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Agency’s Project ID:      

GEFSEC Project ID:      

Country: Sierra Leone

Country Eligibility: Sierra Leone is eligible for funding under paragraph 9(b) of the instrument, and meets all other eligibility requirements for GEF funding

Project Title: National Capacity Needs Self-Assessment for Global Environmental Management – Sierra Leone

GEF Implementing Agency: United Nations Environment Programme

National Executing Agency: Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment

Duration: 12 months

GEF Focal Area: MFA

GEF Operational Program: EA

GEF Strategic Priority: Capacity Building – CB2

Estimated Starting Date: May 2004

IA Fees: US $32,535

Financing Plan (US$)

GEF Project/Component





Sub-Total GEF



GEF Agency


Gov’t Contribution PDF-A


Gov’t Contribution Project


Sub-Total Co-financing:


Total Project Financing:


Record of endorsement on behalf of the Government (Operational Focal Point):

Stephen S Jusu, Director of Environmental Protection Department, Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment

Date: February 17th 2004


Proposal for GEF Funding for
National Capacity Needs Self-Assessment for Global Environmental Management (NCSA)

Convention Participation


Date of Ratification/ Accession

National Focal Point



Momodu A. Bah, Environmental Protection Department, Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment



Denis S. Lansana, Meteorological Department, Ministry of Transport and Communication



Stephen S Jusu, Environmental Protection Department, Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment

This proposal has been prepared in accordance with GEF policies and procedures and meets the standards of the GEF Project Review Criteria for NCSA approval.

IA Co-ordinator

Ahmed Djoghlaf

Division of GEF Co-ordination, UNEP

Project Contact Person

Abdul-Majeid Haddad

NCSA Task Manager, UNEP

Date: 19 March 2004

Tel. and email: +254 20 624088

List of Acronyms
BASED-SL Bolstering Agricultural Sector Development in Sierra Leone

CBAN Community Biodiversity Action Network

BSAP Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

CBD Convention on Biological Diversity

CBO Community Based Organisations

CBR Centre for Biodiversity Research

CHEC-SIL Commonwealth Human Ecology Council of Sierra Leone

COP Conference of Parties of CBD

CSSL Conservation Society of Sierra Leone

EFA Environmental Foundation for Africa

EIA Environmental Impact Assessment

EPD Environment Protection Department

FBC Fourah Bay College

FD Forestry Division

GEF Global Environment Facility

GOSL Government of Sierra Leone

IBA Important Bird Areas

IPRSP Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

NEAP National Environmental Action Plan

NCSA National Capacity needs Self-Assessment

NGO Non-Governmental Organisations

NUC Njala University College

PMT Project Management Team

UNCBD United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity

UNCCD United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

UNFCCC United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

UNEP United Nations Environment Program

OREINT Organisation for Research and Extension of Intermediate Technology

SAPA Social Action for Poverty Alleviation

SC Steering Committee

SWOT/L Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats/Limitations

WCB Wildlife Conservation Branch

WG Working Groups

Section I. Background, Context and Related Work
Physical and Socio-economic Background

  1. Sierra Leone, with a land area of approximately 72,000 km2, is located within the Upper Guinean Rainforest Ecoregion, a region recognised as one of the hotspots for biodiversity conservation. While several neighbouring countries retain a sizeable portion of their forests, Sierra Leone has lost nearly 70% of its forest cover, with less than 5% of the original forest remaining in isolated forest reserves. Much of the forest was lost through logging and timber supply to Britain during the colonial era. Ever since, timber extraction continues in the country without an adequate Forest Management Act. In addition, current deforestation is escalated as a product of the rapidly expanding human population requiring more agricultural land and firewood, with past legislation favouring such anthropogenic activities at the expense of forest conservation.

  1. Broadly, there are 7 classifications of vegetation types, and these include moist rainforest, semi-deciduous, montane, mangrove, savannah, farmbush and swamp forests. Farmbush arises from slash-and-burn agriculture and is becoming the dominant vegetation type in Sierra Leone. The savanna is restricted to the northern parts of the country and is increasingly being subjected to frequent fires. Most of the moist and semi-deciduous forests are located within protected areas, often on tops of mountain and slopes.

