UNDP’s Environment and Energy portfolio supports the Government of Sierra Leone’s efforts towards enhanced institutional and community capacities for sustained environmental management and Disaster Risk Reduction. Recognizing the acute environmental challenges faced by the country, UNDP works with key stakeholders to build on existing capacity and ongoing initiatives to address the issues of sustainable land management, renewable energy and natural resource management. As deforestation has significantly accelerated the negative impacts of climate change in Sierra Leone, UNDP is also focusing on the link between climate change and Disaster Risk Reduction.
Currently, UNDP’s Energy and Environment programme of support is being delivered through three interventions launched in 2013:
- The Preventive Development Project assists the Government in addressing land tenure and management, Natural Resource Governance, management of the extractives industry, sustainable energy, climate change and Disaster Risk Reduction priorities through institutional reforms and strengthening, policy development and enforcement as well as capacity building and the inclusion of women in environmental decision-making at all levels of governance.
- Focusing on water supply as it relates to the impacts of climate change, UNDP will work to enhance the abilities of key decision-makers in the public and private sectors involved in water provision to plan for and respond to climate change-associated risks, ensuring that existing water supply storage and distribution infrastructure is resilient to droughts and floods, amongst other natural disasters, through Public-Private Partnership agreements and with the support of local government.
- In the area of energy, UNDP will complement the Sierra Leone National Energy Policy and National Energy Strategic Plan, helping to ensure provision of and access to modern energy services for improving economic growth, productivity, wealth creation and the quality of life for the entire population. Through this support, UNDP seeks to strengthen institutional capacity on biomass resource utilization at all levels as well as increase investments in more efficient charcoal and improved cook stoves production.
UNDP’s support to Government and community Disaster Risk Reduction, climate change, sustainable land management and general environmental management initiatives in recent years have achieved notable results:
- In Bombali District, Northern Sierra Leone, three land management demonstration sites were identified and are now undergoing pilot land restoration and management demonstrations. A scale-up of this pilot to other districts across the country is planned.
- UNDP supported local partners at the community-level to construct fire belts using cassava crops to protect the land management demonstration sites, contributing to income generation for 50 youth from the communities and increased food security. Importantly, the fire belt will protect the ongoing land management activities from potential fires spreading from neighbouring communities.
- Working closely with the Office of National Security, civil society, local government and the Sierra Leone Police, development plans in 40 out of 149 chiefdoms have integrated Disaster Risk Reduction concerns and established Disaster Management Committees to put proactive risk reduction strategies in place.
- A nationwide disaster risk assessment was conducted and at-risk areas were identified. Target communities were supported to develop their own disaster risk preparedness plans involving the establishment of a Volunteer Corps. 265 community volunteers were trained in effective disaster response to reduce community vulnerability.
- In conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNDP supported Sierra Leone’s Meteorological Department to reestablish basic infrastructure and maintenance procedures for both real-time weather forecasting and climate applications to reduce the population's exposure to weather and climate hazards and provide farmers with accurate data to enhance their agricultural productivity. Experts from the United Kingdom Meteorological Office visited Sierra Leone to share expertise on weather stations and central database systems, enabling Department staff to further their knowledge and develop their skills.