The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is currently conducting two days National Conference on the environment and climate change in Liberia.
The program is based on the Paris agreement Liberia signed, and the goal is to limit global warming below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
Some of the key aspects of the Agreement are Long-term temperature goal, Global peaking and ‘climate neutrality, Mitigation Sinks and reservoirs, Voluntary cooperation/Market- and non-market-based approaches, Adaptation and Loss and damage.
The National theme for this year’s conference is, Ecosystem Restoration-a pathway towards a greener and sustainable Environment for the Implementation of Liberia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
President George Weah has praised the 54th Legislature for their strong support under his legislative program, in ratifying critical importance of climate change and the role Liberia has always played in forging international collaboration and cooperation of which he supported since taking office.
Serving as chief launcher of the two days program, President Weah said, the speedy ratification of the Agreement demonstrates the seriousness and urgency which his Government attaches to the issues of climate change and the environment.
He assured international partners that, Liberia will continue to meet its obligations and responsibilities to the Paris Agreement as well as other conventions and protocols on climate change and the environment.
Mr. Weah said despite COVID-19, his government continued to revise the Nationally Determined Contributions, which they anticipate to submit to the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat before the end of this year.
The Liberian leader noted that, Liberia’s revised NDC’s take into consideration the entire key sectors across the entire spectrum of climate change and the environment, which are: Agriculture, Energy, Fisheries, Forestry, Green Corridor, Health, Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, Transport, Waste, Gender and Youth, amongst others.
“BUILDING CLIMATE RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY-SMART PROJECTS MUST BE THE CENTREPIECE OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM, THE PRO-POOR AGENDA FOR PROSPERITY AND DEVELOPMENT (PAPD).
THIS IS WHY GOVERNMENT IS WORKING TO ALIGN THE PAPD WITH INITIATIVES THAT ARE SENSITIVE TO ISSUES OF ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE”, President Weah noted.
According to the Liberian leader, his Administration is currently making critical interventions in land reclamation and coastal defense projects.
He cited that the D. Tweah High School and the Redemption Hospital, both in the Borough of New Kru Town in Monrovia, were recently saved from sea erosion and said, they are now embarking on a similar project for West Point, called The Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilient Project.
The President also noted that the total cost of the project is US$25 Million and US$17.2 Million and is being funded by a grant from the Green Climate Fund, while another grant of US$10 Million has been approved for a similar project in Greenville, Sinoe County.
He said for almost three decades now, Liberia has not been able to conduct a national forest inventory that would enable the country to know the approximate value of this critical asset to guide national development planning.
However, with the support of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), I am pleased to report that Liberia has now concluded the first post-war national forest inventory. We are very grateful to the FAO for this support.
The inventory revealed that Liberia is still a forested nation that is endowed with many unique plant and animal species. I can attest to this because, during my recent County Tours, I witnessed and deeply appreciated the greenery of our Country, and its vast and impressive forests.
In his welcome statement, EPA Boss, Prof. Wilson Tarpeh said, the presence of President Weah, has now moved the issue of Environment and Climate Change up on the National radar.
According to him, it demonstrates the interest and concern of the Government of Liberia to mainstream Climate Change and environmental concern in the national development policies, program, and activities.
He praised the media, “I am glad that this conference is being relaid across the nation to those that are not here but listening live through radio broadcast and watching through other social media platforms”.
He commend President Weah for being supportive of and in solidarity with the EPA Family in ensuring that they keep the environment safe, clean, and healthy and at the same time addressing the most challenging problem of the time, Climate Change.
Director Tarpeh said, the conference come at a time when the world is experiencing the enormous environmental and Climate challenges ranging from degradation of wetland, perennial flooding of water bodies and beaches, indiscriminate dumping of wastes, wanton killing of wildlife, and the erratic weather pattern which is the consequence of climate change.
He noted that these Challenges are also undermining Liberia’s effort in accomplishing the objective of the Sustainable Development Goals and in particular the Pro-Poor Agenda For Prosperity And Development (P.A.P.D).
According to the Director, Being cognizant of the mandate of the Environmental Protection Agency to protect and manage the environment of the country, the EPA under his leadership decided to convene this conference which will provide the opportunity to deliberate on these challenges that are impacting lives and forget a collective and agreeable action to address them.
Mr. Tarpeh quiqkly noted that, the EPA can’t do it alone, but will count on the cooperation, collaboration, and support of all stakeholders.
“We remain thankful to our partners including the European Union, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Government of Sweden, the People Republic of China, United Nations Development Program, Conservation International, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and many others for the continuing support that the EPA receives in the pursuit of its mandate” he noted.
The EPA Diretor continued that, the first phase of the conference is intended for two days at the Ministerial Complex but will be climaxed in Robert Sport, Grand Cape Mount County on Saturday, June 5, 2021, where they will assemble to celebrate the World Environment Day.
According to him, World Environment Day is a day set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to honor the Earth we live on.
Meanwhile, International partners, Civil Society and Conservation all pledge their support to Liberia in combating bad environmental practices, climate change and ecosystem.