Minister of Planning pledges Sierra Leone’s commitment to climate change

During the 112th session of Council of Ministers of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr Francis Kai-kai pledged Sierra Leone’s commitment to the climate change.

This session was held virtually for three days with the Sierra Leone delegation led by the Minister of Planning and Economic Development and was attended by the Sierra Leone Ambassador to Belgium, H.E Samuel Tamba Musa and Mr. Saifu George, First Secretary in the Embassy.

The Session considered the report of the Secretary-General of the OACPS and the report of the OACPS Committee of Ambassadors submitted to the Council of Ministers for adoption.

 Key areas the Minister highlighted in an interview after the meeting was that of climate change, biodiversity and the resolution of the new name for the new partnership agreement which is the Samoa Agreement which has been endorsed by the Council.

This New Partnership-Agreement was initialed by both the OACPS and the EU in April, 2021 following negotiations by both sides and is to be signed later in 2021 or early 2022 in Samoa following the completion of procedures for approval.

As a country where fisheries remain a vibrant sector of the economy, the Minister of Economic Development endorsed the presentation on the state of play of the fisheries negotiations by the Foreign Minister of Jamaica, Kamina Johnson-Smith.

Minister Kai-Kai then committed Sierra Leone to the outcome of the next steps of negotiations on the matter.

 During the plenary proceedings relating to the presentation by the Secretary-General of the OACPS strategic plan of the organisation, Dr. Francis Kai-Kai made an intervention on the role of member states in the preparation of the strategic plan. He drew attention to the lessons learned from the European Development Fund (EDF) and counted on the preparedness of member states in terms of the benefits envisaged from the new partnership arrangement with the EU.

On the issue of climate change and climate financing, the Minister said in the interview that “climate change is a universal issue which we have recognized a long time ago” and as a country, he maintained, Sierra was very vulnerable to climate change in relation to some studies which have ranked the country as the third most vulnerable country to the affairs of climate change in the world.

He disclosed that Sierra Leone will continue to prioritize any action that would help mitigate the impact of climate change and the issue of biodiversity which contributes to climate change. He expressed Sierra Leone’s determination to be part of this global momentum to deal with climate change and sustainable development.  He expressed the willingness to support any legislation or resolution that would enable regulate the exploitation and ensure the utilization and conservation of our resources.

Another crucial area was one that had to do with the issue of digital connectivity and digital solutions programme to strengthen the resilience of education, health and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises systems to COVID-19 in ACPS countries.

With education being the flagship initiative of this government, Dr Francis Kai-Kai maintained that “we continue to support free, quality education” as according to the Minister, “22% of our national budget goes to this sector and a reasonable one goes to health and that of agriculture”. These are three legs of the flagship programme the Minister emphasized to promote human capital development and which the government remains very supportive of in terms of the resilience of the country to development.

Contact

Betty Milton 

Information Attachè

+32 467605529

information.attache@be.slembassy.gov. sl

Sierra Leone Ambassador to Belgium engages EEAS

By Betty Milton | Information Attache Belgium

The Sierra Leone Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, Kingdom of Netherlands, France, Greece, Dutch-of Luxemburg, Vatican and European Union Ambassador Samuel Tamba Musa has met with Mr. Richard Young, Head of  West Africa division  of the European union External Action Services (EEAS).

The meeting was held at the EEAS Building in Schuman, Brussels.

In his remarks, Ambassador Samuel Tamba Musa thanked Mr. Richard YOUNG, Head of Division, and his team for accepting the Embassy’s request for a meeting.

Stating further that the meeting is geared towards establishing a direct link with the EEAS and to inform the team about some of the transformations taking place in Sierra Leone, noting the opportunities and challenges and possibility of intensifying cooperation.

The Ambassador noted the importance to connect with the Department directly as to exchange ideas and build relationships and the need for the two sides to continue their collaboration to help Sierra Leone.

Ambassador Musa stated that as Mr. Richard YOUNG has toured and worked a lot in Africa, he must be familiar with the situations in the continent, revealing that Sierra Leone has achieved a lot of transformation through the partnership with the European Union.

The issues raised by the Sierra Leone Ambassador Samuel Tamba Musa included the EU-SL Cooperation, the MIP and current pipeline,  digitalization- building scientific and technological capacity, Green deal operationalization, Infrastructure support, Investment plans and Schengen Visa (EEAS).

Sierra Leone’s Ambassador highlight some of the achievements made by the Government as it has removed the death penalty from the law books and has also repealed the libel law which was an impediment to the practice of journalism in Sierra Leone.

In the area of peace, he stressed “the Government has set up Peace Commission following peace conference involving key stakeholders including all political parties and civil society for the consolidation of peace in the country”.

The government has rolled out the free quality education and developed a digitalization strategy and is committed to reinforcing the support for the digital technologies and services such as access to education, health and governance.

Further revealing that the government is deepening decentralization and has revised the Sexual offences act, set up the Sexual offences court and at an advanced stage with the gender empowerment bill.

On the issue of the Schengen Visa he said this remains a thorny issue in Sierra Leone as people have to travel out of Sierra Leone to be issued with visa. That ways be explored to see how the EU could help facilitate the issuance of Schengen visa in Freetown.

In his statement, the Head of the EEAS West Africa division, Mr.  Richard Young expressed satisfaction for the initiative taken to  visit by the Ambassador and delegation.

He commended the Government for the steps taken in the various areas highlighted by the Ambassador.

Noting that the death penalty is of concern to the EU given the challenges associated with situations where there are weak judicial systems, and where a person will not be given a second chance when once they have been sentenced so he appreciated the effort of the government.

He highlighted the priority areas for the EU including Human capital development, energy, education and the environment, which are being elaborated between the EU delegation and the government of Sierra Leone.

