The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Nathaniel T. Blama, has extolled the important role being played by civil society organizations in the country, pledging that the EPA is committed to working with CSOs that support government’s programs, especially the works of the EPA that are strictly in adherence with environmental safety.
The EPA boss was speaking Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at program marking the official launch of the Liberia chapter of the Global Environment Facility and CSO Network (GEF-CSO Network) in Monrovia.
The GEF-CSO Network is an independent global alliance of CSOs working to address global environmental challenges in areas linked to the six GEF focal areas. The Network dates far back to 1995when the then GEF Network of Non-Governmental Organizations, was formed as a voluntary structure of environmental CSOs working in at least one of the GEF focal areas.
“CSO are very important partners to government. We will support initiative of CSO aimed at promotion of government programs. Our commitments are not in words, but deeds,” Blama vowed.
However, he said those CSOs wanting to partner with the EPA in implementing programs must meet the requirement set.
“You have the challenge to meet with the project requirements in the execution of EPA’s programs and projects. The EPA can’t be everywhere and you are into the various communities; it is you that can speak and the people listen. This is why we think that this is a going to be a strong partnership between us,” he stated.
“Let us not abuse the network. As part of that partnership, the EPA is Keen on getting the CSO involved in its many programs and projects. We will not deal with any hand bags NGO. The work you are going to do is aimed at creating awareness for environmental safety,” he added.
In remarks, the National Coordinator of the GEF-CSO Network, Madam Kona Kollie, said as part of its duty and responsibility, the organization is geared towards educating the population on the some key environment issues, especially on the harmful effect of mercury.
According to Madam Kollie, the group comprises non-state actors, including not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), farmers, women, the scientific and technological community, youth, and children, indigenous peoples and their communities, business and industry, workers and trade unions.
“Effective public involvement at all levels of the GEF is critical to its success, as the skills, experiences, and knowledge of the community of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) plays a key role in the development of GEF policies and practices, in the formation and implementation of sustainable development GEF projects and in the maintenance of partnership with key stakeholders,” she asserted.
She said the overarching objective of engagement between the GEF and civil society is to achieve greater results and impact through improving its collaboration with civil society organizations (CSOs).
Kona indicated that the group will create awareness of the GEF in local communities, disseminate information about the GEF to stakeholders and engage with the Liberian government.