The Minister of Environment of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Prof. Foday M. Jaward has led Sierra Leone’s delegation at the resumed Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) being held at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya from 28th February to 2nd March 2022. The theme for the Assembly “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” clearly underscores the relevant role nature plays in our lives.
Among the delegation are Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to the Republic of Kenya and Permanent Representative to UNEP, Madam Isatu Aminata Bundu and Dr. Bondi Gevao, Executive Chairman of the Environment Protection Agency in Sierra Leone.
UNEA 5.2 successfully brought together representatives of United Nations (UN) member states and stakeholders including civil society organisations, NGOs and businesses as they addressed a range of environmental issues and discussed a number of resolutions including the adoption to rapturous applause of the global agreement on plastic pollution “End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument” proposed by Rwanda and Peru with a number of co-sponsors.
Whilst conveying President Bio’s greetings to the Government and the People of the Republic of Kenya and UNEP for their hospitality, commitment to environmental issues and for hosting such an important conference, Prof. Jaward also highlighted some of the strides taken by President Bio’s Administration in tackling environmental challenges “A new standalone Ministry of the Environment was established in November 2019 to supervise all government departments and institutions with an Environmental mandate that were in silos.
This amalgamation has enhanced the crosscutting of policies that are crucial for mainstreaming environmental governance into National Development Planning.”
The Minister also stated “Decades old legislations including a 50 year old Wildlife Act have been recently amended and enacted by Parliament.” He further noted that the country’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans have been reviewed in the last two years.
While discussing the dangers of plastic exposure to the environment, the Minister maintained that” … plastic and plastic waste management continue to pose an environmental hazard in Sierra Leone.”
As reported in September 2018- “ Our World in Data on Plastics”, Sierra Leone produced 96,655 tons of plastic waste in 2010. 84% of this contributes 0.1% of the global share of mismanaged plastic waste. The Minister, on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone, pledged support to Rwanda and Peru’s draft resolution on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution.
The Minister further stated that “Sierra Leone embraces development partner initiatives that promote a synergistic approach to knowledge exchange, technology transfer and capacity building”, whilst urging UNEP to facilitate the ongoing conversations among governments, environmentalists and NGOs to hasten the implementation of the requisite recommendations.
UNEA 5.2 is swiftly followed by the Special Session on UNEP@50 from 3rd to 4th March. The session is to be convened by His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, with attendance by heads of states. Prof. Jaward will represent His Excellency President Bio and deliver a statement commemorating UNEP@50 on his behalf in accordance with the theme “Strengthening UNEP for the implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”
Sierra Leone High Commission in Kenya