UNDP has provided technical and practical support to the Office of National Security (ONS), donating valuable equipment that enabled first responders in the immediate rescue efforts of emergency coordination centers. The National Security Coordinator at the ONS, Mr. Ismail S T Tarawali commended UNDP for its timely support to ONS, and highlighted past and present work that has been valuable for the country, amongst the work highlighted is that in favor of strengthening the capacity of the Disaster Management Department in the ONS, through the UNDP supported and LDCF funded “Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems Project: “UNDP has always been a dependable partner in supporting technically and logistically over the years. In post-conflict times, national security times and our response to natural and manmade disasters.” UNDP along with the World Bank have been both designated as co-leads in national recovery efforts.
UNDP in coordination with the World Bank aims to enhance disaster risk mitigation capacities in the event of future floods and landslides. As such, the World Bank and UNDP are currently supporting a review of Sierra Leone's national a hazard profile.
In addittion, UNDP is working with national authorities in supporting the development of a website and an online Climate Information, Disaster Management and Early Warning Systems (CIDMEWS) web portal. Once fully developed, access to real-time and improved climate information will be readily available, including early warnings to end-users and disaster-prone communities. The website and CIDMEWS web portal will be launched in the coming weeks, receiving active support from the UNDP CIRDA Programme.
UNDP is also providing support in strengthening the legal frameworks that reinforce early warning systems, as well as the establishment of public and private partnerships for the dissemination of climate information.
Furthermore, UNDP is enhancing the capacities of the Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency (SLMA) by facilitating a year long meteorological training to 8 SLMA staff members at the Regional Meteorological Research and Training Institute (World Meteorological Organization Training Centre) in Nigeria. This training will be focused at strengthening the technical capacity of the SLMA staff in weather forecasting and observations, as well as in data analysis and communication.
UNDP will also provide long-term technical assistance to the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-SL)- the government entity mandated to lead the development of an environmental risk assessment and hazard identification. This will be done by welcoming an urban risk reduction expert, a debris management specialist, and a short-term geo-technical landslide expert as additional support to the EPA-SL team. In addition, the UNDP Sierra Leone Country Office will also request the deployment of a GIS expert through a standby partner.
Under national leadership, a three-fold Risk Management and Recovery Action Plan will be developed to support Government and partners make evidence-based decisions for the immediate, medium and long-term issues around settlement planning and sustainable urbanizations, as well as outline approaches to address meteorological and environmental challenges, and leverage existing work around hazard assessment for risk-informed decision making nationally.
An original version of this article was drafted by the UNDP Sierra Leone Communications Team, appearing in the Sierra Leone UNDP website and can be found here.