COPH professor assists sustainability efforts in Sierra Leone

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Sustainability and environmental protection are hot topics in the world of public health. Combating climate change and cultivating more sustainable habitats are crucial to populations now and in the future.

In August, Dr. Foday Jaward, a COPH associate professor specializing in environmental chemistry and ambient air quality, attended the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Global Programming Conference in the Republic of Korea.

Foday Jaward, PhD, is at the forefront of Sierra Leone’s plan to build a sustainable future as the executive chairman of the EPA. (Photo courtesy of USF Health)

The GCF is a global platform that provides funding for emission and climate-resilient development. The focus of the group is to contribute to sustainability efforts on a global scale.

Sierra Leone, where Jaward is currently serving as the executive chairman of the Environment Protection Agency, is implementing a national development plan aimed at transforming its economy and supporting initiatives that will make the country more environmentally sustainable and climate resilient.

“The goal of the strategy and the accompanying action plan is to prepare the government and people of Sierra Leone to limit their carbon footprint and increase the sustainable well-being of all citizens,” said Jaward.

Sierra Leone’s strategy, like many plans aimed at combating climate change, focuses on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The country plans to accomplish this goal by targeting economic sectors in the country and putting interventions in place that will help businesses and industries operate in a profitable, yet sustainable, manner.

The plan is still in its infancy but Sierra Leone is receiving plenty of help from the GCF. At the programming conference, Jaward was able to present on behalf of the country, helping Sierra Leone gain valuable resources needed for the intervention.

“Early engagement with the GCF has helped us better understand the process of accessing resources,” said Jaward. “So far, Sierra Leone has received technical support in drafting proposals and support in the EPA accreditation process, which has been extremely helpful.”

Foday Jaward, PhD, (right), with former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the Green Climate Fund Programming Conference in the Republic of Korea. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Jaward)

Sierra Leone has several policies and interventions that the GCF will specifically help implement. The Private Public Partnership will allow the private sector to exchange ideas and support the implementation of the country’s climate initiatives. A National Midterm Development Plan has also been created to provide a framework for maintenance and evaluation of the country’s sustainability initiatives.

Jaward, who also traveled to New York to attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September, believes that the GCF’s assistance will ultimately lead Sierra Leone towards a green and sustainable future.

“Resources from the GCF will help to increase participation among different stakeholders within Sierra Leone while also making the delivery and coordination of our initiatives more effective,” said Jaward. “This will greatly influence the implementation of a climate resilient solution in Sierra Leone.”

Story by Cody Brown, USF College of Public Health