  1. The country is divided into four main relief regions; coastline, interior lowland plains, interior plateau and mountains. The coastline or coastal plains is relatively gentle and comprised of estuarine swamps, terraces, alluvial plains and beach ridges. The interior lowland plains extend from the coastal terraces in the west to the east of Sierra Leone, occupying approximately 43% of the land area. At the edge of the lowland plains are the interior plateaux, made up of granite that runs from the northeast of the country to the southeast. In the north and east of the country are found two of the highest mountains, with the Loma Mountains being the highest in West Africa, west of Mount Cameroon. The highest peak on the Loma Mountains is Bintumani, which rises to 1945 m, while Sankan Biriwa on the Tingi Hills, rises to 1805m. West of these two mountains, is the Freetown Peninsula, which is also made up of dissected peaks, with the two highest peaks being Sugar Loaf and Picket Hill. The hills on the Freetown peninsula are unique to this region, and found nowhere else in the sub-region.

  1. The natural landscape of Sierra Leone is comprised of diverse ecosystems including lowland rainforest, montane forest, freshwater swamps, mangrove/coastal and marine ecosystems. The level of species richness and endemism is incomplete for all ecosystem types in the country, but available data points to the lowland rainforest ecosystem as being biologically diverse in terms of species richness and endemism than all other ecosystems. Typical endemic mammal species in the lowland rainforest ecosystem include Cephalophus zebra, Cephalophus jentinki, Hyperolius picturatus, Agelastes meleagrides and Cercopithecus diana diana. Endangered animal species include Pan troglodytes verus, Loxodonta africana cyclotis, Piliocolobus badius badius, Procolobus verus, Cercopithecus diana diana, Atherurus africanus, Panthera pardus, Hylochoerus meinertzhageni ivoriensis, Scotopelia ussheri and Malimbus ballmanni. Threatened and endangered tree species of the lowland rainforest ecosystem include Didelotia idae, Copaifera salinkounda, Mansonia altissima, Antrocaryon micraster, Pterygota macrocarpa, Afzelia africana and Tieghemella heckelii.

  1. Several categories of protected areas exist in Sierra Leone, with only one national park. The current area coverage of protected areas is still less than 5%, with some of the major ones including Gola forests, Western Area Forest Reserve, Outamba-Kilimi National Park, Loma Mountains, Tingi Hills, Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary and Kangari Hills.

  1. Human impact on the natural ecosystem and its resources has been severe. Once dominated by forests, the country now has less than 5% of mature forest remaining. Logging, mineral exploitation and slash-and-burn agriculture have all taken a toll on the country’s rich biodiversity. The energy sector is dominated by biomass energy, accounting for over 75% of total energy consumption. Current practices of the production, transformation, and end use of biomass are inefficient and unsustainable.

  1. Sierra Leone is vulnerable to the impacts of potential changes in future climate. Future global climate changes will disrupt the agricultural system with current food production rate not keeping with population growth, flooding of coastal areas with obvious signs of sea erosion in several areas and drowning of low-lying areas. Hence, there is need for Sierra Leone to develop new and/or adapt existing policies and programs of social and economic development that can take into account the potential impacts of climate change.

  1. Sierra Leone has an estimated population of over 5 million people with an estimate of 60% living below the poverty line, and with a very high density compared to any other country in West Africa. Certain regions in the country carry the bulk of the population, including the Freetown peninsula, the Kono, Kenema and Bo districts. The northern part of the country is sparsely populated. Sierra Leone’s economy suffered a major stagnation in the decade leading to the civil war and thereafter. A large number of people live below the poverty line. The economy is largely dependent on the extraction of minerals (such as diamonds, rutile, bauxite and gold) and subsistence agricultural practices. Nearly 80% of the labour force is engaged in agriculture, largely slash-and-burn, with rice cultivation making up the bulk of the subsistence activity. Industrial development is still in the formative period, with import substitution comprising the major industrial activity. Development in the country has stagnated for too long, with Sierra Leone being frequently ranked as the least under-developed country. Illiteracy is very high, life expectancy low and large sections of the population remain unemployed (especially among the youths).

