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Sierra Leone News: Sierra Leone working towards zero deforestation by 2025

Abraham Baffoe, Proforest facilitator

Abraham Baffoe, Proforest facilitator

A multi stakeholder symposium on sustainable palm oil development in Sierra Leone through Tropical Forest Alliance (TAF2020) action plan is underway at the Hub Hotel, Wilberforce in Freetown.
Sierra Leone is set to achieve zero deforestation by 2025 by enforcing environmental protection agency requirements on impacts assessment and adoption of the high carbon stock (HCS) and High Conservation Value (HCV) approaches to safe guard forests and biodiversity.
In 2012, at a United Nations Conference in Rio Brazil, several companies and governments joined the fight against deforestation and created the public private alliance with the aim to mobilize sectors to collaborate in reducing commodity –driven tropical deforestation.
Henry Yamba Kamara the Managing Director for the Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Company and also Country Facilitator for sustainable palm oil development in Sierra Leone said the symposium is to discuss matters arising from signing the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 Marrakesh Declaration for sustainable development of the palm oil sector in Africa.
He said the symposium also intends to expand the team and incorporate stakeholder representatives who will consult on the implementation of the principles of action plan.
He said a maximum of 15 people representing Government, private sector, Civil Society Organizations and other relevant groups will form the country team that will report to their constituents.
Abraham Baffoe the symposium facilitator from Proforest spoke about the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020, which was an initiative launched over campaigns against deforestation caused by company brands.
He said Sierra Leone and the Republic of Congo have applied and are awaiting confirmation as partners of the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 to implement actions to address deforestation from the supply chains of the selected communities.
He said a lot of agricultural companies are looking for land in Africa as Africa produces between 3.5-5% of global palm oil and Africa is the new frontier for oil development with rapid expansion in the region.
He said TAF 2020 is focused on developing the capacity of government, private sector and civil society for effective facilitation of policy change and support country’s forest policies implementation frame-work for sustainability.
The Vision for TFA 2020 Baffoe said, is for a prosperous palm oil industry which brings jobs and wealth to local communities that is environmentally and socially sustainable and protects the rich tropical forest of the region.
Ten countries in central and West Africa are represented in the TAF, which are mostly forested countries and seven countries have developed their national policy so far.
A multi stakeholder’s platform will also be created to oversee the implementation of the national principles and actions to identify priorities for short term actions with political commitment in tackling deforestation within the frame of sustainable development
The draft Sierra Leone National principles for palm oil development includes environmental deforestation and waste management, benefit sharing Corporate Social Responsibility, livelihood and food security, governance and coordination, finance road network, out growers smallholders, training and capacity building.
Palm Oil entities operating in Sierra Leone shall seek free prior and informed consent (FPIC) of local communities, right owners and land title owners shall respect the traditions and customary rights of population of local communities within the landscape while avoiding all practices that promote discrimination or exclude any rights.
The palm oil sector shall also be guided by an integrated national land use plan and mapping resources supported by appropriate implementation of the legal framework to ensure that land is adequately zoned and planned to prevent potential socio-economic displacement of local population and to avoid land conflicts from competing land use designation. SB/28/9/17
By Saidu Bah
Friday September 29, 2017.

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