GOVERNMENT OF KUWAIT STOPS THE ISSUANCE OF ENTRY VISA 20 TO SIERRA LEONE NATIONALS

Following concerns raised by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation over the renewed increase in the issuance of entry visas under Article 20 (Domestic Labour) to Sierra Leone nationals to work as house maids in Kuwait. This has led to an influx of our nationals into Kuwait, thus creating serious problems and embarrassment for the Embassy and the government; the State of Kuwait through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior have taken a decision to stop the issuance of Entry Visas to Sierra Leoneans under Article 20 for Domestic labour of the State of Kuwait to work in Kuwait.
The General Department of Residency Affairs in the Ministry of Interior of the State of Kuwait has issued Circular No. 140 (2017) effective 23rd July 2017 to all Directorates of the various Residency Affairs about this decision.
In view of the above, a large number of Sierra Leonean House Maids offered employment in the State of Kuwait through Recruiting Agencies cannot be traced or reached at the moment though some of them are finding ways and means of escaping to come to the embassy for help to return home.
The Sierra Leone Embassy in Kuwait, in collaboration with the State of Kuwait Immigration Department is processing Emergency Travel Certificates for those that have gone through security checks to be taken to the deportation centre, where they will go through the due process before deportation by the Government of Kuwait. The Sierra Leone Embassy in Kuwait is currently soliciting the intervention of International Oganisation for Migration (IOM) to help repatriate those former House Maids who cannot afford to purchase air their tickets to return home.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation strongly appeals to all those engaged in the trafficking of fellow citizens to desist from such practice as it is punishable by law in many jurisdiction.
The general public is also advised to report any person or persons suspected to be involved in such practice to the nearest police station or local authority.
Meanwhile all those whose relatives have found themselves in this predicament in the State of Kuwait are advised to contact our Embassy in Kuwait at Al-Zahra- South Surra, or call: 25243246-25243234

Sequel Flooding and Mudslide in Freetown

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Raps International Community in Sierra Leone

 

Following the unprecedented and disastrous flooding and mudslide that swept across some parts of Freetown and its immediate environs in the early hours of Monday 14th August 2017 which claimed the lives of hundreds of people, several injured while billions of Leones worth of property destroyed; the Minister and Senior Management staff of the Ministry have updated Diplomatic Missions on the level of casualties and damages caused by the disaster, and Government’s action plan on the current situation in the country.

The meeting which was held in the conference hall of the Ministry attracted over twenty representatives of the various resident Embassies, Consulates and organisations in Sierra Leone.

In his opening statement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara called to mind the August 14, 2017 flooding and mudslide disaster that has to date claimed the lives of over 207 Sierra Leoneans, including 109 Children, 83 women and 105 men; while, billions of Leones worth of property lost or damaged. These figures, Dr. Kamara told the Foreign Diplomats, are expected to rise as the search, rescue or recovery exercise continues.

The purpose of the meeting the Foreign Minister explained is to exchange ideas on the type of collective response mechanism that could be applied in support of the ongoing response. He briefed the Foreign Envoys on decisions reached during an emergency Presidential Committee meeting with regards the National Response to the flooding and mudslide in Freetown – 7 days of mourning declared effective Wednesday 16th August 2017 during which the national flags should be flown at half mast, a Military Aid to Civil Community (MAC-C) invoked and the National Security threat raised to level 3 by His Excellency the President.

Dr. Samura Kamara further informed members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps about modalities put in place for the coordination of support either in cash or kind. The Office of National Security (ONS) he said, has prepared a comprehensive list of items required to support victims including; Bed nets, blankets, food, dignity kits, etc. A special account will be opened and made public for those who wish to make their support in cash, he added. The President, the Minister disclosed, instructed that all donations be made public in order to acknowledge contributors. Whatever donations,  Dr. Samura emphasised that is made  in respect of this disaster must not be part of the normal programme and support to the country, noting that this must be seen as additional support, which goes to the special account. As a result of lessons learnt during the Ebola scourge, the Foreign Minister assured that, with the involvement of communities in the activities of all the Disaster Response pillars, cash and kind donations will be dedicated just to this disaster. He disclosed that signatories to the Special Disaster Account will include, the Honourable Vice President, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and National Coordinator of ONS. The Ministry of Finance he said, will also provide assistance in respect to procurement and other financial transactions. Our overseas missions have been instructed to talk to your principals for assistance through your respective missions, he concluded.

