On March 10, 2020, WaterAid UK held its first Water and Climate Summit, which brought together the public, private and philanthropic sectors for discussions around the impact of climate change on water accessibility in developing nations.
Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr was invited to attend as a Water Hero, who are people on the frontline of climate action in the developing world from various walks of life. Mayor Aki-Sawyerr was given the opportunity to share how the effects of climate change are unfolding in Freetown and how she, as a city leader, is taking action through #TransformFreetown. She did this through an opening speech with three other Water Heroes and through a panel discussion with Prince Albert II of Monaco, Lord Nicholas Stern (Grantham Research Institute), Bernie Mensah (Bank of America) and Cecelia Martinsen (WaterAid Sweden).
Mayor Aki-Sawyerr also had the opportunity to take part in a round table discussion on mobilizing the finance for climate resilient water and sanitation services in developing nations. She shared a table with government ministers and city leaders, international financial institutions like the World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, DFID and climate finance organisations like the Green Climate Fund. Together they identified challenges with accessing financing and possible strategies for overcoming the challenges.
Mayor Aki-Sawyerr also had the opportunity to meet with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who was the keynote speaker at the Summit.