  1. Between 1991-99 efforts to stabilise the economy were interrupted by recurrent outbreaks of violence and political instability. Economic activity began to recover in 2000 mainly thanks to the expansion of external assistance following the peace process. In 2001 GDP rose 5.4%, increasing investor confidence, promoting greater movement of people, as well as a 74% increase in power supply and greater agricultural output. The Government has strengthened its co-ordination mechanisms including, in July 2001, establishing the National Recovery Committee (NRC) to support the re-establishment of state authority nationwide. Strategy, policy and co-ordination mechanisms are being set up in each sector. Following a successful democratic election in 2002, donor confidence and investment by the private sectors have increased considerably. National security has also increased with a newly trained and well-equipped military and police force.

  1. A rising human population largely dependent on the use of its natural resources cannot afford to ignore environmental concerns related to biodiversity, desertification and climate change. Article 7(b) of chapter 11 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone underscores the importance of environmental stewardship, by giving support and confidence to the Government to harness the natural resources of the country in a sustainable manner, in order to promote national prosperity and an efficient, dynamic and self-reliant economy.

  1. The importance of environmental stewardship is being echoed through all sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture and the mining sectors. In a recent move to ensure food security in the country, the agriculture ministry has developed a framework called Bolstering Agricultural Sector Development in Sierra Leone (BASED-SL), and one of six key components is intended to “enhance sustainable utilization, conservation and productivity of forest resources”. Recently, the Environment Protection Department has mandated the use of EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for all major development projects to ensure that economic development does not continue at the current rate and at the expense of environmental sustainability.

  1. With Sierra Leone currently experiencing political stability, and peace now firmly established in the country after 10 years of civil conflict, enormous challenges lie ahead, in particular: rehabilitation, reconstruction and development of a vibrant economy based on the exploitation of available natural resources. Natural resources that provide Sierra Leoneans with livelihood and economic prosperity require a healthy environment. Natural resources in Sierra Leone are necessary to promote sustainable economic development but require adequate investment in the development of capacity including investment in human capital that will ensure the proper utilization and management of natural resources.

Environmental Institutions
Government Ministries and Institutions

  1. Several institutions play important roles in ensuring a sound environment for all Sierra Leoneans, including government institutions (e.g. Forestry Division, Environmental Protection Division, Wildlife Conservation Branch, etc), academia (e.g. Centre for Biodiversity Research, Njala University College and Fourah Bay College) and non-governmental organisations (Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, Environmental Foundation for Africa, Green Scenery, Friends of the Earth, CHEC-SIL, CBAN, OREINT) and local communities and their associated organisations throughout the country.

  1. The Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment is the lead agency for the UNCCD, UNCBD and UNFCCC. Its Environmental Protection Unit was originally established in 1995 to coordinate and monitor all environmental policies, programmes, projects and activities in the country. This was formalised under the Environmental Protection Act of 2000. The EPD is empowered under this act to put in place all necessary mechanisms to protect the environment. It acts as the focal point for all national and international environmental issues relating to Sierra Leone, and has representation on the boards and committees of government line ministries and related institutions in a bid to promote effective collaboration for sound environmental management. The EPD headed by a Director, is supported by 3 Senior Environmental Officers and 4 Regional Environmental Officers.

  1. The Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security is responsible for executing provisions of the Forest Law and management of all state and some chiefdom forests. The FD is also mandated to encourage management planning on all forests, emphasising agro-forestry, fuel-wood management and fire control. Specific goals of the FD include forest protection to reduce deforestation to half its current rate, particularly in areas at risk to conservation of soil and water; to increase the protected area network by 13% at the turn of the century, including buffer zone establishment with community participation around reserves; integrated management of mangroves; collaboration with the Agriculture Division to promote agro-forestry techniques to farmers; increase fuel-wood supply to exceed current demand, through plantations and better management of existing fuel-wood resources.

