By Emma Black

In the heart of West Africa, lies Sierra Leone, a nation grappling with the ominous specter of climate change, as outlined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As a member of the Least Developed Countries Group within the UNFCCC, Sierra Leone faces unique challenges and vulnerabilities in the face of changing climatic patterns.

Recent Climate Trends

Gabril Kpaka direct of the meteorologists agency for water and climate change said Over the past decades, Sierra Leone has witnessed a steady rise in temperatures, with an average annual increase of 0.8°C since 1960. While rainfall patterns exhibit variability, the country has experienced a decrease in average annual rainfall. The consequences of these climatic shifts are dire, with increased occurrences of flooding and droughts, exacerbating health risks and threatening livelihoods.

Projections of Future Climate

Gabril Kpaka continue that ,The future appears even more precarious, with projections indicating a further temperature increase of 1.0 to 2.6°C by the 2060s. These rising temperatures are accompanied by an escalation in the frequency of ‘hot’ days and nights, posing significant challenges for communities already grappling with climate-related adversities. Moreover, coastal regions, vital for fisheries and livelihoods, face heightened risks due to ocean acidification and rising sea surface temperatures.

Adaptation Efforts

Rahall Joseph Rahall Executive Director – Green Scenery

Said  In response to these threats, Sierra Leone has undertaken proactive measures outlined in its National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA). A NAPA is a document prepared by a country as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process. It outlines the country’s specific vulnerabilities to climate change and identifies priority actions for adapting to those impacts These include the establishment of early warning systems, rehabilitation of climate monitoring stations, and capacity building initiatives. Furthermore, Sierra Leone has prioritized the development of renewable energy sources, integrated coastal zone management plans, and initiatives to enhance water and sanitation infrastructure.

Mitigation Strategies

 Despite its minimal contribution to global emissions, Sierra Leone is committed to mitigating its carbon footprint through sustainable practices. While unable to commit to quantified emission reduction targets, the nation aims to maintain low emission levels and pursue green growth pathways. Mitigation actions span diverse sectors, from sustainable forest management to the promotion of clean energy and conservation agriculture.

International Support

 Sierra Leone recognizes the need for international support to achieve its climate goals. Financing, technology transfer, and capacity building are crucial for implementing adaptation and mitigation strategies effectively. With an estimated requirement of approximately $900 million, Sierra Leone seeks robust partnerships to navigate its climate resilience journey.

Irish Aid Contributions

The support of international partners, such as Irish Aid, plays a pivotal role in bolstering Sierra Leone’s climate resilience efforts. Contributions to organizations like Concern Worldwide and GOAL facilitate community resilience-building, water access improvement, and environmental programming, underscoring the collaborative approach necessary to combat climate change.

In conclusion, Sierra Leone stands at a critical juncture in its battle against climate change. With proactive adaptation measures, ambitious mitigation strategies, and steadfast international support, the nation endeavors to forge a path towards a green, resilient future for generations to come. As the rising tides of climate change loom large, Sierra Leone remains steadfast in its commitment to safeguarding its people, environment, and prosperity against the onslaught of nature’s fury.

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