In collaboration with the Environment Protection Agency in Sierra Leone (EPA-SL), the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) organised a meeting for the membership of the Coalition on Oil and Gas Pollution on the Environment in Sierra Leone (COGaPE-SL), who are key stakeholders in the oil and gas sector in the country to review the coalition’s mandate and also develop a work plan for 2021 – 2022. The meeting was held in Freetown on 25th March, 2021 and it was well attended.

COGaPE-SL is a national platform consisting of state and non-state actors in the oil and gas sector in Sierra Leone. It was formed in 2019 by the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL) with support from MAVA Foundation through the Regional Programme for Conservation of the Coastal and Marine Zone (PRCM) to support the people of Sierra Leone in raising public awareness about the hazards of oil and gas pollution on marine environment.

Mr. Charles Showers, President of CSSL’s Board of Trustees welcomed participants, and underscored the relevance of the formation of COGaPE as a formidable platform through which the general public could be easily reached with key messages to reduce the hazards of oil and gas pollution on the environment in Sierra Leone. He requested all to show strong commitment towards their membership with the coalition.

Abdul K. Dumbuya, Communications Officer of CSSL briefed participants about the purpose of the meeting, and took them through the methodology to employ in reviewing COGaPE’s mandate and the development of a work plan for its operations in 2021 and 2022. He presented the existing mandate and terms of reference (ToR) of the coalition to participants and allowed them to objectively look at it and make amendments if deemed necessary. Participants confirmed the relevance of all three (3) objectives, but indicated the need for SMART indicators that can be easily monitored over time. They also made other significant suggestions including getting the coalition registered with the relevant government ministry. Alhaji Malikie Siaka of Wetlands International noted that, member organizations and MDAs should have strong commitment in supporting the coalition’s objectives. “There should be space for affiliate membership, and financial contributions by members should be prioritized”, he suggested.

A session to develop the coalition’s work plan for 2021 – 2022 was co-moderated by Mrs. Aminata Finda Massaquoi, Station Manager at Culture Radio and Alhaji Malikie Siaka. They did this by generating varied inputs from participants through discussions and suggestions. At the end, all members expressed enthusiasm to quickly commence the implementation of the work plan, but this depends on availability of funds.