  1. The Wildlife Conservation Branch is under the Forestry Division and is responsible for implementing provisions of the Wildlife Conservation Act and enforcement of laws contained therein. It is headed by a Game Superintendent and supervised by the Director of Forests. The branch has the mandate to manage all of the nation’s protected areas.

  1. The Ministry of Mineral Resources recognizes the negative impact of mining on the environment, and concerns expressed by the public have resulted in the passing of a new mining policy and legislation, which make provision for the rehabilitation of mined out areas. The government is keen on ensuring “that prospecting, exploration, mining and processing of mineral resources proceed in an environmentally sound manner”. The mining code requires that large and medium scale mines submit an EIA prior to the application for a mining license, and that appropriate steps be taken to mitigate damage caused by mining activities. Such mitigating actions can include reclamation and regeneration.

  1. The Agriculture Division through its BASED-SL initiatives has developed a new programme framework to enhance food security in the country. One of its key components is to enhance sustainable utilization, conservation and productivity of forest resources to arrest deforestation and supply the needs of people living in urban centres. Several activities are planned under this component and include the collection of baseline data on forest reserves and forest biodiversity; monitoring and protection of forest reserves and protected forests; promotion and development and adaptation of improved forest trees; establishment of a mechanism for harvesting and replenishing of forest resources on a sustainable yield basis; protection of watersheds and development of wildlife sanctuaries; promotion of agro-forestry and community woodlots; erosion and bush fire control and promotion of forestation/reforestation.

  1. Several Government ministries are concerned with desertification and climate change issues. The Department of Meteorology in the Ministry of Transport and Communication is the implementing agency for climate change issues, while the Environmental Protection Department is the coordinating agency. Several core institutions are also involved in climate change issues and include Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Food Security, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport and Communication, Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Energy and Power, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Marine Resources and Ministry of Development and Economic Planning.

  1. Sierra Leone has a National Environment Board (NEB) with diverse membership that is very influential in policy matters and in the implementation of the environmental legislations. A National Environmental Committee (NEC) has also been set up, along with a Technical Environment Committee with a mandate to assess specific environmental issues. The National Environmental Committee was established to ensure coordination among sectoral agencies, and comprises representatives from almost all sectoral ministries including agriculture, energy and power, mines, tourism, health, social services, foreign affairs as well as housing and environment. The Technical Environmental Committee assesses specific environmental issues such as the occurrence of toxic materials on land or in marine locations and the NCSA will benefit from these experiences.

  1. The National Environment Board has the following responsibilities:

(a) facilitates coordination, cooperation and collaboration among government ministries, local authorities and other governmental agencies in all areas relating to environmental protection;

(b) reviews national and sectoral environmental policies and make such recommendations or proposal it may think necessary to the Environment minister;

(c) reviews Environmental Impact Assessment prepared pursuant to Environmental Protection Act and make appropriate recommendations to the Director of Environment;

(d) investigates any activity, occurrence or transaction which it considers likely to have or result harmful consequences to the environment;

(e) advises on measures necessary to prevent or minimize such consequences;

(f) advises the Environment Minister on areas of environmental protection and control requiring special or additional measures, indicating the priorities and specific goals to be achieved;

(g) undertakes specific studies and research aimed at developing strategies for the protection of the Environment and make appropriate recommendations to the Environment Minister; and

(h) considers any other matters which may be referred to it by the Environment Minister and makes appropriate recommendations or proposals thereon.

The President through an initial recommendation by the Director of Environment (NFP) nominates these NEB members. The presidential nomination is based on the experience of each of the candidates in the environmental management sectors in Sierra Leone.

  1. Sierra Leone is divided into four regions including the Western Area, Southern Province, Eastern Province and Northern Province. Currently, there is a move towards decentralisation of political functions in the country, which is also mirrored in the activities of the Environmental Protection Department. Through its regional offices, the Environment Division has continued to foster productive dialogue, and encouraged increased collaboration between different stakeholders in the environmental sector with the aim of identifying environmental research policy and management priorities through seminars, workshops and periodic fora which bring together stakeholders (government departments, NGOs, research institutions, private sector agencies and local community organisations) and facilitating networking and other forms of continued contact between them. To implement environmental policies at local level, Provincial, District and Chiefdom Environmental Boards are established, though there is need for capacity building for these to function well.

