The Clock is Ticking for Sierra Leone’s Climate Crisis

The devastating mudslides that affected so many of our fellow citizens earlier this year should serve as a warning that Sierra Leone is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

It’s easy to forget, faced with our own everyday challenges, that climate change is a global emergency and that Sierra Leone is among the top ten per cent of nations that are most vulnerable to the damage it will cause.

This isn’t a problem that will only affect future generations, something that we can forget about, brush under a carpet and hope that our children and grandchildren will deal with it in time. The climate crisis is a challenge and a threat to us all today.

COP27, the latest global conference on climate change, is currently taking place at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. It’s appropriate that it is happening in Africa, since our continent will suffer most from the effects of climate change, and yet African nations are less able to afford to invest to offset some of the worst impacts. And since Africa has contributed less to the climate crisis in the first place, it is only right that we receive financial and other help in the next few years from the international community.

Promises have been made at previous COP events about the wealthier countries (those with the highest levels of carbon emissions) to support developing countries like Sierra Leone. It’s time those promises were fulfilled. The issue of high income countries fulfilling their climate finance obligations to developing countries isn’t about aid dependency: it’s about climate justice.

The developed world will come under pressure at this year’s event to make good on its $100 billion annual climate finance commitment and on the doubling of adaptation support to $40 billion by 2025.

COP27 will also debate the establishment and activation of a global early warning system for climate emergencies, a development that could save the lives and livelihoods of millions of Sierra Leonans.

Part of the fight against climate change is the challenge of developing and modernising agriculture practices in Sierra Leone, which is why I’m funding new agric-education centres to enhance innovation and work towards food security here.

As we work together for the kind of economic recovery we all need and want for our country, we must make sure that we face up honestly to the challenge of climate change, and that all new investment, from whatever source, is used to make us a better, fairer, more progressive and safer nation.