On Thursday 18 March 2021, biodiversity conservation and environmental protection took centre stage in Sierra Leone with the EU-funded launch of the first ever Conservation Trust Fund Strategic Plan (2021 -2025) at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex.
The launch was graced by Vice President Jalloh in the presence of developments partners as well representatives from relevant Ministries and MDAs, CSOs, NGOs and the private sector.
Executive Chair of the Conservation Trust Fund Mr Martin A. Foday recalled that the Fund was established in 2012 together with the National Protected Area Authority.
The Trust Fund provides a fiduciary role to mobilize resources to support the activities of the NPAA and serves as a source of sustainable financing for long-term biodiversity conservation and wildlife management in Sierra Leone.
The event was also timely to put focus on the alarming spate of environmental degradation and unsustainable exploitation of the country’s natural capital.
EU Ambassador Tom Vens underlined that the country’s economy is almost entirely dependent on its natural resources, as the vast majority of the population relies on the exploitation of land and marine resources for employment, income generation and food production. He warned: “The effect of rising sea levels on the coastal communities of Sierra Leone could be catastrophic, should the destruction of the mangrove forests continue at the same rate we are experiencing today.”
In his keynote address, VP Jalloh underscored the significant strides made with the establishment of the Ministry of the Environment, which now serves as the coordinating entity on all matters relating to environmental management and protection in Sierra Leone. He said the government is determined to ensure that the country’s environment is protected from further degradation and from uncontrolled depletion of natural resources.