On the issue of the Schengen Visa, Mr. Young highlighted the challenges associated with the Schengen visa issue on the EU side. And that this issue he emphasized, requires careful dialogue.

The EEAS is the European Union’s diplomatic service. It helps the EU’s foreign affairs chief – the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – carry out the Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to EU Elected VP of Sustainable Development Committee for OACPS

Brussels, Belgium, Friday 19 February, 2021- Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and accredited to six other countries and the European Union (EU), Ambassador Samuel Tamba Musa has been elected as Vice President of the Sustainable Development Committee of the Organisation of Africa, Caribbean, Pacific States (OACPS).

  At the same time, Ambassador Musa will be representing the West Africa Group of Ambassadors on the Committee.

The focus areas of the Committee include rural development and food security; environment and climate change; research for sustainable development; education; health; information society; and other Intra OACPS cooperation programmes, which are aligned with the New Direction manifesto, the Medium-Term Development plan and on-going work by the New Direction to achieve the  Sustainable Development Goals(SDGS).

 Taking up the position as Vice President, Ambassador Tamba Musa said he was very happy to be playing a representational role that placed him in a position to use his experience and skills in putting relevant contextual issues for national development at the centre of global discussions to benefit his country and other member countries of the OACPS.

 “It is an opportunity to be involved in productive partnerships for sustainable development in the context of the work of OACPS,”Ambassador Tamba Musa said.

 “The Government of Sierra Leone under the Leadership of His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio is increasingly  investing in Free Quality

 Education, Infrastructure development, Health, Agriculture, Science, Technology and Innovations, taking into consideration factors that reinforce sustainability,” HE Musa concluded.

 The Committee of Ambassadors is the second decision-making body of the OACPS. It acts on behalf of the Council of Ministers between ministerial sessions. It comprises Ambassadors from every State of OACPS who assist the Council of Ministers in its functions and in carrying

out any mandate assigned as well as monitoring the implementation of the OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement with a view to achieving its stated objectives.

Contact

Betty Milton 

Information Attachè

+32 467605529

information.attache@be.slembassy.gov. sl

Sierra Leone participates in the 111th OACPS session of Council of Ministers.

At the  111th session of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS-EU) the Minister of Planning and Economic Development Dr. Francis Kaikai expressed ” deep appreciation for the progress on the negotiations for a new OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement”

Noting “with satisfaction the efforts at all levels aimed at ensuring a more meaningful cooperation with mutual and complementary interests”.

The delegation was led by the  Minister of Planning and Economic Development Dr. Francis Kaikai which comprised  of Mr Solomon Jamiru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation and Ambassador Samuel Tamba Musa, accredited to the EU.

At the meeting which was held virtually on the 14, 15 and 17 December, Minister Kaikai reiterated that they have been following with keen interest the state of play of the “post-Cotonou negotiations and the report of the Committee of Ambassadors and that of the report by the Ministerial Central Negotiating Group(CNG).

“We note that the Negotiators of the OACPS and the EU have signed off on the text of a broad 20-year partnership deal to succeed the Cotonou Agreement”.

Speaking about the new treaty, which is expected to enter into force in December 2021, the Minister of Planning and Economic development stated that they should take the opportunity to reflect during this period on one of the critical decisions they have taken which is the closure of national and regional authorising offices, ” given the changes in the structure of the agreement, a common foundation to all countries, which sets out shared values and priorities, along with three regional protocols for Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific”.

Adding there is need for clarity in the months ahead on the governance and implementation structures that will replace the National and Regional authorizing offices as they will cease to exist in the new agreement.

“We note that the ratification process will proceed throughout 2021. This will obviously give space to make some adjustments to the text before they are finally initialed”.

Sierra Leone, the Minister went on, attaches great importance to the governance and implementation structures for thematic areas, ranging from sustainable development and growth, to human rights and peace and security in the new deal geared towards empowering each region. To this end, Sierra Leone proposes that the governance and implementation structures be featured in the final reflections before the new deal is approved, signed and ratified by all parties.

 H.E Georges Rebelo Pinto did not attend the meeting because he has been affected by Covid-19.

The Assistant Secretary General( ASP) H.E. Prof. Palamagamba John spoke about Intra ACP Sustainable Widlife Management (SWM) Programme white Paper and policy brief titled “build back better in a post COVID-19 world- Reducing future wildlife-borne spill-over of disease to humans”.

The Programme highlights the importance of effective implementation of integrated public health solutions, such as the “One Health Approach”.

The ASP disclosed that an addendum to the Programme Financing Agreement for a €1 million top-up was signed, in August 2020 and this will allow the Climate Support Facility (CSF) to continue implementing its demand-driven technical assistance to countries and regions up until May 2022.

The Programme goal he said, is to contribute to fostering sustainable development, through the prevention of desertification, preservation of ecological biodiversity, sustainable use of water management in Members of the OACPS, by improving the decision-making process through informed adaptation options to climate variability and change.

The overall objective is to strengthen the climate service value chain through building the capacities of decision-makers at all levels to make effective use of climate information and services.

At the end of the meeting, the Council approved eight decisions and two resolutions on key issues affecting its Member States (MS) and pertaining to the administrative and financial management of the Organisation during the 111th session of the OACPS Council of Ministers.

The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) is a group of countries in Africa  the Caribbean and the Pacific  that was created by the Georgetown Agreement in 1975. Formerly known as African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), the organisation’s main objectives are sustainable development and poverty reduction within its member states, as well as their greater integration into the world’s economy.

 

Contact

Betty Milton

Information Attaché

Brussels, Belgium

+32467605529

information.attache@be.slembassy.gov. sl