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Environmental Stakeholders Trained on UNFCCC Reporting Criteria

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KAKATA – The Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, concluded a two-day training and stakeholder engagement workshop in Kakata, Margibi County on the tools, methodologies and guidelines for reporting to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The training which was held under the theme: “Enhancing national stakeholders’ capacity to report effectively on UNFCCC processes”, attracted representatives of line ministries and agencies including the ministries of Agriculture, Gender, Finance and Development Planning, Internal Affairs and Mines and Energy. Other institutions included the National Aquaculture and Fisheries Authority, Green Gold Liberia, Youth Climate Change Initiative Liberia, the West African Youth Network Liberia and representatives of local communities in and around Kakata.

The gathering was intended for participants to understand the National Communication process of the UNFCCC and the interventions toward national growth and development. It also seeks to increase local community involvement towards Climate Change actions; increase participants understanding of the sector, policy and local community engagement in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.

In a powerpoint presentation on ‘Current Status of the UNFCCC activities in Liberia and its contribution to environmental sustainability and the attainment of the PAPD’, UNFCCC National Focal Point at the EPA, Asst. Professor Benjamin S Karmorh said UNFCCC is a global legal instrument (international agreement) on the control and management of greenhouse gases (GHG).

He disclosed UNFCCC, which was adopted in 1992 came into force in 1994 has 189 parties with two annexes.

“Annex 1 includes countries with obligations to take measures to mitigate the effects of climate change while ‘Annex 2’ includes countries with obligations to provide financing to developing countries for their obligations under UNFCCC,” Prof. Karmorh said. He noted that the goal of the UNFCCC is to protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of mankind.

 Prof. Karmorh indicated that it also seeks to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. 

For his part, Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) Project Officer Arthur R. M. Becker said a “National Communication” is a type of report submitted by the countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement under the UNFCCC. He told participants that countries listed in ‘Annex I’ of the agreement (mostly industrialized countries) are obliged to submit frequent National Communications while ‘Non- Annex I’ countries are developing countries under the Kyoto Protocol. 

“Non-Annex I countries do not have legally binding emissions reductions targets. Solomon Islands is a Non-Annex I country,” Mr. Becker noted. Mr. Becker, who is also National Focal Point for the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) Project indicated that reporting for UNFCCC is implemented through national communications (NCs) and biennial update reports (BURs).

“In addition to providing information to assess the progress of efforts to address climate change, national reports are useful documents in the national planning and development process as well as for policy-makers,” he outlined. Mr. Becker’s statement was contained in a powerpoint presentation on the ‘Introduction to the National Communication Process by UNFCCC Procedures’.

Presenting on ‘Increasing Local Community Resilience to Climate Change Impacts’, Christopher B. Kabah disclosed that the concept of resilience appears like a system’s capacity to cope with such disturbances while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks. Mr. Kabah said for every social-ecological system, one has to take into account that every system has to face disturbance or external shocks at a certain point.

According to him, “resilience means not only the ability to absorb and persist such disturbances while maintaining functioning, but also to self- and re-organize, renew, and adapt to the new circumstances. He indicated that some of the practical steps of resilience are shifting cultivation, unsustainable logging practices, unregulated coastal mining, high levels of biomass consumption (charcoal and firewood) and decreasing river flows due to high evaporation.

For his part, Saah Vannie outlined the benefits of the national communications process and indicated that it provides information to the COP and serves as a tool for planning and decision making at national level through a topic; Linkages between the National Communication and the Sustainable Development Goals’.

According to him, it provides an opportunity to address climate change in a systematic manner by providing opportunities to explore possibilities for taking climate change considerations into account, to the extent feasible, in relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.

Speaking further, Mr. Vannie indicated that the national communication process also provides information to donors about potential adaptation and mitigation projects.

At the end of the two-day training participates lauded the EPA for the knowledge provided and promised to remain engaged with the agency as it strives to protect the environment.

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