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 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