akisawyerr1_ CARL DE SOUZAAFP via Getty Images_freetown Carl de Souza/AFP via Getty Images

Empowering Healthy, Resilient Hometowns

Mitigating and adapting to climate change require good urban planning, particularly climate-sensitive design. But, despite the need for rapid action, cities like Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, often face high and unnecessary impediments.

FREETOWN – With the recent conclusion of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the challenge of turning words into action begins. But in capitals around the world, administrative and political hurdles are hindering governments’ ability to address the climate crisis with the urgency it requires.

I know this firsthand. In Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, local leaders are trying to address climate change in ways that will help the community become healthier and more resilient, but bureaucracy at the national level is a complicating factor.

Freetown does not make a significant contribution to global greenhouse-gas emissions, but the city wants to do more to reduce its carbon footprint, particularly in light of climate change’s impact on the health of its residents. Building a healthy city is one of the four key areas in the Transform Freetown agenda, which the local council launched in 2019 to prepare our city for the challenges we face.

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