Environment Protection Agency Concludes Phase 2 Sensitization on RIO Conventions in Western Liberia
Bomi County – Several farmers, local leaders and stakeholders from western Liberia – Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, Bomi and Montserrado Counties – have been cautioned to preserving their communities and environment from potential climate change through a two-day Stakeholders Consultative and Awareness Workshop on the three Rio Conventions; Bio-Diversity, Desertification and Climate Change.
Report by Lisa T. Diasay
Currently, the world is changing globally with climate change being one of the newest challenges, causing disaster in several countries due to failure to preserve environment properly.
The stakeholders made the assertion during the second phase of the regional stakeholders’ consultation awareness workshop under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) Cross-Cutting Capacity Development Project. Recently the EPA held the first phase in Nimba County for hundred stakeholders in Northern and Central Liberia.
Under the CCCD project, Liberia is expected to strengthen and institutionalized commitments under the RIO conventions by ensuring the flow of assistance and information between the local, national and global level efforts. Additionally, at the end of the project Liberia will achieve global environmental benefits at a lower transactional cost by improved coordination, collaboration and updating the NCSA to reflect post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. SDG 12 states that countries around the world must ensure that it’s achieve success by protecting their environment from Climate Change.
As part of the consultative workshop, Ma Jartu Pussah who is a farmer from Grand Cape Mount County described the role of farmers in the preservation of the environment especially, in the hinterland as crucial to helping the country support and achieve the RIO and SDG 13.
Liberia ratified and acceded to the RIO conventions on September 25, 2008. The three RIO conventions focus on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Desertification and derived directly from the 1992 earth summit in which each instrument represents a way of contributing to the Sustainable Development goals of Agenda 21.
Ma Jartu underscored the importance of continuous awareness for farmers and community members in combating climate change and saving the forest. “We want for EPA to help empower the farmers with more knowledge so we can help our other friends in the community to save our forest”.
She pledged to raise awareness in her community after being a part of the consultative awareness workshop as a means of helping EPA and the country at-large.
Western, Northern and Southeastern Liberia are seen with high green forest with various species of wildlife, but the country’s forest is facing continuous depletion.
Chief William Marwolo, paramount chief of Bopolu chiefdom in Gbarpolu County, stated that the delay by Liberia to implement international conventions which are in the interest of saving country from further disaster is worrisome as other countries are advancing some strategies to move forward. “It is sad the implementation of the law by the government of Liberia remains a major challenge to our development in this country and government should do more so we can make impact,” he said.
He challenged his colleagues attending the workshop to be leaders of change in creating more awareness on the essence of keeping the water, forest and land safe due to their direct representation of their districts, counties and regions.
The Cross-Cutting Capacity Development program which is a four-year project is funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the EPA in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program UNDP.
According to the team leader of the Sustainable Economic Transformation (SET) UNDP, Dorsla Farcarthy, the CCCD Project is essential due to its impact on the environment. He stated that sensitization and awareness are key to keeping the environment safe in order to ensure the boost of economic growth and promote livelihood.
Mr. Farcarthy noted that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals especially 13 depends on citizens action which he believes is cardinal to combating climate change, “we need to change our habits that undermines the fight for protecting our environment order than that we will feel the real effect of climate change which would lead to death in terms of protecting our soil,” he cautioned.
Several presentations were made to raise awareness of stakeholders on the risky behavior being practices daily in the community against the preservation of the environment.
Biodiversity 7 Sustainable Development presented by the EPA Focal Point on Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) J.S Datuamah Cammue highlighted the country’s role and involvement in the preservation of the environment for its citizenry. “Everyone has the fundamental right to an environment adequate for his or her wellbeing; noting that the state has more responsibilities to conserve and use the environment and natural resources for the beneficial of the present and future generations.
“It is the responsibilities of the state to maintain ecosystem and ecological processes essential for the functioning of the biosphere. They shall also preserve biological diversity and observe the principle of optimum sustainable yield in the use of living natural resources and ecosystems; it is the responsibility of the States to inform in a timely manner all people likely to be significantly affected by a planned activity and to grant them equal access due process in administrative and judicial proceeding,” he averred.
Mr. Cammue disclosed that environmental sustainability remains at the heart of the sustainable development movement; which is the process of making sure current processes of interaction with the environment are pursued with the idea of keeping the environments as natural as possible. “Sustainability requires that human activity only uses nature’s resources at a rate at which they can be replenished naturally. Inherently the concept of sustainable development is intertwined with the concept of carrying capacity”.
Cammue’s presentation captured the three constituents’ parts of sustainability for the environment which includes Environmental sustainability, Economic sustainability and Socio-political sustainability.
In 2008, Liberia completed its National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA). The NAPA is intended to address urgent and immediate adaptation actions for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to build their resilience to the impacts of climate change. At the end of the NAPA Process, three urgent and immediate adaptations were identified mainly Integrated Cropping and Livestock Farming, Coastal Defence and Climate Smart Agriculture.
Under the LDCF, the EPA mobilized funding for the execution of the following projects to help strengthening the resilient of the country against the impacts of climate change: Enhancing Resilience to Climate Change by Mainstreaming Adaptation Concerns to Agricultural Sector Development – US$2.3 Million, Enhancing Resilience of Vulnerable Coastal Areas to Climate Risks – US$4.9 Million.
Other projects include Strengthening Liberia’s Capability to Provide Climate Information and Services to enhance Climate Resilient Development and Adaptation to Climate Change – US$6.7 Million and Enhancing Resilience of Liberia Montserrado County Vulnerable C