Liberia Launches Nat’l Adaption Plan and 1st Adaptation Communication to Combat Climate Change
MONROVIA – Liberia has launched its National Adaption Plan (NAP) which is intended to help Liberia tackle the issue of climate change through a sound adaptation programme that involves a whole-of-society approach to achieve the goals, vision, and specific objectives.
It was launched along with the country’s first Adaption Communication (AdCom).
The launch took place on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia and was graced by an array of officials of government, members and heads of foreign missions in Liberia, youth and women groups and other stakeholders.
Launching the instruments, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bhofal Chambers, cautioned Liberians to be sensitive to Climate Change and the vulnerability of each sector when it comes to climate change.
Speaker Chambers explained that the NAP document aligns with Liberia’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. He said the document helps to coordinate the actions of the government and non-governmental stakeholders at all levels – from the national level to the communities and villages.
He also said, the NAP document reveals the that climate change is expected to intensify as changes in temperature and precipitation may affect key sectors such as agriculture, forestry, health, coastal resources, energy, among others.
“As a government and people of Liberia, we are together and remain committed in ensuring that this NAP and the first Adaption Communication (AdCOM) documents are actualized and considered working documents. Together we will promote the NAP and AdCOM documents and enforce their application to ensure that everyone complies and applies the NAP and AdCOm documents in principle when handling our environment,” said Speaker Chambers.
He said, Liberia’s landscape and economy is highly vulnerable to climate change.
The House Speaker alarmed that the projection of future trends for temperature and precipitation shows that Liberia will continue to be affected by changing climatic conditions as Global Climate Modeling (GCM) data indicates that the main annual temperature is projected to increase by 1.8 degree Celsius between 2040 to 2059, while monthly precipitation is projected to decrease by 1.3mm per month between 2040 to 2059.
Speaker Chambers stressed the need for collective actions and decisions to combat climate change and save the environment.
“There is no doubt that resilient and inclusive infrastructure can help change lives. And by changing our habits, as communities and people, we can surely tackle the climate emergency and build a suitable Liberia and the world at large,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Gender and Children Protection, Madam Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, thanked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the documents. She noted that in the case of natural disasters caused by climate change, women and children are often the most affected, hence, the need for them to put in structures that will reduce their vulnerability.
Mr. John R. Pasch who represented USAID and the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia congratulated Liberia for finalizing the documents which he said means that Liberia is ready to take on greater challenges.
According to him, at the COP 26 in Glasgow, President Joe Biden launched the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaption and Resilience otherwise known as PREPARE. This Plan, he said, will support developing countries and communities in vulnerable situations around the world in their efforts to adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change.
He said, PREPARE is a U.S. Government’s global initiative that would match up to Liberia’s National Adaption Plan. He disclosed that the USAID has invested US$25 million in helping with conversation in Liberia.
He added that USAID is also working with the Ministry of Agriculture and small holder farmers to introduce climate smart method of farming.
The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, Madam Violet Korsah Baffour, expressed appreciation to the Green Climate Fund for supporting the National Adaption Plan for Liberia as well as other climate action initiatives for the country.
She also thanked the NAP Global Network and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the UK Agency for International Development for their support towards the NAP document.
Madam Baffour said while the NAP is a very important document, if it is not communicated, understood and acted on by the people of Liberia, it would not achieve its purpose.
The UNDP Resident Representative also acknowledged the Communication Plan which she said using the local languages and awareness which she said are needed to implement climate change adaption measures. “It is important that this document is taken to and owned by everyone,” she stressed.
“There is a strong need for national efforts in the climate change adaptation to involve livelihood support to the vulnerable population as a means of enhancing their resilience and ability to cope with the impact of climate change,” she said.
The President of the Liberia National Bar Association, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe who also spoke at the launch assured the Environmental Protection Agency that the Bar will begin to take issues relating to environmental law seriously as their means of helping to combat climate change.
He said it behooves lawyers in the country to use the environmental law to help save the planet as the effects of climate change are becoming vivid in all countries, including Liberia.
And for his part, the President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), Mr. John Davis, thanked the EPA and its partners for working assiduously to ensure that the environment remains safe.
He said the Bank is adopting a policy wherein before a loan is given out for any housing or construction project, it would assess the environmental impact plan of the area where the building is to be constructed to ensure that it is in line with the country’s environmental laws and standards before the loan would be approved.
This, he said, is the bank’s own way of contributing to the fight against climate change.
The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, said the NAP aligns with and supports Liberia’s Vision 2030 Agenda and strongly considers the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity & Development (PAPD).
“The Liberia’s NAP document describes the principal climate risks and vulnerabilities in these priority sectors, provides guidance for implementing adaptation measures that increase climate resilience, and identifies adaptation strategies and action plans. It was developed through a consultative multi-stakeholder process and has added value by identifying gaps and tapping into opportunities for more effective climate-responsive planning and budgeting,” he said.
Prof. Tarpeh added, “this is a commendable efforts and welcoming development for which we as people of Liberia must applaud the government and partners for the step taken not only to describe the risks and vulnerabilities of climate change, but provide guidance for implementation and identifies adaptation strategies and set forth action plans.”
He said following the official launch of the NAP document, it will now serve as an official working document to help establish the evidence base for adaptation; to strengthen the capacity of EPA, National Disaster Management Agency, and other relevant agencies; and to build capacity within the public and private sectors for integrating climate change adaptation into development planning and budget processes.
He said the NAP document significantly proposes actions that complement or upscale already ongoing adaptation actions, which avoids duplication of effort, adding “various projects and programmes that are linked to priority actions in the NAP are being implemented through sectorial line ministries, agencies, local governments, civil society, the private sector, and academia.”
Prof. Tarpeh told the gathering that the NAP document provides framework and procedures for sharing scientific, technical, and traditional knowledge information on climate change risk management, and for developing capacity-building measures.
“Incredibly, training programs and knowledge platforms have also been developed to sustain the gains of the NAP process which is a holistic approach that is inclusive of the national government, local governments across the country, non-governmental organizations, civil service organizations, and the private sector. Now, to make the NAP document workable and achievable, it requires stronger commitment and collaboration from all actors at all stages. The Document has already formulated mechanisms for scaling up adaptation, including the Climate Public Expenditure Review (CPEIR). EPA and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning are working to implement the CPEIR’s recommendation to set up the climate finance tracking system to report on domestic and international resources committed to address climate change.”
The EPA boss said Liberia is on the right path to increase climate resilience, identify gaps and tap into opportunities for more effective climate-responsive planning and budgeting.
“We also want to inform this gathering that we were able to condense the NAP Document into an abridged form which constitute the First Adaptation Communication commonly referred to as ADCOM. It is intended to communicate the NAP in a simple and concise manner given our national circumstances as it relates to the high level of illiteracy rate. Additionally, we were able to develop jingles in three of our vernaculars, namely Bassa, Mano, Kpelle and Vai highlighting the importance of climate change in Liberia and the need for us to work together to save the earth. Today, words are inadequate to express how grateful and honor we are with presence here to grace this all-important occasion,” he said.