Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone has been elected as Vice Chair of the C40 Steering Committee, the governing body providing strategic direction for the global network of 97 cities committed to addressing the climate crisis.

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, has served as Mayor of Freetown since May 2018. Featured on the 2021 TIME 100 Next and BBC 100 Women 2020 List, she has served as the Director of Planning for the National Ebola Response Centre in Sierra Leone – the role for which she was awarded an OBE (Officer in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).

Freetown joined C40 Cities one month before the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic and Mayor Aki-Sawyerr served on the C40 Global Mayors Covid-19 Recovery Task Force based on her belief that cities are critical for a green and just recovery in response to the pandemic and to deliver a climate safe future. In Freetown, the actions of her administration have proven that innovative solutions and local actions can have immediate effects and add up to create national and global momentum. In her new role on the C40 Steering Committee Mayor Aki-Sawyerr has committed to promoting and advocating for courageous and ambitious action by cities from all parts of the world and inspiring change for a better future for our global residents.

As Vice Chair, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr will support the mayors of C40 Cities as they work together to deliver a green and just recovery from the COVID pandemic and address the climate crisis. Mayor Aki-Sawyerr was elected to represent Innovator Cities within C40’s membership – a total of 16 smaller cities from around the world that provide inspiration to others through their distinctive and pioneering climate leadership. 

C40’s member cities represent 700 million citizens and one quarter of the world’s economy. Through collaboration and innovation, the mayors of C40 Cities are determined to deliver on the Paris Agreement’s highest ambition and keep global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees, and to do so in an equitable way. 

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr said: “I am truly honoured to have been elected as Vice Chair of the C40 Steering Committee. As a female mayor from an innovator city in an emerging economy, I commit to not only represent the voices of C40 Innovator cities, but to highlight and promote the perspectives of women and smaller cities in emerging economies that are often overlooked in the fight against climate change. The world is running out of time in the fight against climate change – we need to act fast and we need to communicate to, and inspire all.”

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