Liberia: President Weah Reiterates Call to Establish, Operationalize Africa Carbon Market￼
MONROVIA – President George Weah has re-emphasized the need to create an African Carbon Market to boost the fight against climate change by strengthening capacities and resilience against the crippling effects of the menace.
The President made the rallying call at the opening of the ‘Liberia Forest & Climate Resilience Forum’ currently taking place at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
He rallied other countries in the region to join Liberia and work together with development partners and the private sector to establish and operationalize the Africa Carbon Market.
“We want to use this opportunity to reiterate our call for our country and other countries in the region to work together with our development partners and the private sector, to establish and operationalize an Africa Carbon Market,” President he said.
In 2021 at COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland, President Weah proposed the idea of an African Carbon Market as the basis for a concerted effort to address climate change, while utilizing the associated opportunities for the socio-economic development of the people.
President Weah, renewing the call on Thursday, described the gathering as part of a national vision for managing the country’s forests in a sustainable way.
The high-level international forum is being organized by the Government of Liberia with support from the World Bank, the Government of Norway, and donor partners to highlight the significance of Liberia’s forestry sector and climate resilience.
Other co-conveners of the event are USAID-Liberia, UNDP, the Swedish Embassy, the European Union, and the Government of the United Kingdom through its Embassy in Liberia. It is held under the theme catalyze renewed commitments and strengthen partnerships in sustainable forest management as key strategies supporting the Government of Liberia’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
Weah told the gathering that the forum is also the country’s way of contributing to global efforts to address climate change, while leveraging carbon payments for national and community development.
“We are also developing the capacities of communities to manage their forests, including land-use planning and formalization. We are improving policies and revising laws and regulations, for commercial forestry to be more sustainable,” he said. At the same, he acknowledged that there are still challenges and issues, but his government remains “unrelenting in its efforts to deal with them; adding “Sooner, rather than later, under my leadership, we will surmount these challenges in order to ensure that forest resources benefit all Liberians.”
The forum, he noted, marks an important milestone in the government’s collective efforts to achieve the goals of the PAPD, through sustainable forest management and climate finance.
Liberia hosts the largest portion of the Upper Guinea Forest which spans across much of West Africa. It also has an extremely rich biodiversity of flora and fauna – thanks to its tropical forests.
Its forest sector has the potential to contribute to the reduction of extreme poverty and support increased prosperity along low emissions development trajectory. However, the remaining forest blocks are under increasing threat due to their continued degradation and clearance for agricultural expansion, illegal logging, and mining activities, at both industrial and subsistence scales.
Also speaking, the World Bank Country Manager for Liberia, Khwima Nthara, noted that while countries like Liberia that still have vast forest to benefit, to maximize climate finance, Liberia should conserve its forest.
“Liberia stands to benefit significantly from significant climate financing if it does the right thing. Climate financing has the potential to contribute to the Government’s budget in order to finance critical development programs such as infrastructure and the delivery of social services. But to maximize climate finance, Liberia must conserve its forests.”
He hailed President Weah for leading Liberia to take the first step in benefitting from climate finance by identifying these opportunities. “Thanks to your leadership, your excellency. You were very clear in your desire to take full advantage of climate finance opportunities at the COP26, COP27, and most recently, on Monday, during your state of the nation address,” he said.
The World Bank has been actively involved with Liberia’s forest conservation drive through the Liberia Forest Sector Project, with grant financing from the Norwegian Government.
The World Bank Country Manager also lauded Liberia for taking some basic steps towards protecting the country’s vast forest cover.
However, he noted that much more still needs to be done for Liberia to take full advantage of opportunities available in the forest sector, and in particular, through climate financing. He expressed hope that the stakeholders will identify things that still need to done in actualizing it climate finance program.
He added that experience shows that ensuring good governance of the forest sector has been critical to unlocking the sector’s full potential. This is because good governance helps build confidence in the Government’s capacity to manage its forest assets, he said; noting that one of the sessions during the forum will look at this subject in more detail with the aim of identifying what Liberia can do more in this area.