Liberia: President Weah Calls World Leaders’ Attention to the Imbalance in Climate Financing; Says Countries Like Liberia Deserve Better

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GLASGOW, Scotland – Standing before his fellow world leaders in Glasgow, President George Weah did not mince his words. His was an emboldened speech that called their attention to the imbalance between in the current architecture of climate financing.

Speaking at the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change, President Weah said there is the need to bring equity and fairness to how the objectives of the Paris Accord on Climate Change can be achieved.

He lamented that countries like Liberia who maintain and protect the largest remaining tracts of forest reserves, receive the lowest benefits for these ecosystem services.

“We who are the richest in terms of forest resources and biodiversity, are the poorest in terms of socio-economic development.  Although we bear the brunt of the impact of climate change, we benefit the least from the existing solutions and financial arrangements currently in place for tackling climate change,” Pres. Weah said.

Pres. Weah was among the first group of world leaders to address the COP 26 Conference.

He said, in order to tackle the imbalance in climate finance, there is the need for a fundamental shift in the way climate investments are made. President Weah called for the establishment of an African Carbon Credit Trading Mechanism. He committed Liberia’s willingness to host a conference in the near future to explore details and structure of an entity.

“We will work with pan-African and other global financial institutions to develop a long-term regulated market for African carbon credit.

“I am convinced that these initiatives will increase the chances of all African countries that depend on their forest reserves to attain sustainable economic growth and national development in line with the vision set out in the 2030 Agenda,” he said.

Drawing the World’s Attention

At the margin of events of the conference, President Weah held a closed-door meeting with the Mr. Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, U.S. President Joe Biden and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson.

Liberia’s National Forest Inventory carried out with the support of the World Bank and the Kingdom of Norway, revealed that Liberia is endowed with nearly seven million hectares of forest, representing nearly half of the entire remaining Upper Guinea forest in the West Africa region. This added to the 1.9 million hectares of agro-forestry and coastal mangroves, it becomes obvious that close to 90% percent of the country’s landmass sequesters carbon.

This means the country’s forests are the last remaining untouched tracts of forested land in this region and contain some of the highest above-ground carbon stocks of any forest in the world – higher than the Amazonian and one of the last reserves of such high carbon stocks. 

What World Leaders Said

Opening the summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson compared global warming to “a doomsday device” strapped to humanity.

“We are digging our own graves,” added UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The Queen of the United Kingdom has urged world leaders at the COP26 climate summit to “achieve true statesmanship” and create a “safer, stabler future” for the planet.

In a video message, she said many people hoped the “time for words has now moved to the time for action”.

She urged them to act “for our children and our children’s children” and “rise above the politics of the moment”.

The Queen said she took “great pride” in the royal family for encouraging people to protect the environment.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, speaking for vulnerable island nations, warned leaders not to “allow the path of greed and selfishness to sow the seeds of our common destruction.”

Scores of heads of state spoke about what their country is going to do about the threat of global warming.

India’s PM Modi said that his country will achieve net-zero by 2070, two decades later than the summit’s target. India is the world’s fourth-biggest carbon emitter and before now had not announced a plan to reach net-zero.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that his government would increase its climate funding by 50 per cent in the next few years.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the introduction of global carbon pricing.

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