Mayor Aki-Sawyerr Speaks At Inaugural Forum On Global Resilience

The Mayor of the Municipality of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE has on Monday 2 May 2022 represented Sierra Leone in an inaugural Forum that strives to finding innovative and scalable solutions for building resilience to extreme heat, which is also called “Silent Killer”, and other climate challenges. 

According to Mayor of Freetown, Extreme heat aka Silent Killer is more deadly than any other climate-driven weather in an average year. Despite its severity and its deadly nature, it is little known and understood by majority. In Freetown recently, citizens have been complaining of extreme heat during the day and even at night. This is caused by man’s activities to nature, and others with little or no knowledge of the effects of their actions to the cutting down of trees. It is called Silent killer due to the damages it caused and yet not known.

She added that, after successful engagement with sponsors and partners, She will commence the construction of heat repellent market shades in 3 open air street markets (Calabar Town, Portee and Bombay Street) with plans to expand on these as quickly as possible so as to provide much needed relief for women who are among our most vulnerable population groups. (Below are CGI images to illustrate the market shades).

On her concluding statements,  she expressd her appreciations to their partnership with the Arsht-Rock Resilience Centre as she hoped to continue to collaborate and explore opportunities to finance more heat resilient interventions in our city.

On her very own words she wrote:

On Monday 2nd May 2022, I participated in the inaugural Forum on Global Resilience by the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation (“Arsht-Rock”) Resilience Centre. The event was curated to explore proven, innovative, and scalable solutions for building resilience to extreme heat and other climate change challenges.

Extreme urban heat is often called the “silent killer” because globally it kills more people than any other climate-driven weather event in an average year, and yet its deadly nature is little known or understood. Cities are ground zero for the health, social, economic, and physical consequences of extreme heat.

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The Forum was opened by Ms Adrienne Arsht, Founder, Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center and it was directed by Senior Vice President Kathy Baughman McLeod.

With Elizabeth Yee, Executive Vice President of the Rockefeller Foundation as the moderator of our panel, Eugenia Kargbo, Freetown’s Chief Heat Officer and I spoke about the work FCC is doing to better understand and address extreme heat in our city. In collaboration with community stakeholders such as Councillors, CDMCs and CBOs under the #FreetownTheTreeTown campaign and with government agencies and partners such as the Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency, EPA, NDMA, UNDP, Sierra Leone Red Cross, SLURC and with funding support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat mapping and air quality measurements will start in Freetown within the next two months to identify the urban heat islands and hot spot areas.

Simultaneously, with financial support from Arsht-Rock, we will commence the construction of heat repellent market shades in 3 open air street markets (Calabar Town, Portee and Bombay Street) with plans to expand on these as quickly as possible so as to provide much needed relief for women who are among our most vulnerable population groups. (Below are CGI images to illustrate the market shades).

We are grateful for our partnership with the Arsht-Rock Resilience Centre as we continue to collaborate and explore opportunities to finance more heat resilient interventions in our city.

At a time of major multi-sectoral challenges, it is important for us to keep making tangible improvements in the lives of our residents, one step at a time.”

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