The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has presented to the government of Liberia, findings of a feasibility study on the effects of climate change in Liberia and measures to be taken to address them.
The Presentation was made at a high level inception meeting of the Monrovia Metropolitan Coastal Resilient Project (MMCRP).
The MMCRP seeks to address sea erosion around the coastal areas of Monrovia and build on and scale up the work being done in New Kru Town.
Liberia is seeking funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to implement the project through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
According to the Executive Director of the EPA, Nathaniel Blama, the Government of Liberia through his Agency, had submitted a proposal to the GCF to tap into global funding mechanisms on climate change, to mitigate the effects being experienced in Liberia.
Mr. Blama however mentioned that the GCF had requested more technical details, data and statistics to be included in the proposal.
It was on this basis that UNDP with a funding source of over $US 800,000 from the Green Climate Fund, supported a feasibility study through the EPA, hiring an international firm, CDR International BV to conduct the study.
The EPA Boss noted that it is anticipated that Liberia meets a timeline of February-September 2019 to complete the submission and approval processes, so that actual work or implementation could start in November the same year.
Mr. Blama said the initiative is aligned with President George Weah’s vision of lifting Liberians out of poverty, encouraging Liberians to take ownership of the project and urging the government to muster the political will to help mobilize resources to co-finance the project.
He emphasized that the impact of climate change is visible in all sectors of the country, adding, that appropriate actions are needed to avert the trend.
“The effects of climate change place a huge burden on the economy, affecting our GDP and shifting production resources,” intimated Blama.
President George Weah welcomed the initiative, reiterating his vision of ensuring that Liberia remains open to investment opportunities, creating economic zones, by investing in Liberia’s beaches where vulnerable groups reside.
The Liberian Leader applauded the efforts of UNDP and other development partners that continue to assist his government tackle sea erosion in the borough of New Kru Town and urged Liberians to work together.
“Liberia is blessed. Nothing is impossible, but we need to believe in ourselves and work together to make Liberia great,” President Weah stressed.
With support from the UN and other partners, Liberia has made significant strides in Multilateral Environmental Agreements bordering on issues related to climate change and environment.
In 2002, Liberia ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and became a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, which demonstrated the political will to adopt a low carbon sustainable development pathway.
Also In 2008, Liberia in partnership with UNDP developed its National Adaptation Programme of Action, which enabled the country to identify priority areas that respond to the urgent needs to adapt to climate change. This also led to the approval of the National Adaptation Plan (NAPs) that Liberia is currently implementing under the aegis of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The United Nations Resident Coordinator Yacoub El Hillo, making remarks at the inception meeting, noted that with the framework of the pro-poor agenda, the government has firmly committed its intentions to prioritize climate change and disaster risk reduction.
Mr. El Hillo mentioned that maintaining Liberia’s coastal areas is part of sustainable development and a milestone to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals especially on climate action.
He pledged that the UN System remains committed to working with the Government of Liberia through the EPA in pushing this project through the GCF to allow Liberia access the much-needed finances to protect its coastal areas.
“It is our hope that upon approval of the project and completion of its implementation, the government would have mobilized resources to scale up the interventions to other critical areas that would not have been covered by the project,” The UN Resident Coordinator emphasized.
Climate projections for Liberia indicate that the country faces severe risk of climate change impacts to natural, human, infrastructure, and productive systems. The increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like flooding, sea erosion, storm surge and rise in temperature- threaten food supplies, causes migration and jeopardize livelihoods of the poor including women and children.
Findings of the feasibility study emphasized the need to tackle hotspot areas which include West Point, New Kru Town, Hotel Africa, the Mamba Point enclave, Barclay Training Center and 20th Street areas such as the John F. Kennedy Hospital and Bernard Beach among others.