“Cultivating Climate Resilience in Sierra Leone: Insights from the Mayor’s Desk”
Mayor’s Desk: Cultivating Climate Resilience in Sierra Leone
Mayor Yvonne Denise Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown, Sierra Leone, discusses her Transform Freetown planning initiative and her appointment of Africa’s first chief heat officer to address climate change. The initiative focuses on four categories: resilience, human development, healthy city, and urban mobility. Out of 322 focus groups with about 15,000 residents, 19 specific, measurable targets were identified. The chief heat officer aims to collect data to identify heat islands and work with market women to install shade covers. The million tree initiative aims to increase vegetation cover by 50%. Property tax reform efforts have increased property tax income by fivefold by digitizing and refining their database.
Mayor Yvonne Denise Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown, Sierra Leone, has been working to cultivate climate resilience in her city since taking office in May 2018. A finance professional with over 25 years of experience, Aki-Sawyerr previously campaigned against blood diamonds and was involved in the Ebola crisis response in 2014. She launched the Transform Freetown planning initiative, which focuses on four categories: resilience, human development, healthy city, and urban mobility. Under this initiative, 19 specific, measurable targets have been set and reported on annually to the public sector, private sector, and international community through roundtable discussions.
Aki-Sawyerr appointed Africa’s first chief heat officer to confront the impacts of climate change, particularly extreme heat, which disproportionately affects those living in informal settlements. The chief heat officer is working to collect data to identify heat islands, and has helped to install market shade covers in three open markets with funding from Arsht Rockefeller and Atlantic Council.
The initiative to plant a million trees aims to increase vegetation cover in the city by 50% and mitigate the effects of extreme weather events. Other climate mitigation projects include flood mitigation work and building drainage in smaller communities. Aki-Sawyerr has also invested heavily in disaster management training and capacity building.
Municipal fiscal health is also important to the city’s climate resilience. Aki-Sawyerr teamed up with partners to digitize property tax reform efforts, moving from an area-based system to a point-based system with weightings for features like roofs and windows. The city has increased its property tax income five-fold by identifying over 120,000 properties from a database of 37,000 using satellite imagery and real charter surveyors.
Overall, Aki-Sawyerr’s efforts to cultivate climate resilience in Freetown have been community driven and focused on accountability, with specific, measurable targets and annual reporting to the public sector, private sector, and international community through roundtable discussions.
1- melk360.com ,Mayor’s Desk: Cultivating Climate Resilience in Sierra Leone ,2023-04-17 22:16:23