Key recommendation made by members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps during the discussions moderated by the Minister of State I, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay is the proper coordination of interventions and resource mobilization.

A power point presentation on the current flooding and mudslide statistical updates by the Disaster Management of the ONS formed part of the meeting.

Friends of Sierra Leone in Guinea donate assorted items to Mudslide & Flood Victims

The people of Nzérékoré in the Republic of Guinea through the Sierra Leone Embassy in Guinea have presented a truck load of assorted food and non-food items at a ceremony held at the headquarters of the Office of National Security in Freetown.

Delivering the items for and on behalf of the people of Nzérékoré, the Counselor and Head of Chancery of the Republic of Sierra Leone Embassy in Guinea, Dr. Mohamed K. Mansaray said, the outcome of the August 14 mudslide and flooding came as a shock to the people of the Nzérékoré community, particularly the number of lives lost and value of property destroyed. It is against this backdrop that five Radio Stations and indigenous companies, pioneered by S.R. Distillers in the community, mobilised and facilitated the transportation of food and non-food items including beds, household furniture, etc. donated by community members, which demonstrates their sympathy and empathy for families that lost dear ones, and also survivors. The Counselor and Head of Chancery extended condolence and sympathy to all affected families on behalf of the people of Nzérékoré in the Republic of Guinea.

Receiving the items on behalf of the National Coordinator of ONS, the Chief of Staff ONS, Dr. Ahmed A. Sannoh, expressed thanks and appreciation to the people of Nzérékoré for their benevolent donation during this period of national grief and extreme need in the country. Dr. Sannoh maintained that ONS would take custody of the items, which he promised would be utilized by the targeted beneficiaries. He also expressed thanks and appreciation to the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for facilitating the delivery process of the donated items.

The Guinean delegation was introduced by the Deputy Director General –Operations, Mr. Paul Minah, who was accompanied by the Deputy Director General –Policy, Dr. Michael S. Kargbo.

Ahead of 2018 Elections over 240 Female Aspirants Empowered

The Chief of Party for World Vision in Sierra Leone, Dr. Tom Roberts says over 243 female aspirants have been empowered in seven districts to participate and take leadership roles in decision-making processes in the country.

Dr. Roberts made this disclosure during a presentation to the Minister of State I, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay and Senior Management staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC), on the achievements thus far on the USAID funded project – Women Empowered for Leadership and Development (WELD); implemented by a consortium of four NGOs, primed by World Vision International (WVI).

According to the Chief of Party, WVI, the WELD Project has the overall goal of increasing women’s social, political and economic rights in Sierra Leone. The Savings Group (SG) he said is an approach used by the project to improve the economic rights of women in Sierra Leone.

He further explained that key among their several achievements so far, is increasing Women’s participation and representation in decision-making bodies/entities in seven pilot districts (285 sections in 57 chiefdoms) including: Kailahun, Kenema, Kono, Tonkilili, Bombali, Koinadugu, and Port Loko districts.

The report, according to WVI, shows that Kono district tops with 63 female aspirants for various positions (56 Local Councils; 1 Mayor; 5 Parliamentarians and 1 District Chair); followed by Kenema district with 38 female aspirants (11 Parliamentary, 26 Local Council, and 1 Mayor); next is Kailahun with 31 female aspirants (24 Local Councils; 0 Mayor; 7 Parliamentarians and 0 District Chair); Bombali 30 female aspirants ((28 Local Councils, 0 Mayor, 2 Parliamentarians and 0 District Chair); Tonkolili 28 (26 Local Councils, 0 Mayor, 2 Parliamentarians and 0 District Chair); Port Loko 21 female aspirants (15 Local Councils, 0 Mayor, 5 Parliamentarians and 1 District Chair);  and in Koinadugu 14 (8 Local Councils, 0 Mayor, 5 Parliamentarians and 1 District Chair).

The report shows that in 2012 Kailahun topped the number of female aspirants by 33; followed by Bombali 31; Kenema 30; Kono 26; Koinadugu 9, Tonkolili 7; and Port Loko 4.

