To protect lives and build climate resilient livelihoods in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) 21, March 2021, approved US$17.2 million in funding for a new project that will benefit approximately 250,000 vulnerable people living in the Monrovia Metropolitan Area.
The six-year Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilience Project will be implemented by Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and responds to the life-threatening climate change-related impacts of sea-level rise, coastal erosion and urban encroachment into vital mangrove ecosystems. The Government of Liberia is providing US$8.4 million in co-financing for the project.
The project will indirectly benefit approximately 1 million people – a quarter of the country’s total population – through the adoption of an integrated coastal zone management approach for Liberia.
“To protect our people from the existential risks posed by the climate crisis, this project will expand our coastal defenses, enhance livelihoods, create new economic opportunities, and improve the protection of the vulnerable mangrove ecosystems in the Monrovian Metropolitan Area,” said Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia.
In the last decade, coastal erosion has caused the shoreline of Monrovia’s impoverished and densely populated settlement at West Point to regress approximately 30 meters. In all, more than 670 dwellings have been lost already and critical fishery businesses are at risk. An additional US$40 to US$48 million in climate change-related damages could occur at West Point by 2100 if nothing is done.
The project will address this urgent need by constructing a rock revetment to protect West Point against coastal erosion and storms. In addition it will improve institutional capacity and policy support for integrated coastal zone management across Liberia, protect ecosystems mangroves, and strengthen gender- and climate-resilient livelihoods to build climate resilience in the vulnerable communities of Monrovia.
The project builds on the Government of Liberia’s efforts to respond to the climate crisis, enhance livelihoods and protect vulnerable ecosystems through a number of UNDP-supported projects that are building coastal resilience, fostering climate-resilient agriculture, strengthening climate information and early warning systems, and supporting the government’s National Adaptation Plan.
“I recently visited some of the areas where this coastal resilience work will be done. I saw the communities and met with many of the women and men whose lives and livelihoods are directly threatened by the sea-level rise. This is what the Paris Agreement is about; about climate change creating real risks to people and their ways of life, and why it is so important that we learn to better co-exist with nature. These coastal protection measures are extremely important, particularly for the vulnerable communities and populations whose livelihoods are at risks, but in the long term we have to take better care of our planet,” said Mr. Stephen Rodriques, Resident Representative, UNDP Liberia.