
Engineer Amsumana Swaray, the Lead Facilitator in developing the climate change network, shared that it would involve CSOs working in the climate change management space, partnering with the government and private institutions. Swaray outlined the three membership categories—member, associate member, and open membership for those working in the climate space.
The network’s planned activities include engagement on climate justice, loss and damages, advocating for policy considerations, and collaborating with government and partners. Tity Simbo Kamara, Sector Head for Climate Change and Livelihood at SEND Sierra Leone expressed optimism about the engagement, anticipating its positive impact on Sierra Leone’s landscape resilience in the years to come. SKS/24/11/2023