The above data, Dr. Roberts said, was for the reporting period up to July 20, 2017 and that the figures are expected to be updated later during the course of the project implementation.

He further disclosed that, in order to enhance the political base of these female aspirants, 58 have been linked to Savings Groups (SGs) in Bombali and Tonkolili districts. A total of 1,637 female SG members Dr. Roberts said, were in leadership roles and 357 groups established with 8,915 members in the seven districts.

Concluding, the WVI Chief of Party called on ‘male champions’ in parliament, councils and CBOs to be willing to support gender equity and women’s participation in leadership.

It should be recalled that the Government of Sierra Leone views that the issue of increasing the participation of women in leadership and political processes both at local and national levels is a human rights issue, which is inviolable to the democratic and socio-economic development of Sierra Leone. For this reason the GoSL accepted in July 2016 the UN Human Rights Council’s recommendations Numbers 166, 167 and 169 of the Second Universal Panel Review Cycle, which called for more inclusive governance systems that promote further representation of women into national institutions, public offices and higher levels of decision-making position.

The Minister of State 1 at the MFAIC, remarked that the report from Dr. Tom Roberts and his team clearly demonstrates that Sierra Leone is on the right path to empowering more women and young girls. The Ministry therefore welcomes the report on behalf of the GoSL, he concluded.

 

UN Special Rapporteur on the Implications for Human Rights ends Provincial Tour

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Implications for Human Rights of the Environmentally Sound Management and Disposal of Hazardous Substances and Wastes, Mr. Baskut Tuncak has concluded a four-day working visit in four districts in the country.

The main objective of the visit was to gain a first-hand understanding of the main human rights implications as they arise in connection with the question of toxic and other hazardous substances, and to engage in dialogue with traditional authorities, Agro Business Enterprises and Mining companies, as well as representatives of Civil Society: to learn about their experiences, successes and challenges in the promotion and protection of human rights within the context of the question of toxic and other hazardous substances.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur and team were accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, and the Environment Protection Agency.

The delegation paid a courtesy call on the Chiefdom Speaker of Malen Chiefdom in the Pujehun District, Chief Shengbe Robert Moiguah who deputized the Paramount Chief.  The Chiefdom Speaker welcomed the delegation on behalf of the Paramount Chief and his subjects. Chief Moiguah expressed satisfaction on the operations of SOCFIN Agricultural Company in Malen Chiefdom describing their operations as a major catalyst in enhancing employment and development of their community. ‘I cannot comment on the company’s use of toxic chemicals as this issue is very technical and not an expert in this area’, he concluded.  The UN Rapporteur conducted personal interviews with Sahn Marlen community members and the SOCFIN General Manager, Mr. Phillip Tonks. The visit was climaxed by a conducted tour of the company’s oil mill facilities. The UN Special Rapportuer and team also paid a courtesy call on the Mayor of Bo City, Harold Logie Tucker.

In Koidu City, Kono District, the Paramount Chief of Tankoro Chiefdom, Sahr Paul Gaba Saquee on behalf of the Council of Paramount Chiefs and the people of Kono District welcomed the UN Envoy and team. PC Saquee lamented that the Flooding and mudslide that claimed several lives and properties on August 11, this year, is an eye opener to the people of Kono District to be more vigilant in taking care of their environment through their various mining and other activities. The issue of the previous sound pollution, blasting of rocks, etc. had adverse effect on mining communities, but this he said, has minimised as a result of the new underground mining approach used by the OCTEA Mining Company.  The UN Special Rapporteur also held closed door meetings with the Kono District Human Rights Committee and the General Manager of OCTEA Mining Company, Christo Swanepoel, who later took the team on a conducted tour of the mining site.

The team visited Makeni where the UN Special Rapporteur engaged the Bombali District Human Rights Committee to share their experiences on the operations and human rights compliance of the mining companies operating in the north of the country. The team also held a meeting with the Mayor of Makeni City, Her Worship, Madam Sunkarie Kabbah-Kamara and the Deputy Chief Administrator of Bombali District Council.

 

Foreign Affairs Minister Lobby 15 Scholarships

The Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN) has allocated 15 scholarships for students from Sierra Leone majoring in medicine, engineering, agronomy and humanities during a visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara to the university campus.

