REDD+ capacity building in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is particularly vulnerable to environmental disaster and the effects of climate change and variability, as its economy is highly dependent on natural resources and agriculture. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, Sierra Leone is a net carbon sink, meaning that it absorbs more carbon than it emits. Nevertheless, the alarming rates of deforestation (natural rainforest cover has been reduced from over 70% some decades ago to about 4% at present) and the carbon-intensive growth the country is experiencing (e.g. almost complete dependency on fossil fuels for energy) are slowly reducing the difference between carbon emissions and carbon absorption.

Developing sound forest governance

Overall objective:

Contribute to the establishment of low-carbon and pro-poor development, whilst enhancing the degree of environmental protection and maximising the benefits offered by environmental services.

REDD+ offers interesting opportunities to contribute to this general aim, as it allows protection of the country's forest resources whilst generating revenue from carbon resources, which can be used to promote development and reduce poverty levels.

Specific objective:

Generate the basic conditions for developing the institutional, technical and social experience and capacities necessary for sound forest governance.

In order to benefit from the REDD+ mechanism, Sierra Leone has to become "REDD ready", which entails generating basic data on forest resources and the dynamics behind deforestation, strengthening institutions, adapting the policy and regulatory framework, establishing stakeholder mechanisms, etc. The project will strengthen the Forestry Division to prepare the country for REDD+ mechanisms and promote low-carbon initiatives.

Main expected results and activities: 

The Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security is strengthened in terms of institutional structure, policy framework, technical capacities, law enforcement capacities and logistical support.

Technical assistance will be provided, a staff training needs assessment undertaken and training, seminars and workshops delivered to discuss policy options on the management of forest resources and REDD+. All stakeholders will be involved in capacity building activities.

Basic REDD+ readiness is completed.

The GCCA project will support the completion of a forest and carbon inventory; the development of a monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system for REDD+; the completion of an opportunity cost assessment for the conversion of forest areas; and the provision of inputs into the definition of a national REDD+ policy.

The level of awareness of climate change and its links to environmental degradation and development, particularly of children and women, increases significantly.

This involves preparing a climate change awareness and education strategy; and organising national and sub-national awareness raising campaigns.

The economics and dynamics of charcoal production and consumption are better understood. A strategy to pilot sustainable charcoal production is defined.

A study of charcoal production and consumption will be conducted; and sustainable charcoal production will be piloted with a view to showing its potential to reduce the pressure on forests.

A map of solar power potential is produced.

This involves mapping the potential for the generation of solar power in Sierra Leone, and overlaying it with the areas of demand for electricity. This will provide the information baseline needed to prepare a national solar energy strategy and action plan.

Key achievements: 
  • Support to the capacity development of Forestry Division staff, through training events and the support for their participation in key international fora (e.g. Carbon Expo, the world's largest multi-sectoral climate finance and carbon market Conference and Trade Fair).
  • The National Protected Areas Authority (NPAA) officially launched its activities on 28th January 2015.
  • National and subnational awareness raising campaigns.
Way forward: 

The Ebola virus outbreak crisis affected project implementation specially from August to December 2014 and some expected activities were not implemented (i.e. establishing multi stakeholder groups, school awareness).

The project will receive Technical Assistance in 2015, with a view to support progress in reaching the project objectives.

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