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Sierra Leone News: Political parties vow to include environmental issues in manifestos

About ten political parties have pledged to include environmental and women’s issues their manifestos for the coming elections referring it as “…very important in the development of any nation.”
Political parties, including the SLPP, PMDC, RUFP, ADP, UDM, NPD and RUFP made this commitment during a roundtable discussion organised by Women Network on Environmental Sustainability (WoNES) on Tuesday 19 December 2017.
Umaru Koroma, Secretary General of SLPP, said his Party has a record of throwing their support behind women and also promoting women. They were the first Party to host a female running mate in 2012, and also the first female Minority Leader in the House of Parliament. He added that recently they have waived the application fees for women aspirants, which gives room for more women’s participation.
The SLPP are in the process of developing their manifesto called, “the people’s manifesto”. Koroma said the environment is critical for the development of any nation. “And so this will form an important aspect of the SLPP’s manifesto”.
Bamidele Thompson of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), said the environment is very important. But, a lot of the time people have taken it for granted and this has caused lot of disasters including landslide and flooding of August 14.
He said, his Party will have a very important section dealing with the environment and women’s issues. He said they will work with WoNES to have a friendly environment and women’s rights manifesto.
Two major political parties, the APC and NGC, were not represented at the meeting and made no commitment to women’s issues or environmental concerns. Commitments to women’s issues and the environment were made by over five political parties.
Nabeela Tunis, Head Programmes Team of WoNES, said they decided to take on the issue of environment after several consultations and the idea was later conceived as they started looking into the manifestoes of different political parties and not much was stated about environmental issues.
Tunis said they realised that the environment is central to the development of the nation and so there is need for the engagement and to call on political parties to include the important section of environment in their manifestoes. She added that there is no formal education on environment therefore political parties should see how Sierra Leoneans can learn about environment.
Zainab Moseray, Registrar of PPRC, said the country’s politics have come a long way and this trend should be one to promote peace. She said the country needs to develop sound policies to address these issues and it should not only stop on developing the policies but also ensure their implementation.
Syl-Brians Kamara, Deputy Director of EPA, said environmental issues are cross cutting. He said this is an issue of the day as development will not take place if environmental issues are not dealt with.
By Betty Milton
Wednesday December 20, 2017.

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