The visit by Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister (22 July, 2017) was aimed at expanding cooperation in education and science with the RUDN University, which hosts over 1,500 African students.

Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara and delegation were received by Larisa Efremova, RUDN University Vice-Rector for International Activity, Igor Ganshin, Director of the Ministry of Education and Science International Department and Andrey Fedorovykh, Attaché of the RF MFA Department of Africa.

In his welcome statement the RUDN Vice Rector, Larisa Efremova, gave an overview on the establishment of the university noting that they are witnessing stable growing interest in Russian education from Africa and the world-over. The University, he said had experienced an increase in its population to 100,000 and over 40,000 of their graduates from overseas.

Vice Rector for International Activity furthered that in order to understand which professions would be in high demand in the next five years, RUDN University conducted a labour market  survey of the main world regions which revealed that Africa is one of priority regions for RUDN University.

‘We are planning to expand cooperation through…“cluster entry” – via agreements with the leading universities of the continent and opening RUDN University centers of the Russian language and pre-university training in large cities”, said Larisa Efremova. RUDN University plans to increase the number of students majoring in medicine, agriculture, engineering and humanities, since Africa needs such specialists, Larisa explained. ‘The most popular courses are taught in English, and there are a lot of academic mobility and refresher training programmes including distance learning, she concluded.

Dr. Samura Kamara said he is impressed by how fast and flexible RUDN University is adapting to global challenges. Expanding academic cooperation he stated, reflects realities Sierra Leone is facing citing examples of: setting up centres for diseases control, lack of specialists in civil engineering, and the need of agronomists for mass food production. ‘Africa needs specialists for improving life quality’, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Dr. Kamara noted that RUDN University has long helped train specialists for Sierra Leone and since 1960 has given the country 143 specialists. He promised to personally control signing agreements with the leading universities in Sierra Leone and selection of the best candidates for RUDN University.

The Director of the Ministry of Education and Science International Department, Igor Ganshin, stressed that they are planning to increase Russian education export by selecting the most attractive places for entrance. ‘RUDN University has always been and will be the Russian leader in preparing highly-qualified specialists for foreign countries’ he ended.

It could be recalled that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation recently visited Russia to hold bilateral and multilateral consultations with his counterpart Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov’s.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY FACILITATES RETURN OF 13 SIERRA LEONEAN DOCTORS

20th July 2017 – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has facilitated the return of 13 Sierra Leonean Medical Doctors that were stranded in Venezuela after completion of their studies in October last year.

The newly graduated medics, who went to Venezuela on scholarship since 2010 arrived in Sierra Leone on the 24th June 2017.

Speaking on behalf of a cross section of her colleagues during a courtesy call on the Minister of State I, Rosalitta Toogeabu profusely expressed thanks and appreciation to the Minister and officials of the Ministry for their relentless and selfless effort in facilitating the provision of air tickets to return home.  She highlighted several challenges encountered during their course of study in Venezuela, which she attributed to the political and economic situation in the country. Amidst all these challenges she further disclosed, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs including the Minister of State I, Director of Multilateral and International Organisations, and Ambassador Bockarie Stevens in Washington DC, who on a yearly basis, paid them visit to assess their plight and then take necessary actions. ‘We are here to express our sincere gratitude to the Minister and the Ministry in particular, for such concern for us’, she added.

Madam Rosalitta Toogeabu appealed to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to fast track their deployment, so that they could join their colleagues in the profession to complement government’s effort in delivering quality health services to the people. ‘We have completed our registration process with the Medical and Dental Council’, she ended.

Responding on behalf of the Honourable Minister and the Ministry, the Director General, Ambassador Khadijatu Bassir, expressed appreciation and gratitude to the newly trained medical doctors for the love of their country, particularly the patriotic consideration to come back home to serve after working assiduously to achieve their academic goals.

The Director General lamented that the intention of government was not to expose their students to an unrest environment, neither to let them experience an unfavourable situation; noting that the Venezuela government was not also expecting their current economic hardship which has become also unbearable for her citizens.

She highlighted some of the challenges that the government of Sierra Leone is facing as result of the Ebola epidemic, specifically, the adverse impact on the economy, which created the delay in their repatriation. Notwithstanding, Ambassador Khadijatu Bassir stated, the Ministry, through the Embassy in Washington DC worked tirelessly to ensure their safe repatriation to Sierra Leone. ‘The Ministry will also continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that the remaining students in Venezuela return home safely after the completion of their courses’, she concluded.

