Alt text for imagePlanting trees to rehabilitate degraded farm land destroyed by bush fires in Gbendembu Village (UNDP)

UNDP’s Environment and Energy portfolio supports the Government of Sierra Leone’s efforts towards enhanced institutional and community capacities for sustained environmental management and Disaster Risk Reduction. Recognizing the acute environmental challenges faced by the country, UNDP works with key stakeholders to build on existing capacity and ongoing initiatives to address the issues of sustainable land management, renewable energy and natural resource management. As deforestation has significantly accelerated the negative impacts of climate change in Sierra Leone, UNDP is also focusing on the link between climate change and Disaster Risk Reduction.

The programme aims to effect development change through two strategic programmatic areas:

1.            Strengthening mechanisms and frameworks that promote social and environmental sustainability in natural resource management. 

2.            Enhancing capacity for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management at the national, district and community level.   

UNDP support includes activities that focus on enhancing the legislative enabling environment (e.g. improving legislative frameworks, policy reviews, development of strategies and action plans), as well as at enhancing implementation capacities at national, district and community levels. 

Recent Accomplishments

COMPONENT 1. Strengthening mechanisms and frameworks that promote social and environmental sustainability in natural resource management. 

Output 1: Strengthened, gender-sensitive policies, legal and institutional frameworks for land tenure

Since 2009, UNDP has supported the Ministry of Land, Country Planning and Environment to reform the National Land Policy and incorporate good practices related to gender equality and land registration. This process culminated with the approval of the reformed Land Policy by Cabinet in November 2015.  UNDP presently works together with FAO and other partners to facilitate mechanisms that support further reforms related to land management.

Output 2: Strengthened, gender-sensitive policies, legal and institutional frameworks relevant to the extractive sector. 

UNDP strongly supports processes to facilitate transparent and inclusive governance of natural resources, particularly also in the extractive sector as a key area for national and local economic development.

In partnership with AfDB, GIZ, the Natural Resource Governance Institute, and the African Minerals Development Center, we support the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources in providing benchmarks for better governance in the extractive sector, using the 12 precepts from the Natural Resource Charter. The results are used to inform policy, legal and regulatory reforms in the mineral sector through design of a new National Core Minerals Policy, as well as review of the 2009 Mines and Minerals Act and the 2012 National Minerals Agency Act in line with the Africa Mining Vision.   

In addition, Sierra Leone is one of 5 African countries selected to benefit from a $ 1.5 million grant from the Sustainable Development Goal Fund. The SDG-F project in Sierra Leone implemented jointly with FAO and takes an integrated approach to sustainable development by enabling sustainable livelihoods through natural resource governance, increased transparency and accountability, and economic diversification in the Kono District, which is one of the most mineral-rich but least developed districts in the country. 

B.     Improved governance of natural resources through enhanced national and local capacities for monitoring and transparency.

UNDP has worked together with the Environment Protection Agency since its establishment in 2009 to increase national capacity for environmental monitoring and reporting in order to facilitate informed decision-making on environmentally sustainable natural resource management. 

With support from Columbia University CIESIN, we have enhanced the EPA’s ability to monitor environmental change through a centralized GIS-database and training staff to produce, interpret and disseminate information based on satellite images. We also support the EPA in producing a State of the Environment Report*, which the agency is mandated to produce on a bi-annual basis and is aimed at providing a snapshot of environmental issues, challenges and potential solutions for sustainability. 

C. Enhanced national and local capacity for protection of key biodiversity areas.

The National Protected Areas Authority was established in 2014 with the mandate to protect key biodiversity areas in Sierra Leone. UNDP works together with the NPAA and other partners to fulfill this mandate by strengthening legislative frameworks, facilitating training, transboundary cooperation, and supporting a civil society platform for knowledge and information exchange. 


COMPONENT 2. Enhancing capacity for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management at the national, district, and community level.   

A.            Increased national and local capacities for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Our team implements a diversity of interventions at the national, district and community level aimed at reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses and enhancing capacities to adapt to the impacts of climate change. 

With funding from the German Government through the EC, we supported the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) in developing Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, which were presented to the UNFCCC in the lead up to COP21.  We also supported Sierra Leone in developing its first Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, which were validated in 2015. In addition, our programme presently includes four climate change related projects financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF):


Climate Information & Early Warning Systems

The project on strengthening climate information and early warning systems for climate resilient development and adaptation to climate change (CIEWS), builds on an initiative started with support from the UK Meteorological Office in 2013 to strengthen capacity of the Sierra Leone Meteorological Department (SLMD) in the Ministry of Transport & Aviation (MTA). The project started its implementation phase in May 2014 and is part of a regional project in which 10 African countries participate. One of the key outputs in Sierra Leone is to re-establish a functional network of meteorological and hydrological infrastructure in order to better understand and predict climatic changes, and provide early warning information to relevant sectors such as transport and agriculture. 


Efficient Production & Utilization of Charcoal

The project on energy efficient production and utilization of charcoal through innovative technologies and private sector involvement started in 2014 and is implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy (MoE). The project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in rural households and industrial sectors of Sierra Leone through sustainable biomass resource production and utilization, and promotion of sustainable biomass energy technologies using market-based approaches.


Climate Resilience in the Water Sector

The project on building adaptive capacity to catalyse active public and private sector participation to manage the exposure and sensitivity of water supply services to climate change started in October 2015 and is implemented in close cooperation with the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) and the Guma Valley Water Cooperation.  Water supply infrastructure in Freetown and three districts will be made resilient against climate change induced risks by pioneering innovations that particularly address the dry season water supply problems, which are likely worsened by anticipated climate change impacts. [LINK to GEF CC Water Project Site]

Resilient Coastal Zone Management

In October 2015, the GEF CEO endorsed the provision of a grant for preparation of a project on climate change resilient coastal zone management in Sierra Leone with an indicative budget of US$ 9.98 million from the Least Developed Countries Fund. We are presently in the process of developing the project document, which will include interventions aimed at strengthening the ability of coastal communities to systematically manage climate change risks and impacts on physical infrastructure and economic livelihoods. [LINK to GEF CZM Project Site]


Enhanced national and local capacities for disaster risk management.

Given the strong linkages that exist between environmental degradation, climate change impacts and vulnerability to disasters, the Programme also plays a key role in supporting the Sierra Leone Disaster Management Department (DMD) in the Office of National Security (ONS).

In 2013-2014 UNDP supported the development of a Disaster Risk Management Policy, Strategy and Action plan, which were approved by the National Security Council in November 2015. [LINK to documents]

With technical support from UNISDR, a centralized DesInventar database was established at DMD and training was provided to increase staff capacity for efficient collection, processing and dissemination of disaster-related data.


The Community Volunteer groups that were established by DMD with support from UNDP in 2011 played an important role in awareness raising during the Ebola response, particularly in the densely populated and extremely vulnerable urban slums in the Western Area.  Through the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) we supported the Government in undertaking a nation-wide lesson learning exercise to identify good practices and lessons learned from the EVD response and make recommendations to institutionalize good practices in order to facilitate improved disaster responses and crisis coordination capacities. [LINK to documents]