NGOs and academic institutions

  1. Njala University College has a Faculty of Environmental Sciences with four academic departments focusing on teaching and research activities on the environment. A four-year training program at the undergraduate level and a one year taught MSc program is providing opportunities for training more people to fill in positions that are critical for the country to engage in sustainable development as well as protect its natural resources. However, the college suffered severely in the hands of the rebels during the 10-year civil war. Several of the college’s infrastructures were destroyed including entomological collections dating back to the early 1900s, as well as the National Herbarium housed in the Department of Biological Sciences. The college is currently operating from Freetown in temporary infrastructure provided by the Government of Sierra Leone.

  1. Several local NGOs are active on the ground in areas related to the environment and include the Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA), the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL), Green Scenery, Friends of the Earth and the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council of Sierra Leone (CHEC-SIL). EFA’s mission in Sierra Leone is to restore and protect the environment and has experience operating in conflict zones, humanitarian and refugee operations, post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation, and the transition to sustainable development. The mandate of CSSL is to promote the conservation and wise use of Sierra Leone’s natural resources through research, education, advocacy and support to site management groups. The mission statement of the Council for Human Ecology (CHEC-SIL) is to support the Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) in promoting through education, policy implementation and project execution, the extension of the science of ecology as applied to the human environment in the interest of sustainable human well-being and quality of life. The goals of OREINT are to promote self-sustaining rural development through the promotion of agriculture and appropriate technology to enhance and improve the socio-economic status of the rural poor.

  1. All development NGOs operating in Sierra Leone are registered with the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning. A policy guideline issued by the Development Secretary guides the activities of the NGOs in line with Government policies. It also establishes implementation mechanism for programs and projects, and requires progress reports from all NGOs operating in the country. In addition, there is an umbrella organization for all NGOs operating in the country. SLANGO (Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organizations) is the body responsible for advocacy in coordinating the activities of local NGOs to ensure compliance with government policies. In addition, every ministry has a national NGO focal point, and serves as the middleman between Government and the respective NGO in the proper implementation of projects. SLANGO organizes monthly inter-agency fora take place at which the NGOs and international agencies report.

Environmental Programmes and Projects under the Rio Conventions

  1. In 1996, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Marine Resources requested, on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL), assistance from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to formulate the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) and then, accordingly, draft the Country Report to the CBD Conference of Parties (COP). The process was interrupted by the period of political instability, but restarted in 2000-2001.

  1. The Focal Point function for the CBD is housed within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFF) and the Project Manager for the BSAP was appointed in 2001. A Steering Committee was formed to supervise the BSAP process and to provide overall policy and technical direction and guidance. Members of the Steering Committee were drawn from a wide range of stakeholders including representatives from the public sector (government and public institutions), civil society (NGOs and CBOs), private sector and donor organizations. In 2002, a team of National Consultants was contracted to undertake a number of key studies, which contributed to the development of the BSAP reports.

  1. The first National Stakeholders’ workshop on the BSAP was held in Freetown from 10th to 13th September 2002. The workshop reviewed and discussed the draft National Consultants Report, made recommendations on the way forward and adopted the Biodiversity Vision for Sierra Leone. Moreover, six provincial workshops were held which were largely participatory and concentrated on major topics including agriculture, forestry, wildlife, fisheries and benefit sharing. The second National Workshop of August 2003 was the culmination of the above-mentioned processes. Three key documents have been produced including a strategy, action plan and the current status of biodiversity in the country. Sixteen (16) project concepts were developed and a donor’s roundtable conference is planned for early 2004 to solicit funds for the implementation of the actions and the specific projects. The draft National BSAP Reported was presented for validation and built the basis for Sierra Leone’s submission to the CBD-COP.

Land Degradation & Desertification

  1. The Government of Sierra Leone signed and ratified the UNCCD on September 25, 1997 and the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment was designated the lead agency. The national focal point was appointed and is attached to the Environment Protection Department in the same lead agency ministry. Sierra Leone is yet to develop an Action Plan to combat desertification but the EPD has prepared a country report that focuses on national policies and strategies that call for coordination and stimulation of national environmental management and the promotion of environmental education and awareness to minimize land degradation in the country.

