Adequate policies, strategies and proper enforcement mechanisms and institutional framework
Empowerment of local communities involved in biodiversity conservation and environmental management
Adequate funding for the NCSA process to meet the needs of all stakeholders in biodiversity conservation
In a recent report prepared by the coordinator of UNFCCC, he lamented over the numerous constraints he faces including the lack of comprehensive data; weak institutional capacity in the government and NGOs engaged in promoting sound environmental management; shortage of qualified professionals; planning for environmental issues are weak and often there is very little coordination between implementing bodies with national obligations under the different conventions; as well as not benefiting from training programs such as short courses or seminars and workshops.
At the consultative workshop on the NCSA proposal on 16th February 2004, the working group members on climate change identified and prioritized the following capacity building issues for consideration:
A climate change policy be put into place legally by an act of parliament.
building the meteorological capacity to enable it carry out obligations on climate issues
weather observation, collection and storage of weather and climate data
establish and maintain weather observation stations
to recruit and train weather observing personnel
Training, education and making the public aware of climate change issues
training of experts
access to climate change information and public participation
The provision of resources
The involvement of the media to disseminate information on climate change issues to the ordinary people far and wide
Very limited capacity exists to combat desertification and land degradation in Sierra Leone, and most activities have been limited to awareness-raising at the national level. National sensitisation campaigns have been mounted through the radio system followed by organized meetings at village level on fire prevention and control.
During the NCSA PDF-A process, land degradation drew most of the attention of the participants at the consultative workshop. The group had more members and received more attention from honourable Ministers of Lands, Country Planning and Environment, Finance and Agriculture. The group members proposed the following as areas of capacity gaps that require immediate attention. In their deliberations, they suggested that, mitigating land degradation measures are necessary, policy regulations and standards require review and adequate analysis and that alternative measures to enhance land preservation are necessary.
a) Capacity Needs
Training, policy measures, reducing the deforestation rate or using administrative measures like setting up institutions to be monitoring adverse activities on the environment. Sensitization on the protection of the environment using the mass media.
Elements of land degradation – soil erosion, deforestation and mining
b) Broader Needs
Local authorities to help implement environmental policies
Forestry Act, Environmental Protection Act, the Standards Act and the Mines and Marines Acts.
More detailed rules and regulations for the implementation of the provisions of the acts.
The capacity to implement these rules and regulations
The decentralization of these laws.
d) Measures, what are the capacities of the various institutions?
The capacity of the institutions is to be enhanced.
Identifying linkages with other line ministries, NGOs and other institutions and to strengthen those linkages for effective implementation of environmental guidelines.
e) Measures to control land degradation
Sensitization of the communities
Speedy enforcement of the sanctions contained in the regulations.
National fiscal measures in implementing environmental land degradation policies
---- provided by the Acts for a given purpose e.g. that affects mining should be made available to relevant institutions for the replenishment of land degradation caused by miners
Reviewing the policy involved in the rehabilitation of mining and building sites.
f) Financial Involvement
For linkages with other ministries and institutions and a quarterly review of the operations of all stakeholders is needed.
Possible updating of activities
Coordination of the activities of all stakeholders before and after on a quarterly basis.
(See Annex 4 for further details on the NCSA Proposal Preparation Stakeholder Workshop) Overall constraints
In Sierra Leone the capacity constraints facing all the agencies responsible for Convention implementation are roughly similar, with lack of information an immediate priority. Over the years scientists have utilised much of their knowledge to collect, analyse and publish work on the human and natural environment in Sierra Leone. Much of this environmental information remains unknown to potential users and the public at large. Reasons include the poor storage facilities and unclear documentation of libraries and documentation centres and lack of a medium that establishes communication among researchers, NGOs, the media, policy makers and international donor agencies. There is a dire need for the setting up of a fully operational Environmental Information Network linked to international information systems.
