The Mano River Union Multi-Stakeholder Renewable Energy and Clean Cooking Conference

Outcome Document — The Freetown Declaration 19 November 2019

I. We, the Ministers of Energy, Parliamentarians and Civil Society Organizations working on energy, have gathered at the Raddison Blu, Mammy Yoko Hotel in Freetown, Sierra Leone for the first ever Mono River Union Multi-Stakeholder Conference on Renewable Energy and Clean Cooking from the to 19 November 2019.

2. We reaffirm our faith in the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and the timely and full of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 Targets adopted in September 2015 at the 70 UNGA in New York, USA, and reiterate our commitment and determination to ensure delivery on the Energy Goals of SDG7 — Affordable and Clean Energy.

3. We that access to energy is a significant concern for the Mano River Union (MRU)  Governments of Cote , Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. We recognise that energy access is a serious challenge and a major development constraint in the sub-region and we reiterate that energy is a crucial enabler for economic development and other social priorities, such as poverty alleviation, food security, improvements in health and education, access to clean water and sanitation, meeting climate change and environmental targets, and economic empowerment, especially for women.

4. We recognise the vital importance of an effective MRU sub-regional mechanism, in accordance with international laws, to support progress in the areas of renewable energy access and clean cooking solutions and the interconnected challenges and threats confronting the sub-region. We resolve to facilitate policies and regulations that build on local circumstances and ensure adequate intervention in the energy nexus with health, clean water and sanitation, education, agriculture, manufacturing/industry, and small and medium enterprises;

5. We recognise that current global developments and specific circumstances in the sub-region require that we urgently build consensus on renewable energy. Therefore, we resolve to work on a harmonised enabling policy and regulatory framework, and facilitate efforts aimed at sustaining enough and stable private financial flows to the sub-region. We dedicate ourselves to take concrete actions to support efforts to better attract companies and scaling up innovative financing mechanisms and taking joint action to tackle market barriers in the sub-region.

6. We recognise that there has been a tendency for clean cooking to be treated as a separate sector rather than an integral part of the wider energy system, resulting, for example, in the lack of interest in cleaner alternatives. We endorse targeted market research, including modelling of regional or national trajectories of maturing the energy sector as a matter of urgency, to understand the scale of the issue and to provide data analysis that could inform future policy interventions and tailored to the specific opportunities and challenges in each country.

7. We recognise the severity of the clean cooking problems in the wider African region. We resolüe to cooperate with the Global Alliance for Clean Cooking, and the Health and Energy Platform of Action (HEPA), the Clean Cooking Fund, the Coalition of Leaders that were recently launched at the UN Climate Summit at the 7$ UNGA in September 2019, given the importance of the issue and related social and environmental impact in each of the four countries. We pledge to facilitate determined actions on clean cooking at the highest political level. We believe that through demonstration of clear leadership and increased coordination, the MRU can help to incentivie new ECOWAS-wide political commitments and projects required to turn the tide on Clean Cooking.

8. We reaffirm our commitment to sound policies, good governance at all levels and the rule of law, and to mobilizing domestic resources, attracting international flows, promoting international trade as an engine for development, increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development.

9. We acknowledge the vital role the private sector can play in generating new investments, employment and financing in the energy sector. Therefore, we resolve to encourage greater public-private partnership for direct investment, including foreign investment in the sub-region to support the energy development initiatives and to enhance the benefits they can derive from such investments.

10. We reaffirm that each country must take primary responsibility for its own development. Nevertheless, we recognise that national efforts should be complemented by supportive sub-regional initiatives on renewable energy and clean cooking, while considering national conditions and ensuring respect for national ownership, strategies and sovereignty.

11. We commit ourselves to take immediate action as a follow-up in the following areas:

i. Work together to harmonize policies for renewable energy and off-grid solutions across our four countries under the leadership of the MRU     secretariat;

ii.    Seek technical assistance from international development partners to undertake relevant technical studies regarding status of clean cooking        solutions;

iii. Establish an MRU association of private sector actors in renewable energy and clean cooking solutions;

iv. Commit ourselves to enhance cooperation amongst our legislators in the fields of energy, energy regulators, and ministries of energy;

                    v. Undertake the development of a road-map for regional energy market integration and implementation of the recommendation from this first ever                         high-level conference on renewable energy and clean cooking;

                       vi. Commit to have this platform as a regular international event that will be held in the sub-region annually.