By: Saidu Jalloh

Minister Kenyeh Barlay, the Minister of Planning and Economic Development of Sierra Leone and Chair of g7+, delivered a powerful address at the COP28 UAE event focused on “Building Resilience through scaling up climate action in fragile and conflict-affected settings.”

Expressing profound gratitude to the COP28 Presidency and the United Arab Emirates, Minister Barlay commended the launch of ‘Relief, Recovery, and Peace’ Day, emphasizing its significance for those living in contexts of conflict, fragility, and vulnerability within the g7+ group.

In her impactful remarks, Minister Barlay highlighted the existential and intractable nature of climate change, underscoring the challenges faced by conflict-affected countries, including Sierra Leone and the g7+ Group. She lamented the historical lack of decisive international action, attributing it to economic interests hindering developed countries from reaching consensus on carbon emission targets.

The Minister brought attention to the harsh realities faced by fragile countries, least responsible for climate change yet experiencing the severe impacts of climate-related shocks such as droughts, floods, and extreme weather changes. She cited alarming statistics, noting that 40 out of 44 countries facing alarming hunger levels are classified as fragile, according to the global hunger index.

Minister Barlay detailed the complex interplay of climate change, poverty, conflict, and fragility, pushing countries into a vicious circle of vulnerability. She emphasized the crucial role of the COP28 Declaration on Climate, Relief, Recovery, and Peace, asserting its necessity for the survival of conflict-affected nations and their people.

In outlining the aspirations of the g7+, Minister Barlay presented a four-point agenda. Firstly, she called for the COP28 Declaration to contribute to the global discourse on building resilience through accelerated actions and financing. Secondly, she advocated for a nexus approach, integrating considerations for peace, stability, and institutions. Thirdly, she highlighted the need for increased financial resources for fragile countries, addressing the severe financing gap they face.

The Minister concluded with a call for emphasis on climate-smart agriculture, climate-resilient infrastructure, citizen-centric governance, and social spending to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

Minister Kenyeh Barlay’s address at COP28 positions her as a vocal advocate for the urgent climate needs of conflict-affected nations, adding a compelling voice to the global discourse on climate action and resilience. The deliberations during the conference are anticipated to influence policies and actions for a more sustainable and secure future for vulnerable communities.


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