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To mark EU Climate Diplomacy Week, the EU Delegation to Sierra Leone on 4th October organized an EU Youth Event on "Climate Change and the role of youth in building a sustainable society", bringing together numerous pupils and students from Freetown to discuss with EU and other key stakeholders, among which the Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Mayor of Freetown, civil society and climate activists.
In the run up to the event, 10 secondary schools were invited to participate in an art competition on the theme of climate change. Among the topics chosen by the students were the problems of deforestation, water and soil pollution and unsustainable waste management.
During a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Arnold D. Okoni-Williams, Head of Department at Fourah Bay College, EU Ambassador Tom Vens outlined EU's approach to climate action. "The EU will soon launch a European Green Deal, with the objective to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. This implies deep changes in our lifestyles, our consumption patterns, the way we produce and consume."
He also stressed the importance of setting high ambitions at global level and underlined youth's key role to foster the policy changes required to mitigate climate change and develop climate resilience.
"The youth have a great power to push for choices that depart from the "business as usual" path. They need to stand up and continue to pressure on all concerned for the change that is needed. The example of young Kenyan activists who succeeded in bringing the government to ban single-use plastic bags is a case in point."