The Head of EU Delegation in Sierra Leone, Mr Peter Versteeg, said he is very concerned at the vulnerability of Sierra Leone, and he called on the government to take steps in reforest the hills and to preserve the creeks.
He said he was very happy when President Koroma called for the Regent-Grafton Road to be cleared of housing and farming, and pledged that the government would plant trees to keep the hills and the environs green. He said it was the right step to take, and that it would help to protect both the road and the environment.
Mr Versteeg said EU leaders have endorsed the objective of reducing Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% as compared to 1990 levels, as part of efforts by developed countries as a group to reduce their emissions by a similar degree. The European Commission has published a roadmap for building the low-carbon European economy that this will require.
Sierra Leone has been a beneficiary of assistance from the EU to cut down emissions and reforest mountains that have been denuded of trees. The EU is working with the government to find ways how the country can be made less vulnerable to ecological disasters in the coming years, Mr Versteeg said.
At the Climate Change Summit, EU said the fight against climate change was increasingly being reflected in other policy areas. To further advance this “mainstreaming” process, the EU has agreed that at least 20% of its €960 billion budget for the 2014-2020 period should be spent on climate change-related action. This is on top of climate finance from individual EU Member States. “This budget marks a major step forward in transforming Europe into a clean and competitive low-carbon economy,” he said.
EU has long been a driving force in international negotiations on climate change and was instrumental in the development of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.
The pressure from the EU and other progressive countries, led to the drawing up of a new global climate agreement covering all countries to achieve greater cuts in global emissions over the rest of this decade. The aim is to keep global warming below 2°C compared to the temperature that prevailed in pre-industrial times.
The new framework is to be finalised next year and be implemented beginning in 2020. The EU is pressing for an agreement that is ambitious, comprehensive and legally binding, as part of the transition to the future global climate regime. The EU is taking part in a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol running from 2013 to 2020.
As the world’s leading donor of development aid, the EU also provides substantial funding to help developing countries tackle climate change. It gave just over €7.3 billion in “fast start” financing to developing countries over 2010-2012 and is continuing to provide climate finance every year.
Preventing dangerous climate change is a strategic priority for the European Union. Europe is working hard to cut its greenhouse gas emissions substantially while encouraging other nations and regions to do likewise.
EU leaders have committed to transforming Europe into a highly energy-efficient, low carbon economy. They have set themselves targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions progressively up to 2050 and they are working successfully towards meeting them.
By Austin Thomas
Thursday September 25, 2014