MONROVIA – Liberia Conservation Works (CW), funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), hosted a One Health in Impact Assessment Training for members of the Union of Certified Environmental Professionals of Liberia (UCEL) from September 13-14, 2023, at Corina Hotel in Monrovia, Liberia. Members of UCEL were trained on integrating the principles and science of One Health into the design, planning, and execution of major projects for which an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) is required. The CW team, along with several participants and members of Liberia’s National One Health Coordination Platform, made presentations which spearheaded fruitful discussions on topics including: human, animal and environmental health threats and their exposure pathways; sources of health information and tools to support ESIA; regional approaches and requirements for One Health in major investment projects; and One Health strategies for risk mitigation and offsets in development sector planning.
In his remarks, USAID Agreement Officer Representative, Mr. Conrado Garcia, expressed his gratitude for the work that CW and UCEL are doing and thanked the group for promoting the integration of One Health in impact assessment. Conservation Works Chief of Party, Dr. Jim Desmond, also noted that “if the environment is protected, it will protect us.” UCEL President Mr. Solomon P. Wright reinforced this sentiment, stating, “In the next training [for certifying environmental and social impact assessors], we need to make One Health one of the most important things to talk about – especially for concessioners and developers.”
This training is part of a series of capacity building initiatives designed to promote One Health in different environmental processes and practices, in order to better understand the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. The two-day event was supported by USAID through its CW activity, a five-year program that supports conservation efforts in Liberia. The program is being implemented by EcoHealth Alliance, in partnership with Fauna & Flora International, Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection, Partners in Development, and Solimar International. CW is also implemented in close partnership with the National One Health Coordination Platform of Liberia, which is a strong leader in operationalizing the One Health approach.