Ahead of AGOA in Togo-Sierra Leone participates in US-Africa Business Summit

(MFAIC 25TH July 2017). The Minister Counsellor and Head of Chancery of the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington DC Mrs. Isha S.A. Sillah, has on July 13-16, 2017 participated in the 11th Biennial US-Africa Business organized by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) at Shoreham Hotel in Washington DC.

The theme for this year’s Summit was ‘The US Stake in Africa: A call for greater economic engagement’. The essence of the summit was to highlight US-Africa Business Engagement and to raise the profile of business opportunities in Africa for the American Private Sector. The forum was the first opportunity for African Heads of State, Ministers of Government and CEOs of companies to engage with the new administration of President Trump and US Government officials.

The Minister Counsellor and Head of Chancery of the Republic of Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington DC, Mrs. Isha S.A. Sillah, stated that in the wake of a new leadership in America, this year’s summit came at the right time, particularly with the cloud surrounding certain bilateral trade agreements earlier signed by the erstwhile US Government, which is now faced with the uncertainty of continuity by the new Government based on their own perceptions and strategic intrests.

The CCA, she maintained, is a perfect conduit for Africa that will provide an opportunity for the continent to be heard in the public as well as private sectors in the United States of America. The CCA, the Minister Counsellor underscored, will be very helpful in discussing with African states with a view to facilitating a stronger US-Africa investment and business relationship for the mutual benefit of the two continents and its trade partners/companies in Africa.

Mrs. Isha S.A. Sillah, furthered that Africa is believed to be the future destination of commerce with huge potential in raw materials, which will be beneficial to the United States, and will provide opportunities for the US companies doing business in Africa.

According to Mrs. Sillah, some of the plenary topics discussed included; the new US administration’s engagement in Africa despite the decrease in Africa’s growth – it is still a viable place to do business; how ICT will transform business in Africa through data collection; Africa’s role in the global supply chain and Tourism – upgrading the African travel experience, among other issues.

In another related engagement, The Minister Counsellor and Head of Chancery of the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington DC Mrs. Isha S.A. Sillah, participated in the Mid Term Review Meeting (18th July, 2017) in Washington DC  in preparation for 2017  African Growth and Opportunity Act  (AGOA) Forum to be held in Lome Togo from 8-10 August, 2017.

Sierra Leone she said, as a member of AGOA beneficiary countries, stands to benefit from the engagement if a national strategy is developed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to increase access to American markets.  She further stated that Sierra Leone has to do a complete mapping of what it requires to effectively export commodities to the US. ‘We have to do more in building knowledge of rules and standards; developing market intelligence about the US market; identifying niches; and developing domestic infrastructure and promoting trade facilitation; among others, she added.

‘Ebola is over and the country is again ready for business. Image change is needed to positively attract investors to our country’, she concluded.

USAID UPDATES FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON PROJECT ACTIVITIES IN SIERRA LEONE

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and three of its implementing partners (Thursday 20th July 2017) updated the Minister of State I and Senior Management staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on project activities implemented in the country between 2014-2017 in the Conference room off the Ministry.

Welcoming USAID and implementing partners-World Vision, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and World Fish; the Minister of State I, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay emphasized the importance of such update meeting while noting that the Ministry, on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone signed Grant Agreements with USAID on the improvement of Agriculture and Food Security situation, governance and economic growth. ‘It is therefore imperative that the Ministry that appended its signature to such agreement for and on behalf of Government and the people of Sierra Leone be informed on the progress of projects implemented in the country thus far’, Dr. Sesay added.

The Minister of State I, further stated that engagement with USAID and implementing partners shows the level of accountability, transparency and commitment in achieving the objective set forth in the Grant Agreement signed between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the US Government acting through USAID.