Although the Africa Development Bank has been very influential in providing technical assistance in the form of training and capacity building for the NFP of the UNCCD and other related organizations, lack of financial resources has meant implementation of most identified programmes has not come to reality. The Government has officially adopted the NEAP, for example, but the only financial commitment being made for its implementation is in the area of sensitization and education. A National Capacity needs Self Assessment process to develop an NCSA Action Plan for Sierra Leone will be an important first step in identifying key needs and the resources needed to address them.
II. Objectives and linkage to ongoing activities
The main thrust of the National Capacity Self-Assessment project is to enable Sierra Leone to identify constraints and priority needs for effective implementation of all three conventions of the United Nations (CBD, FCCC and CCD) on the global environment. Furthermore, the assessment will help avoid duplication and conflicting directions of efforts, and identify major overlaps in the activities of the three conventions with the aim of building synergies.
The specific objectives resulting from the above goal for the NCSA are:
to identify, confirm or review priority issues for action within the thematic areas of biodiversity, climate change and land degradation/desertification;
to identify capacity needs within and across the three thematic areas;
to identify synergies, conflicting priorities and overlapping obligations between and among the three thematic issues and related areas for more effective implementation;
to catalyse targeted and coordinated action and resources for future external funding and assistance; and,
to link country action to the broader sustainable development framework as Sierra Leone emerges from civil conflict.
The NCSA will take into account ongoing projects implemented by NGOs and Government agencies that have bearing on biodiversity, land degradation and climate change. Currently, the following projects are being undertaken by some of the key NGOs in the country:
Monitoring of White-necked Picathartes (Picathartes gymnocephalus) by CSSL staff has been underway for nearly 5 years in the Western Area Forest Reserve, Kambui Hills and Gola Forest. The monitoring activities include breeding success assessment, anthropogenic activities affecting the bird and interviews with local populations. The species is threatened throughout its range in the Upper Guinean Rainforest Ecoregion.
Twenty-two proposed IBAs (Important Bird Areas) were identified at the start of the IBA program in Sierra Leone in 1994 and 10 of those surveyed qualified as IBAs. Of the 10 remaining proposed sites, four were surveyed as part of the 2001 workplan of the GEF funded IBA conservation project in Sierra Leone. The four are all wetland sites in southern Sierra Leone.
Njala University College and the Environmental Foundation for Africa are currently implementing a three-year CEPF (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund) project on Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary following the end of civil war. The sanctuary is rich in primates and the infrastructure for ecotourism and research were destroyed during the war. The funding is helping to revive ecotourism, reconstruction, research and opportunities for local communities to benefit from the project.
The Tacugama Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Program is helping to protect the endangered Pan troglo-dytes verus in Sierra Leone, by encouraging individuals to give up the pet chimpanzees so that they can be rehabilitated and eventually returned to the wild. The program also focuses on strong educational awareness to ensure the species is fully protected.
The NCSA project will also take into consideration the recent and ongoing GEF funded projects including:
Enabling activity for preparation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) and Country Report to the COP
First National Report on the Implementation of the UNCCD
Enabling Sierra Leone’s capacity to fulfil its obligations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Institutional Strengthening for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol in Sierra Leone.
Development of Phase Out Plan of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in Sierra Leone.
In 1999, GEF funded the Conservation Priority-Setting workshop for the Upper Guinea Forest Ecosystems, at which participants from Sierra Leone joined other West African government and civil society groups to save this important ecosystem. At the workshop, the following recommendations were put forward for implementation:
National governments consider adopting and integrating regional consensus biodiversity conservation priorities as mapped and confirmed at this workshop,
Donors use these expert recommendations on priority areas and actions to focus on the globally important biological diversity of this region,
Capacity to survey, understand and manage the rich regional biodiversity must be strengthened at national and regional levels,
Promote awareness at all levels of the global importance of the regional ecosystem,
Develop partnerships to bridge the gap between industry and NGOs, projects and communities, social and biophysical scientists, etc, and
Establish a high level intergovernmental mechanism to achieve coordinated ecosystem-wide planning and management.