  1. Poverty is one of many indirect causes of desertification, as the human population depletes forests for resources such as fuelwood/charcoal, building poles and slash-and-burn agricultural activities. The Government of Sierra Leone recognizes that the full implementation of UNCCD would constitute a major vehicle for alleviating poverty. Implementing the convention on land degradation and desertification requires coordination among sectoral agencies.

  1. The major scientific and technical activities underway in Sierra Leone that are in conformity with the principles of the convention include the woodfuel programme, awareness raising of and galvanising public support for sustainable natural resource use and management using environmental education initiatives by Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The scientific community is also gradually establishing and operating a natural resources information and retrieval system and environmental management skills database. This move is in response to the poor environmental information systems in the country. To realise the aims and objectives of the UNCCD at all levels, the Permanent Inter-state Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel and the African Development Bank have all been involved in providing assistance for the Action Plan to evolve.

Climate Change

  1. The implementation of the project document entitled “Enabling Sierra Leone’s capacity to fulfil its obligations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” has started with the appointment of a national project coordinator and the creation of a working group. The Department of Environment and the national executing agency, Meteorological Department, have also appointed four expert group leaders for Green House Gas in the following areas: inventory, mitigation analysis, impact vulnerability and adaptation. These group leaders are also members of the working group. The main function of the working group is to ensure effective coordination among the various expert groups and to see that the stated objectives of the project are met to fulfil the country’s obligations to the UNFCCC.

  1. The project initiation workshop took place on 22nd and 23rd July 2003 in Freetown, with a second workshop recently held (22nd November – 1st December 2003) at the Tower Hill Office of the Climate Change Project. The working group on Green House Gas inventory presented preliminary findings to stakeholders and an international consultant.

  1. Upon completion of the project, it is expected that the following will be achieved:

  • Strengthened local institutions that are capable of coordinating and undertaking the activities that are necessary to develop policy options related to climate change and to comply with the provisions of the UNFCCC,

  • A policy dialogue process on climate change established among government, universities, NGOs and industry that promote the understanding of climate change issues and linkages to national development,

  • An inventory of GHG emissions and the identification of sink using the accepted IPCC methodologies,

  • Cost-effective policy options for mitigation or adaptation strategies,

  • Enhanced capabilities in climate change assessment, mitigation and project development.

Other environmental strategies and policies

  1. Sierra Leone has introduced a number of other national strategies and policies but their successful implementation has remained elusive due to the ten-year internal conflict. The strategies include the National Conservation Strategy (1985), the Tropical Forestry Action Plan (1990) and The National Environmental Action Plan (1994), each of which call for coordination and stimulation of national environmental management and promotion of environmental awareness.

  1. The National Conservation Strategy (NCS) was developed in 1985 with reference to the World Conservation Strategy and the Lome III Convention. The strategy identified major environmental problems and those related to environmental policies, laws and institutions. Six pilot projects, a natural resources expertise profile and a donor round table conference were proposed. The Tropical Forestry Action Plan (TFAP) described forest ecology in Sierra Leone along with relevant issues pertaining to population growth and land tenure. This strategy assessed the forestry sector’s current status with respect to eight tropical forest areas: forest resources; forest based industries; forestry institutions and legislation; fuelwood sector; methods of forest conservation; forestry in landuse; forest sector economics and policy. Solutions, recommendations and actions relating to management and institutional needs and training were proposed.

  1. The Government in collaboration with the World Bank supported the production of a National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) in 1993. This plan, which has governmental approval, calls for coordination and stimulation of national environmental management and promotion of environmental awareness. The National Environmental Action Plan is the Country’s Local Agenda 21, and is the blue print for environmental protection and management in Sierra Leone. It is presented in two volumes. Volume I analyses the environmental issues in Sierra Leone and priority areas of intervention. Volume II contains investment proposals which are to be funded by international funding agencies and the Government of Sierra Leone. The successful implementation of the NEAP, which was to be implemented over a five-year period from 1996 to 2001, has remained limited due to the ten year civil conflict and therefore unavailability of funds. The Environment Protection Department, in collaboration with Government line ministries and key stakeholders in environment, has recently reviewed and updated the NEAP to take stock, assess progress and plan redirection to achieve sustainable environmental development in the country.

