Freetown Friday 5 June 2020: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) joined the President of Sierra Leone – His Excellency Dr. Julius Madaa Bio and other national and international partners to launch a national tree planting exercise.
With the objective to minimise impacts of climate change and in fulfillment of the commitments in the country’s Medium-Term National Development Plan, the project aims at planting 5 million trees on approximately 14,706 hectares of degraded lands and coastal areas all over Sierra Leone. The project is expected to last for four years and the planting of trees will be done in 5 Phases. Phase 1 commences this year-on World Environment Day and will end in June 2021 with plans to have 1.2 million trees planted by then. Phases 2 to 5 will run from May 2021 through June 2024 with an expectation of 3.8 Million trees planted.
The project will generate much needed national and global benefits and the President summarized these as follows:
“This project is critical for various reasons: It will increase forest cover, enhance the capacity of carbon sequestration and biodiversity, and help reduce the adverse impact of climate change on the country; it will prevent the displacement of populations caused by flooding, as the trees will curtail water from heavy downpours; it will reduce early and erratic rainfall patterns leading reduced flooding and windthrow hazards”.
“The exercise will provide other ecosystems support functions such as water conservation; it will help to combat soil erosion along hills and slopes and aid soil conservation in agricultural areas; and finally the project will contribute to addressing several UN SDGs, the AU Agenda 2063, and Cluster 7 of our country’s Medium-Term National Development Plan”.
“The co-benefits from health, agriculture, employment, water conservation, to economic development, are too numerous to name in this brief statement. It will initially target 10,000 youths comprising at least 50 percent women.”
With this bold initiative, Sierra Leone answers to the United Nation (UN)’s Global call to increase awareness and global action for the protection of the environment
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Dr. Samuel Doe said that, Sierra Leone’s marking of the 2020 World Environment Day with the launch of the National tree planting and afforestation project was laudable. He noted that, UNDP, as the UN’s leading agency on Climate and Environment matters in Sierra Leone was standing with the Government to ensure the success of the project to help regenerate the environment in Sierra Leone.