Combating Coastal Area Degradation and Living Resources Depletion in the Guinea Current LME through through Regional Actions
III Project Activities
This NCSA proposal was developed using PDF-A funds through the United Nations Environment Programme. A national consultant was hired to prepare the draft proposal and work with three thematic working groups (biodiversity, climate change and land degradation) to identify initial priorities and capacity constraints. A national consultation workshop with key stakeholders was then held with the assistance of an international consultant in order to clarify the priorities and capacity constraints, as well as to identify the most appropriate activities and institutional mechanism for implementing the NCSA project (refer to organizational chart at Annex 5).
Following further discussion in the PDF-A working groups and the output from the consultative workshop, a series of proposed project activities have been identified. The project activities will be implemented fully in line with the approach and principles set out by the GEF for National Capacity Self-assessments, using as guidance the recommendations in “A Guide for Self-Assessment of Country Capacity Needs for Global Environment management”, prepared by the GEF Secretariat with the assistance of UNITAR. The following major tasks are anticipated:
Step 1. Establishment of an NCSA co-ordination mechanism
During the consultative workshop on 16th February 2004, a high political segment including the Minister for Finance, Minister for Lands, Country Planning and Environment, Secretary to the Vice President, and Assistant Minister for Agriculture participated, demonstrating their full commitment to the NCSA process. The Minister for Finance in his remarks to the participants acknowledged the fact that capacity building is imperative to Sierra Leone’s economic development and environmental management, and hence requires political support and commitment. There is a clear need for management with well-defined responsibilities for a successful development and implementation of NCSA. During the project inception phase of NCSA an effective management structure that allows for consultation, participation and transfer of technical expertise will be established. The NCSA High level segment will consist of members of the Cabinet Sub-committee on the Environment and will provide strategic guidance, advice and suggestions on policy matters. The Chair of the NCSA Steering Committee will be part of this sub-committee, and provide useful linkage to the NCSA process and thematic working groups.
The Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment will establish a Steering Committee for theNCSA that will be chaired by the Director of the Environment Protection Department, who is also the GEF Operational Focal Point. The chairman will head a team comprising key stakeholders from relevant institutions including key Ministries of Agriculture, Finance, Economic Development, Fisheries, Lands, Country Planning and Environment, and tasked with the responsibility of effective policy advice and ensuring that the objectives of NCSA are achieved on time. Furthermore the NCSA Steering Committee, through the Cabinet Sub-Committee on the Environment, will seek endorsement from the Sierra Leone cabinet government on its achievement and ensure continuity of the process.
Daily co-ordination of the NCSA will be managed by a Project Co-ordinator in conjunction with support staff who will be directly supervised by the Director of the EPD. The EPD will also be responsible for issuing out consultancies to qualified nationals. The project coordinator will be in regular contacts with the thematic groups and consultants on preparation and production of reports and analytical briefings.
The Project Coordinator will be responsible for preparing progress reports; ensuring the frequent flow of information to all key stakeholders; ensuring that workshop reports, consultancy reports are produced on time; and undertaking any other activities related to the NCSA project assigned by the EPD. The Project Coordinator will manage the NCSA process with the assistance of the Chair of the NCSA Steering Committee. The Chair will oversee implementation of the NCSA project and control quality of the outputs.
Step 2. Preparation of Thematic profiles
For each of the three thematic areas three Working Groups (WG) will be set up to supplement existing initiatives while focusing on UNCBD, UNFCCC and UNCCD. Experts in each of these groups will be drawn from across the national institutions like Njala University College, Fourah Bay College, local NGOs, government departments, Institute of Agricultural Research/Rice Research, private sector and other interested stakeholders as expressed at the National Consultative workshop of 16th February 2004.
