The Mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr has been elected to serve as the co-chairs of C40 cities, a global network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities that are united in action to confront the climate crisis.

Aki-Sawyerr OBE was Mayor of Freetown from May 2018 to February 2023 and was recently re-elected to serve for a second term will serve alongside the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan as co-chairs of the organization.

As the elected leaders of the C40 organisation, the co-chairs play a key role in raising the bar on climate ambition around the world and advocating for the role of cities in addressing the climate crisis. Mayor Khan requested an updated leadership model to not only represent a commitment to celebrate and uplift the significant contributions of Global South cities in addressing the climate emergency but also to enable their voices to be heard.

Freetown became a member of C40 Cities in 2019. Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr has been a vocal supporter of the Global Green New Deal, launched at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen as a solution to tackle inequality and the climate crisis together. Freetown has committed to planting and growing 1 million trees to build resilience against flooding and absorb carbon dioxide. In 2019, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr, launched the Transform Freetown plan, a three-year vision for the development of the city. It aims to work with residents to address a range of issues from waste management and job creation, to improving urban mobility and tackling environmental degradation.

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr is committed to advancing multilateral action, expanding the influence of city leaders, ensuring financial investments for climate action, and actively engaging the youth for a more sustainable future. Recognising the importance of Global South voices in the fight against the climate emergency, newly elected co-chair Mayor Aki-Sawyerr will be leading the C40 mayoral delegation to COP28 in Dubai.

Mayor of London and C40 Co-Chair, Sadiq Khan, said: “Cities are leading the way when it comes to tackling the climate emergency and I am committed to doing more to empower cities in the Global South, which are on the frontline – facing the worst consequences of the climate crisis. The co-chair model is a milestone in our commitment to engaging and elevating Global South cities. Working alongside Mayor Aki-Sawyerr, I will amplify the significant roles cities across the world play in global climate action initiatives.”

Mayor of Freetown and C40 Co-Chair, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, said: “I would like to take the opportunity to thank Mayor Khan for his leadership over the last two years and the leaders of other C40 cities for their solidarity and support in addressing the climate emergency. It’s crucial that the voices of Global South cities are heard and considered in climate action planning. As co-chair, I’m dedicated to ensuring our perspectives and needs are not just included, but prioritised, and these priorities form the foundation of our shared mission.”