Liberia: EPA, UNDP Conduct Technical Training On Climate Change, Economic Appraisal For Adaptation Projects

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GANTA – Representatives of line Government of Liberia Ministries and Agencies are currently attending a five-day technical training workshop on climate change impacts and vulnerability assessment and project appraisal for adaptation projects in Ganta, Nimba County.

Organized by the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the training attracted experts and policymakers from the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Gender, National Disaster Management Agency, National Port Authority and Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA).

Experts from Liberia Forestry Development Authority (FDA), National Fisheries & Aquaculture Authority, Liberia National Department of Meteorology and Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services and the University of Liberia (UL) are also participating in the training taking place in the commercial hug of Ganta, Nimba County.

The training is funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). It is part of a project being implemented by Liberia titled “To advance the National Adaptation Plans (NAP) process for medium-term investment planning in climate-sensitive sectors (i.e. agriculture, energy, waste management, forestry and health) and coastal areas in Liberia.

The NAP Project Manager, E. Abraham T. Tumbey said that climate change impact, vulnerability assessment, and economic appraisal are interrelated and culminate in the development of Liberia’s NAP.

“It is thus important that stakeholders are equipped with the skills on these three components,” Tumbey said.

He indicated that it is important to equip Liberian Government officials with requisite skills on climate change impact and vulnerability assessment and economic appraisal so that they can prioritize and mainstream climate change adaptation in decision making and national planning.

Speaking on what the training would cover, Mr. Tumbey said participants would be train on climate change impact and vulnerability assessment and economic appraisal to enable them independently undertake these assessments.

According to him, the training workshop will highlight the importance of climate resilient intervention appraisal techniques in project prioritization.

Facilitator Dr. Sennye Masike, an environmental economist with background in environmental climate change impact assessment modeling, according to Tumbey will highlight the importance of mainstreaming climate change in decision making and planning processes. 

Dr. Masike, who has 16-year experience in training at various levels including university and training of government employees on various environmental thematic areas such as project appraisal, system dynamic modelling and system thinking techniques and climate change adaptation and mitigation will help transfer skills on national adaptation planning processes over the five-day period, Tumbey said.

Dr. Masike is conducting the training via zoom due to COVID travel restriction and protocols.

Speaking at the start of the training, Professor Benjamin S. Karmorh, focal point of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) lauded participants for turning out at the training.

Prof. Karmorh told the participants that their presence at the forum is very important because “we are developing Liberia’s medium and long term adaptation actions looking at climate sensitive sectors.”

“We are almost 80 percent in term of the project implementation. And this activity is important because it will help to wrap up the project,” he added.

 Speaking further, Prof. Karmorh said “as you know Liberia is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. All sectors are being impacted.

According to him, there are calls from all the sectors regarding what the EPA is doing to address climate change.

“The EPA as you may know is the focal agency in term of climate change leadership in Liberia and we don’t work alone. We work with relevant ministries, agencies and national experts, so your presence here is part of our own fulfillment under the NAP Project in term of carrying on this major task.

Prof. Karmorh who is also Head of Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) said “in the past we carried-out developmental activities, but we did not factor in or considered environmental and climate risks. Whenever environmental and climate risks are not considered in a project that project stands a risk of being a failure.”

He further disclosed “today at the EPA through the Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process, a platform where experts meet to validate development projects- projects that will have greater impacts on the environment and by considering those environmental and climate risks it help us to strike the balance in term of environment integrity and economic development at the same time the issues of livelihood, but many at time people don’t want to go through this process, they believe that it is cumbersome, its time consuming and expensive.

He cautioned project proponent against avoiding ESIA processes and noted “whenever you bypassed this process know that your investment is at risk”.

On behalf of EPA Acting Executive Director, Randall M. Dobayou, Prof. Karmorh noted that participants including economists that have been involved in their normal traditional ways of doing things will after the training developed a new mind to the new frontier of doing things.

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