FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – In a landmark event supported by Trocaire Sierra Leone, civil society organizations (CSOs) have concluded a three-day dialogue aimed at crafting the first-ever Pre-COP message in preparation for the upcoming COP 28.
The primary objective of this intensive workshop was to enhance the capacity of CSOs in Sierra Leone to effectively engage with, operate within, and advocate for climate change issues in the country. Additionally, the dialogue sought to establish a robust coordinating body for these organizations.
The three-day engagement further aimed at equipping CSOs with the necessary knowledge and skills to engage with the government on matters related to climate change, adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damages.
Under the Paris Agreement, each nation is required to present an Initial Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) as a working document for the accord. This document serves as a national action plan, driven by the needs of the country, and addresses climate change and adaptation issues.
Historically, CSOs have been underrepresented at COP seminars. To address this gap, Trocaire has committed to supporting two civil society activists to attend COP 28 in November this year, although the selection process remains undisclosed. Trocaire has pledged financial backing to facilitate their participation.
Henry David Bayoh, Climate Change and Advocacy Coordinator at Trocaire, emphasized the need for CSOs to be well-informed about the discussions and outcomes of COP sessions, which would enable them to advocate more effectively for climate change, adaptation, and addressing loss and damages.
Bayoh recalled that in 2021, Sierra Leone submitted an updated INDC at the COP session, outlining actions for adaptation and mitigation. However, he revealed that some of these action points had not been implemented.
As a guiding principle for CSOs attending COP 28, Bayoh encouraged them to focus on either adaptation, mitigation, or addressing loss and damages.
David Joseph Allieu, Director of the Civil Society Network on Climate Change and the Environment, expressed his gratitude to Trocaire for providing an invaluable learning platform during the three-day session. He and his fellow civil society activists are committed to building and strengthening a network focused on climate change and adaptation within Sierra Leone.
Allieu also revealed that CSOs are in the process of drafting messages to be presented at COP 28. He highlighted the training they received in advocacy strategies and engaging with duty bearers in Sierra Leone.
Furthermore, Allieu urged the government to take concrete steps in implementing laws and policies aimed at addressing climate change and adaptation in the country.
While the CSO representatives could not specify a timeline for producing their message, they demonstrated a strong commitment to this endeavour. They unanimously endorsed the establishment of a dynamic network, set to commence operations later this year, to ensure preparedness for COP 28 in November. SKS/2/10/2023