  1. In terms of policy, Sierra Leone produced the National Environmental Policy in 1990 which aims at achieving sustainable development in Sierra Leone through sound environmental and natural resources management. Specifically, the policy seeks to:

  • Secure for all Sierra Leoneans a quality of environment adequate for their health and well-being;

  • Conserve and use the environment and natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations;

  • Restore, maintain and enhance the ecosystems and ecological processes essential for the functioning of the biosphere;

  • Preserve biological diversity and the principle of optimum sustainable yield in the use of living natural resources and ecosystems; and

  • Raise public awareness and promote understanding of the essential linkages between environment and development and encourage individual and community participation in environmental improvement efforts.

Sustainable Development Programmes and Policies

  1. An interim poverty reduction strategy paper (IPRSP) has recently been produced for Sierra Leone that sets out the government’s economic and social objectives, and strategies for poverty reduction. Sierra Leone’s efforts to fulfil its international environmental obligations need to be considered in the light of its recent history and the acute poverty that the majority of the population still faces.

  1. Although the initial objective of the establishment of the Social Action and Poverty Alleviation (SAPA) Programme by the government in 1993 was to address the negative consequences of structural adjustment, its mandate was reviewed in 1996 to directly address poverty conditions. Poor rural farmers and other natural resource users are now provided with soft micro-credit loans that would enable them switch to other trades and other activities that lend to reduce deforestation and land degradation.

  1. In response to a new strategy for planning of African countries, the Government of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is in the process of formulating and articulating the “Sierra Leone vision 2025”. The main objective of the National Long-Term Perspectives Studies (NLTPS) is “to formulate a shared vision and to design broad strategies for long-term national development leading to a better Sierra Leone by 2025”. The strategy acknowledges the importance of the fact that development is not only concerned with positive changes in the economy but with other areas such as political, cultural, environmental and technological.

Capacity for Environmental Management

  1. Specific capacity needs for each of the Rio conventions has been of concern to the national government following the end of the decade long civil conflict. Most institutions are understaffed due to the departure of trained personnel for fear of their lives and the worsening economic situation.


  1. During the second national workshop to develop the BSAP, in August 2003, a set of priority issues for capacity assessment were identified through consultation and discussion with key stakeholders (members of the Biodiversity Steering Committee) and presented for validation at a plenary session. They represent the country’s priorities for capacity assessment (both human and institutional) based on the work developed under the BSAP process. There was general consensus at the workshop that there was a general lack of capacity in all government agencies and academic institutions to adequately implement the CBD. Based on this, the following objectives for capacity assessment were identified based on the GEF Guidelines for Additional Funding of Biodiversity Activities (February 2000):

    • identify capacity needs for the implementation of general measures for in-situ and ex-situ conservation and sustainable use;

    • assess capacity needs pertaining to methods of evaluation and mitigation of specific threats to biological diversity;

    • capacity needs assessment in initial evaluation and monitoring programs, including taxonomy; and

    • establish the scope of capacities necessary for conserving and sustainably managing agro-biodiversity in the country.

  1. At the consultative workshop to develop this NCSA proposal, the working group on biodiversity proposed the following issues and then prioritised them in order of merit under the proposed NCSA initiative:

  1. The main issues for biodiversity that were deliberated on included the following:

    • Training needs assessment for all the sectors

    • Provide training programs for professionals

    • Support networking and communication e.g. materials and human

    • Support training of taxonomists (para-taxonomists)

    • Conduct institutional capacity needs with interest in biodiversity

    • Provide financial and material support

    • Support and strengthen income generation

    • Support and review policies that prevent NGOs from participating in biodiversity

    • Creation of data base for biodiversity issue (clearing house mechanism)

    • Involve community participation in biodiversity conservation

    • Policy on invasive alien species

    • Incentives for biodiversity protection

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