In her response statement, the USAID Country Coordinator Khadijat Mojidi said that mutual accountability is critical for both the government and people of Sierra Leone and for the government and people of the United States because the assistance being offered is really one for a partnership. USAID she said, implements through third party contractors, but in terms of ensuring that what is needed is delivered on time in a manner that is impactful, the Ministry should hold itself responsible. This update meeting between the two countries, she furthered, including implementing partners, civil society, etc. should be a normal process to hold themselves accountable, and review progress based on plans and actuals, to identify achievements and celebrate those achievements; to identify challenges and try to come up with solutions to those challenges. ‘It was the Minister’s insistence that we start this first in a series of update meeting’, she added.

The USAID Country Coordinator noted the current funding challenges they are facing is as a result of a change/shift of priority in the US following the outcome of their elections last November. ‘We are not going to be getting the budget level as we thought – with this challenge we have to come up with a solution by scaling up our activities using the communities and private sector engaged in the country to make up the short falls’, she added. 

Concluding she recommended taking the next set of meetings to the field, through site visits, talk to beneficiaries, review some of the constraints and hear from those much more involved in the day to day activities of these projects.

Update on activity presentations by implementing partners – CRS, World Vision and World Fish respectively acting through USAID climaxed the meeting followed by a question and answer session.

Present at the meeting were: the Director General and senior management staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the USAID Global Health Security Agenda Advisor, CRS Country Representative, Country Directors of World Vision and World Fish organisations.

Sierra Leone Re-affirms preparedness for a Toxic Free Future

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Smaura M. W. Kamara has reaffirmed to World Leaders the country’s preparedness to work within the framework of a solid partnership intended to build a toxic free future, where dangerous chemicals are no longer produced, used or released on their sovereign terrains.

The aim of this conference which attracted over 170 countries, 1,400 participant and 70 Ministers of various governments is for participating countries to adopt sound management of chemicals and wastes and to ensure that the environment and human health are protected.

Dr. Samura Kamara in his address to delegates of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions held in Switzerland in April this year said the theme of this year’s high-level meeting: “A future detoxified: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste” is indispensable to the effective and healthy management of the world’s environment.

The challenges associated with chemicals and waste he underscored are enormous and harder for countries like Sierra Leone that lack resources, new to the Conventions and have no prior experience of implementation, compliance and reporting.

The Foreign Affairs Minister further reminded delegates that the Vision of Government by 2035 is that Sierra Leone aspires to be an inclusive, green, middle-income country by putting in place an effective environmental management system that protects our biodiversity and is capable of pre-empting environmental disasters. ‘The broad aim of these conventions is consistent with the policy agenda and development aspirations of our Government with regards to building a detoxified future’ he added.

Sierra Leone the Minister maintained is willing and ready to work with all partners and other stakeholders in the domestication and implementation of the Minamata, Basel and Rotterdam Conventions. This he said will enable Sierra Leone to create the appropriate legal environment at the national level to influence the formulation of a national strategy and the required policy actions for the management of chemicals and waste. With the support of the Global Environment Facility and its Agencies Dr. Kamara said, Sierra Leone is currently drafting several legislative instruments geared towards the effective management of chemicals and waste with the aim of protecting human health and the environment.

The country he said is currently engaged in policy actions to continue to demonstrate commitment to the objectives of the three Conventions including stocktaking exercises on several chemicals listed within the Stockholm Convention with a view to updating National Implementation Plan; conducting baseline estimate studies on mercury and its compounds; conducting inventory on obsolete pesticides; developing a National Action Plan (NAP) for the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector and improving Medical Waste management; and raising the bar in keeping its citizens informed on the dangers of poor management of chemicals and waste.

Government is therefore “developing national regulatory frameworks to contain pollution and other environmentally harmful activities from the use of hazardous chemicals and waste”. Our government maintains that environmental protection and development are inseparable and looking after one does not and should not exclude the other, he concluded.

It could be recalled that Sierra Leone ratified the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (SC) on 26 September 2003; the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (BC) on 1 November 2016; and the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (RC) on 1 November 2016.

Sierra Leone was warmly welcomed as new a member to the BC and RC at the opening plenary session in late April 2017.

At the end of this convention member countries are expected to roll out the implementation of these conventions through Ratification and Domestication. In Sierra Leone it is expected that the EPA will take the lead in the implementation of the policy actions.

The Sierra Leone delegates included Mrs. Haddijatou Jallow (Executive Chairperson, EPA); Patrick Hassan Morlai Koroma and Idris S. Tejan (MFAIC) and Alie Jalloh (EPA).