The thematic working groups will be led by the Convention Focal Points except where the Focal Point is involved in leading the Steering Committee of the NCSA Process as the situation now with regard to UNCCD. In this case, the UNCCD focal point will deputise or invite an official from other department to lead the UNCCD working group. The working groups will build on the existing efforts in development of various strategies such as the National Biodiversity Strategy and National Communications on Climate Change. The groups will also utilise and benefit from prevailing experience, and utilise local knowledge and information, thereby minimising chances of duplicating efforts hence leverage resources.
A meeting will be organized to which representatives from the NCSA Steering Committee and WGs will be invited to develop the initial thematic profiles. The focus of the meeting will be to discuss methodologies for developing thematic profiles, the span of work for the WGs and deadlines for the completion of each activity related to a particular convention. It is expected that the methodologies will involve considerable involvement of national stakeholders as well as the District Environment Boards.
For each of the working groups, the relevant information sought will fall under the following theme:
Conduct a review of needs identified in relevant reports and documents relating to NBSAP, NEAP, Climate change report and desertification report
Provide a SWOT assessment of past and on-going efforts related to capacity building in each institution
Present an in-depth description of capacity building activities needs in the different sectors
Step 3. National workshop
A national start-up workshop comprising interested, affected and key stakeholders from NGOs, government, academia, consumers, industry and social groups will be organized to incorporate their opinions and suggestions in the NCSA process. The NCSA Coordinator will be responsible for preparing a list of key stakeholders to ensure a wide participation at the workshop. Expert international consultants who participated in similar NCSA workshop in other countries will be invited to share relevant experience with in-country experts.
At the workshop, the participants will review the draft thematic profiles with the opportunity of raising pertinent issues for further research by the working groups. A SWOT/L (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats/Limitations) methodology will be employed to facilitate a common vision for the NCSA process. Three key outputs are expected from the workshop and will include a report of the NCSA process, list of tasks assigned to the working groups and an endorsement of the Steering Committee. A meeting of the WGs will be organized following the start-up workshop to harmonize methodology and deadlines for deliverables.
Step 4. Refinement of thematic profiles
As part of the needs assessment process, the results of the start-up workshop will be utilised by the working groups in identifying issues that need further research. Further interviews with new stakeholders identified at the workshop will be undertaken by the project team, and the results will be fed into the initial thematic profiles and assist in the identification of cross-cutting issues. Expert knowledge from international consultants in the sub-region will assist in the refinement of the thematic profiles.
Based on the interviews conducted, the WGs will use the results to refine the initial thematic profiles taking into account national priorities identified in the NBSAP, NEAP and other documents. The methodological guidance provided in the GEF/UNITAR document entitled “A Guide to Self-Assessment of Country Capacity Building Needs for Global Environmental Management” will be utilized to accomplish this. A refinement of the thematic profiles will lead to a meeting of all working groups to identify crosscutting issues. Experience from the sub-region will be sought to compare thematic profiles. A second workshop will endorse the refined profiles.
Step 5. Identification of synergies and systematic capacity constraints
Addressing national environmental concerns relating to the three conventions requires that systemic capacity constraints be reviewed and opportunities for synergistic capacity building be identified to enhance global environmental management. The linkages and intersections between the three conventions will be evaluated and harmony sought to provide cost-effective capacity building activities for Sierra Leone. The Working Groups will be tasked with the responsibility of working out the synergies between the conventions, whilst systemic capacity building constraints will be addressed by the Steering Committee. A national workshop on synergies will be held as part of this process.
Step 6. National consensus building workshop
A national consensus building workshop will be organized with the objective of identifying national priorities and to examine all the products produced since the first national workshop with particular attention paid to thematic profiles handled by the working groups and the identification of synergies. The workshop will review systemic capacity needs as well as a “Priorities Paper”.
The “Priorities Paper” will be circulated through the print media and made available to interested individuals and the general public in advance of the workshop with the aim of obtaining a wide range of comments and concerns. Participants at the consensus building workshop will be drawn from attendees at the first workshop as well as new individuals that have become interested in the NCSA process. A copy of the “Priorities Paper” and agenda made available to each participant.
