Programme 21’s overall goal was to improve natural resource management capacity and environmental governance to support rural livelihoods, peace consolidation and overall sustainable development in Sierra Leone. It comprises the following broad thematic areas:

1. Sustainable Management of Extractives

2. Environmental Governance and Public Awareness

3. Land and Water Resource Management

4. Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

5. Chemicals Management

Some key achievements included:

  • A capacity needs assessment of EPA-SL’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes; training for Government officials and civil society on EIA methodology; and the development of guidelines for EIAs in the mining, forestry and infrastructure sectors;
  • Support with mine monitoring and the enforcement of environmental standards;
  • Awareness-raising events on the importance of environmental assessments for decision-makers and civil society;
  • Support to a government-led process of land tenure reform information and technical assistance;
  • Training on conflict-sensitive conservation to protected area managers (read more here)  and assistance in demarcating a contested forest reserve (read more here);
  • Capacity-building support to the Meteorological Department through the procurement of six automatic weather stations and two observation data management systems that will provide important meteorological information to farmers, as well as baseline data to gauge the impacts of climate change more clearly. (read more here);
  • Support to the Government’s revision of the 1994 “National Environmental Action Plan”, and a “roadmap” to develop an updated plan in a consultative and participatory manner; and,
  • UNEP worked with the Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-SL) and the UK Company Innospec Limited to safely decant, store and export approximately 12,000 liters of liquid, organic tetraethyl lead (TEL) from an abandoned refinery site in eastern Freetown. Stored both above and below ground in 93 increasingly unsafe (and often heavily corroded) barrels, the store of tetraethyl lead presented a serious hazard to health and human safety (read more here).