Clara Gallagher, an Overseas Development Institute (ODI) fellow, who recently completed a one-year two months’ work at Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) has been looking back at her stay in Liberia and the technical supports she provided the EPA during her stay in the West African country.
“The EPA is such a great working environment. People are really enthusiastic and genuinely care about their work. It’s a difficult sector to promote – there are so many challenges in Liberia and a limited government budget, but EPA makes the most of what we have and the impact goes far,” Clara said in an interview on 2 December 2019 in Spain.
Clara believes there is a great leadership team at EPA and that there is a clear direction on where the entity should go and stressed: “this is so important for making progress.”
During her time in Liberia, Clara engaged in several activities including the provision of support to the output of many different parts of EPA’s works.
“My favorite part of work has been to do with national Reduce Emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+): Liberia is so close to attracting payments for maintaining its forest cover and it has been really interesting to work out exactly how to make this work.” Clara didn’t take all the credits for what was achieved during her time at the EPA, but apportioned credits to some staff of the EPA, and other line ministries and agencies of government who worked diligently to ensure that the environment remains protected.
“Of course, I’ve not been doing this alone, and the thing I have enjoyed most is working with some really great colleagues across different Ministries and Agencies as well as inside the EPA, she explained.
She was successful in supporting the country’s national preparation to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as well as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) partnership funding application processes. Moreover, Clara supported the nation’s National preparatory meeting of the UN Climate Change Conferences COP 24 and 25, which is currently taking place in Spain.
Clara didn’t only also write the official submission for institutional review for the Basel Convention; she helped the national REDD+ Technical Working Group and National Climate Change Secretariat to prepare for COP25 side event, which was held on Thursday, December 5, 2019.
She also played major role in the productions of “Environmental Watch”, the agency’s quarterly newsletter; the agency’s capacity needs assessment and the teaching of the President Young Professional (PYP)’s work skills.
Clara was also instrumental in organizing and executing several programs including World Environmental Day, World Biodiversity Day, and the drafting of quarterly and semi-annual reports for EPA.
The ODI fellow attended several local and international conferences and did presentation on COP24, plastic pollution, private sector adaptation opportunities, climate smart agriculture, air pollution, and coastal erosion.
Clara is an asset who will be missed by staff at the EPA, as expressed by many employees who attended her farewell and honoring program organized by the Human Resource Department last Monday November 24, 2019.
EPA Executive Director, Hon. Dr. Nathaniel T. Blama lauded the ODI and Clara for also willing to help in every available capacity.
Dr. Blama lavished praises on Clara for her dedication and support to Liberia’s environmental sector. He said she will always be remembered for her constitutions.