An expert group consisting of members from the EPD, WGs and facilitated by an international consultant will review the “Priorities Paper” using simple criteria against which the options and opportunities will be evaluated. The facilitator will ensure that participants at the workshop have the opportunity of making greater input, as well as ensuring that the whole process does not get distracted. A SWOT approach will be utilized in facilitating the discussion and all recommendations and suggestions will be noted.
Step 7. Drafting and monitoring of action plan
The NCSA action plan will be finalized by the Project Coordinator and presented to the SC who shall review the document and present to the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment for formal presentation to the cabinet sub-committee on the Environment for government endorsement. The action plan will contain realistic cost options for each thematic area and across them for effective global environmental management.
The Project Coordinator will have the primary responsibility of monitoring the action plan to ensure the synthesis of the different activities by engaging in information exchange and sharing for all participants. The NCSA process will continue as a series of repeated cycles involving implementation, monitoring and review.
IV. Institutional Framework and project implementation
The successful implementation of the NCSA project will depend on the establishment of a well-structured and balanced niche of individuals and institutions to ensure on-going consultation, participation and involvement of all key stakeholders. Cooperation with other government agencies as end-users of the results will be firmly established. The following will comprise the management structure of the project to ensure the objectives of the NCSA project are achieved:
The Environmental Protection Department in the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment will have the primary responsibility for implementing the NCSA project, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Ministry of Development and Economic Planning, etc.
The Steering Committee, which will comprise of representatives from key ministries and organizations, will provide feedback and advice on the project to the project consortium. Also, the SC will provide advice to the Project Coordinator on the translation of the scientific results into practical actions for a successful implementation of all three UN conventions. In this regard, the Project Coordinator will provide regular updates on the project activities to the SC to ensure that they provide the policy guidance and political support, approving budget items and general supervision of the project.
The SC will attend four meetings during the life cycle of the project, the first being the start of the project and the three other meetings following the first meeting. Throughout the life-time of the project, the SC will provide advice on project direction and practical implementation of project result. At the final meeting, the SC will be briefed by the Project Coordinator and the WGs on their findings and results, with the SC having the responsibility of submitting the NCSA action plans for government approval.
The Focal Points and alternates as appropriate will identify key and relevant stakeholders among different institutions in the country to actively participate and contribute to the various project activities. National consultants will be hired to undertake pertinent activities for short periods of time.
The daily coordination of the NSCA will be the responsibility of the Project Coordinator, and activities will include management of the NSCA process, organizing and running workshops, contribute technical expertise, provide support on appropriate methodologies, editorial assistance, coordinating the activities of WGs, provision of information through the circulation of documents and ensuring the involvement of participants. The Project Coordinator will also give four quarterly updates to the SC.
Stakeholder Involvement & Participation
Various approaches involving but not limited to workshops, questionnaires, interviews will be employed to ensure the full participation of key stakeholders and institutions.
- questions and issues paper on each profile prepared
- follow up interviews and consultations
- meeting of WGs to finalize thematic profiles
- workshop to review finalised profiles
5. Identification of Synergies
- Meeting of WGs on synergies
- Holding of synergies workshop
- SC meeting on systemic constraints
- Finalize synergies paper
6. National Consensus building workshop
- Preparation of ‘Priorities Paper’ and circulation in print media
- National workshop
7. Develop an Action Plan
- Develop Action Plan
- Finalization of Action Plan
- Presentation of Action Plan for Government Endorsement
List of Annexes 1. Endorsement Letter 2. List of stakeholders involved in the NCSA proposal preparation process during the PDF-A 3. Provisional Terms of Reference 4. Capacity needs identified during the stakeholder workshop 5. NCSA Organizational Chart Annex 1. Endorsement letter
Annex 2. List of stakeholders involved in the NCSA proposal preparation process during PDF-A