Monrovia - Authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia have released a plan, which seeks to rebrand the government’s agency responsible for the protection of the environment.
The plan captioned: ‘Towards a renewed environmental commitment, rebranding of the EPA 2017-2022’, was developed during a two day strategic planning retreat in Paynesville, outside Monrovia
The strategic plan, which describes detail objectives and activities of the agency, will be used as the overarching framework for operations within the next five years, a release said.
The release noted that the plan also outlined the EPA vision toward the adoption of an integrated approach to sustainable environmental, natural resources management and social-economic development.
It also focused on climate resilience, as a mean to enhance national development agenda and greener future through objective, accurate and timely regulatory analyses and decisions.
EPA media section added that the plan was developed after two-day vigorous and inclusive retreat, which incorporated input from all stakeholders, including technical and non-technical staff of the agency, as well as local, national and international stakeholders.
EPA Executive Director, Anyaa Vohiri said the re-branding was necessary because it helps to articulate priorities and placed focus on key efforts.
According to Madam Vohiri, the coming years would present many changes and challenges for the agency.
“Re-branding provides the EPA with a clear and comprehensive plan to meet our mission to ensure transparency and accountability in sustainable environmental and natural resource management,” she noted.
Five strategic goals, which would, increased in MEAs funding portfolio to US$17 million under GEF by 2020 will accordingly require increasing the number of GEF projects formulation to higher number, the release said.
“The strategic goal will also enhance visibility in the 15 counties not only establishing offices, but ensure adequate equipment and logistics supply to the established offices, while it will also secure three GCF project in addition to the current Monrovia Metropolitan climate resilience project to increase the funding size of the country to US$ 100 million by 2020,” the release.
The release also added that the strategic goal would increase the Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) permits from 250 to 2,000 in all categories by 2020.
The increment would require the expansion of the ESIA process to new territory to include garages, makeshift gas stations and others.
“It will further required increase in compliance monitoring activities in the mining and infrastructural sectors leading to increase in revenue generation from the US$ 400,000 earmarked to over US$4 million,” EPA disclosed in the release.
The promulgation of additional standards, guidelines, monitoring equipment, human capacity and imposition of sustained penalty for would be violators will be a priority in realizing this goal.
The EPA media session noted that enabling measures identified to accelerate the implementation of the new vision include the establishment of environmental trust fund, sustained communication, education and public awareness, revision of the three environmental legal instruments that gave birth to the agency, stakeholders collaboration and coordination network and an increased capacity development to include systemic, institutional and individual human capacity.
“The development of the new strategic plan covering 2017-2022, supersedes the 2012-2016.
The new plan was necessitated by Liberia accession to several multilateral plans, agreements and the new national development blue print- Vision 2030, the SDG, Africa 2063 and the Gaborone Accord, the release from the EPA noted.
The implementation of the Re-branding plan will run on government’s fiscal year. This will provides flexibility ensuring that the plan is adaptable to key development priorities in the national development agenda, as well as policy and the legislative environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia was established by Act of the National Legislature in November, 2003 as the principal agency responsible for the management of the environment.
Part II, Section 6 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act requires the agency to coordinate, integrate environmental concerns into national development plans and programs and sustainable natural resource utilization.
It is also established to restraint environmental pollution through the application of the pollution pays principle and ensures environmental quality through analysis and decision making.
It is further to build the capacity of line ministries and agencies, organizations through exchange of data and information, advice, technical support and training to enable stakeholders carry up their responsibilities in an environmental friendly manner.
The first five year strategic plan of the EPA was developed in 2012 and ended in 2016 with a cost of US$16 million dollars.
The implementation of said plan according to authorities of the agency was marked by lot of challenges, principal one being limited availability of funding to fully implement the plan.
The July 27-28 revision and subsequent adoption of new plan is intended to top in several funding opportunities including those of the Green Climate Fund, Global Environmental Facility, the European Union environmental funding mechanism, the National Budget among many other structures. This many commentator maintain provides a better opportunity for success.