Freetown, Sierra Leone — Jefferson Koijee, the City Mayor of Monrovia at the launch of the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center's City Champions for Heat Action in Freetown, Sierra Leone says the African Continent is mostly at risk when it comes to the issue of climate change.
The Monrovia City Mayor Koijee said, "There can be no other place to champion the issue of climate change -especially heat than the continent of Africa. Statistics have shown that Africa is the hottest continent in the world. We suffer the risk."
The Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilient Center's City Champions for Heat Action was launched in Freetown, Sierra Leone on October 20, 2021 by Freetown City Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr.
The Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation aim is to reach one billion people with resilience solutions by 2030. Also, the initiative is poised to build human capacity for resilience in the face of climate change with a focus on people, communities, and institutions to help them better prepare for, navigate, and recover from the shocks and stresses occurring across the globe.
Mayor Koijee praised the Freetown City Mayor Madam Sawyerr for championing the cause of reducing heat in Freetown and beyond. That way, he says can adequately address the issue of climate change that seems to be a major concern to world's leaders.
To address the impact of climate change, the Mayor of Freetown has also planted enormous trees as a means of reducing heat for vulnerable communities in the City of Freetown.
Mayor Koijee added: "I am proud that one of our distinguished sisters is championing that and I am glad that it is being launched in Freetown, Sierra Leone. So, I think, it is a source of inspiration."
Mayor Koijee also called on the leaders on the Africa continent to rally around the Freetown City Mayor to see how the issues of climate change can be adequately communicated to their people. This, he said, will help especially, people living in vulnerable communities.
"We do not want to be taken by surprise like how COVID-19 did to the entire world," he said.
"Our being here today is extremely important and I think that Monrovia not only being here but we will partner with you and we want to say that as you have appointed a Heat Officer, we will read from your notes and see how -we have a resilience officer but we are going one step above to have a Heat Officer so that our heat officer can share notes with the Heat Officer in Freetown," Mayor Koijee said.
"The more we begin to engage and solve our problems as Africans, I think it is fantastic and it is wonderful. I want to thank you (Madam Sawyerr) for leading the charge. What you have started, we want to assure you that we stand with you and we hope that we can begin from the Mano River Union to have some conversations around this initiative so that we can save our people," he said.
Also speaking, Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, after announcing Freetown City Council's sanitation sector lead, Eugenia Kargbo, as Freetown's first Chief Heat Officer said heat is an emergency for every country in Africa.
"Climate change for Freetown means more frequent and dangerous extreme high temperatures for residents, especially our most vulnerable citizens," said Mayor Aki-Sawyerr.
She added: "Freetown is not unique - heat is an emergency for cities across Africa and the world. City Champions for Heat Action and our new Chief Heat Officer will help me accelerate the protection of vulnerable people and implement cooling solutions for long-term health and well-being of the citizens of Freetown and ultimately, other cities in the African continent."