Sierra Leone Validates Climate Change Adaptation Plan as Stakeholders Prepare for Action

Sierra Leone Validates Climate Change Adaptation Plan as Stakeholders Prepare for Action
May 23, 2019 2:22 pm News

Sierra Leone is ranked among countries highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change; in 2017, Sierra Leone ranked third most vulnerable nation after Bangladesh and Guinea Bissau to adverse effects of climate change (, 2017). In the midst of this, the National Government and development partners are committed to taking urgent actions critical to combatting climate change and related impacts. This objective aligns with Sustainable Development Goal 13: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” To this end, Sierra Leone is pursuing the development of a comprehensive Coastal Climate Change Adaptation Plan, and a national workshop was organized on April 2, 2019, to validate the Plan.

A group of men and women standing in front of a building and reading a banner which reads "Increasing Coastal Resilience in West Africa: Validation of Sierra Leone's Coastal Climate Change Adapatation Plan.
Participants at the CCAP Validation workshop


Organized by National Government with support from the  USAID-funded West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) Program and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the workshop sought to bring relevant stakeholders together to validate a first draft of the Plan. Over 50 participants drawn from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), civil society, media, local government councils, community representatives from across Sierra Leone attended. Delegates from WA BiCC’s three core regional partners: the Mano River Union (MRU), the Abidjan Convention and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) also participated.

Developed to address the specific challenges and opportunities of Coastal Sierra Leone, the Climate Change Adaptation Plan builds on experiences and lessons learned over the last three years of WA BiCC engagement working in Sierra Leone’s four Marine Protected Areas: Yawri Bay, Sherbro River Estuary, Scarcies River Estuary, and the Sierra Leone River Estuary.

Participants at the workshop provided a thoughtful and constructive review of the document, informed by presentations on the Plan itself and in the wider West African policy contexts within which it was developed. They then provided feedback that will shape it into a national document that speaks to the coastal resilience issues in Sierra Leone and how to address them.

Speaking at the event, the UNDP Resident Representative in Sierra Leone, Dr. Samuel Doe, expressed concerns about the future impacts of climate change, saying over 2 million people along the coastal areas in Sierra Leone are at risk or expected to be at risk from current and projected sea level rise. The combined effects of sea level rise and environmentally unsustainable natural resources management practices such as mangrove deforestation and sand mining are expected to contribute to accelerated rates of coastal recession and destruction of infrastructure if actions are not taken in the immediate and longer term.

Dr. Doe expressed delight on the collaboration between UNDP and WA BiCC on coastal risk management challenges in Sierra Leone. “These types of collaborations will ensure resources are effectively utilized towards achieving a common objective,” said Dr. Doe. “That way, resources can be salvaged and redirected to other areas of need.” He added that such partnerships are key to ensuring that more development results are achieved with the country’s available resources, accelerating the gains made towards sustainable growth.

He informed stakeholders that UNDP, in collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone, has secured a five-year funding opportunity from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to support the country’s actions towards strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity against climate risks with a focus on integrating climate change measures into national policies, strengthening institutional capacity, and increasing education and awareness-raising on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning.

Executive Director of Sierra Leone’s Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Mr. Tamba Emmanuel Nyanka, said, “The EPA is in full support of any intervention that is geared towards addressing climate change and environmental sustainability in Sierra Leone.”

A high table with 7 people (6 men and a woman).
The high table, from left to right: Tamba from EPA, Dr. Johnson from ECOWAS, Dr. Samuel Doe, UNDP RR, Patrick Pedia representing MRU, Andrea Representing NPAA, Richard Dacosta Representing Abidjan Convention and Paramount Chief Charles Coker representing Traditional Leaders.


Speaking on behalf of the Acting Executive Director of the National Protected Areas Authority (NPAA), Andrea Hafna acknowledged the support of USAID through WA BiCC and that of UNDP for hosting the event.

She expressed hope that the validation of the Plan would not mark the end of this concerted effort, “that is why I call on you all to think critically, to identify how we can collectively work together to operationalize this document,” Madam Hafna concluded.

The workshop also looked at how the Plan is to be operationalized once validated. Participants were divided into four groups composed of representatives from the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs); local authorities and councils, including paramount chiefs; as well as regional partners, civil society, and the media. They provided insights on the intersection of the proposed CCAP actions with their current mandates and how their specific institutions will carry out those actions considering resources, partnerships and spheres of influence.

Cross-section of the validation workshop participants.
Cross-section of the validation workshop participants.


Once finalized, the CCAP will serve as a guide to help government, national, and international practitioners and policy-makers who are seeking to address the challenges of climate change identify feasible interventions that could help increase the resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems in Sierra Leone with lessons for the rest of West Africa.


For more information and interviews, please contact:

UNDP Sierra Leone Communications Office via the email

WA BiCC Communications Office via the email

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