Civil Society to Make More Inputs in Liberia’s Climate Pledges

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MONROVIA – Civil society organizations (CSOs) will make more inputs into Liberia’s revision of its commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement to cut down carbon emission by 15 percent by 2030.

CSOs, predominantly from the forestry sector, made limited inputs in the country’s plan—known as the nationally determined contributions (NDC)—at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. With the country preparing to submit a revised NDC to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by mid next year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and CSOs are working to ensure the latter’s participation in that process.  

“We are happy that EPA and its partners can be open this to be a completely inclusive and collaborative process,” said Jonathan Yiah of the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) at a workshop on Wednesday in Paynesville to ready civil society actors for the revision. “We are happy to be here that we will learn more about the development of the NDC and how civil society can contribute further also and be a part of the process.” The workshop was a collaboration among EPA, SDI and the Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI).

Randa Moore, a consultant with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), one of the supporters of Liberia’s revision process, welcomed the involvement of a more inclusive NDC revision process. “We believe that CSOs have a vital role to play in driving NDC process, including implementation, considering that the NDC relates to livelihood, the economic sector that is important for the country,” she told the opening of the workshop.

Liberia should have submitted its NDC by now but has not—like many other countries—due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is was one of 196 parties that pledged to reduce global carbon emission to two or preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The world faces a climate change crisis due to increased level of greenhouse gases—mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane—and a large-scale change in average weather patterns. The main drivers are burning things like gasoline and charcoal, cutting down of trees, agriculture, and manufacturing.

Liberia promised to reduce its own carbon level though reduction actions in its energy, transport and solid waste sectors at the climate accord. It also promised to lessen the impacts of climate change by making changes in its agricultural practices, monitoring its rainfall pattern and build a coastal defense walls. The country’s long-term goal is to emit zero carbon—called carbon neutrality—by 2050.

Kumeh Assaf of the European Union’s long-term annual average, another supporter of the revision—the other is Conservation International—said civil society groups should look at forest as a wealth linked to the economy of the country as a whole. He said Liberia was in pole position to create a brighter future for its citizens it sustains its forest resources.

“Remember that, by far, the higher emissions of CO2 from Liberia are caused by deforestation. The healthier you keep the forest, the better for Liberia and so many countries on this planet,” Assaf told attendees of the workshop. “The EU encourages you to see circular economy as a means to reduce the pressure on the forests.”

Liberia is poised to present its updated NDC by June next year, according to John Kannah of the EPA, the country’s NDC coordinator, in a presentation at the event. He announced that in addition to the contributions of forest-related CSOs, the updated plan will also incorporate the views of the youth, gender advocates and the private sector.

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