70 young volunteers drawn from selected communities in Monrovia formed part of a two-day Community Based adaptation training at the Monrovia City Hall, on the benefits and impacts of coastal ecosystems and the urgency for grassroots community action to combat climate change in Liberia.
The exercise is part of series of activities organized under the UNDP National Adaptation Plans Project (NAPs) in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL) and the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), with funding from the Green Climate Fund.
The training targets community-based approach to building resilience, enabling environments for local actions, and capacity assessment for adaptation planning.
The selected number of trained volunteers from the project communities, are charged to coordinate tree planting activities with each participant expected to plant and adapt 5 trees, and clean-up campaigns that involve drainages and flood plains.
Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) Mayor Jefferson Koijee through his Representative challenged the beneficiaries to use the training as an opportunity to be agents of change in their respective communities.
A message from UNDP Resident Representative Pa Lamin Beyai delivered through his proxy Sheku Davowa, reminded beneficiaries that the issue of climate change is everybody’s business.
Dr. Beyai noted that a comprehensive and holistic approach was needed to address the attending circumstances that affect the livelihood of many families due to the effects of climate change.
He called for the commitment of Liberians nation-wide in reaching out and spreading the relevant information needed to prepare the Country adapt to climate change.
Communities are clothed with the responsibility to adequately prepare themselves, using a bottom to top approach in the fight against climate change” Beyai noted.
NAP Project Manager Abraham Tumbey emphasized that Liberia needs a long term plan and strategy to deal with climate change issues in the country, saying that people living in communities must be fully involve in taking initiatives that will help mitigate the impact of climate change on their environment.
Community networks are expected to be established with members consistently engaged in local management activities for coastal ecosystem management and building resilience to climate change through adaptation initiatives.
These activities will also add on to ongoing sensitization initiatives undertaken by the project.
Each community volunteer network for coastal ecosystem management will be supported with the provision of tools and equipment for the exercise.
Michael Garbo, Executive Director of SCNL pointed out that mitigation of the effects of climate change must be holistic approach that covers every sector of the society.
For his part, NDMA Executive Director Henry Williams applauded the efforts of the organizers, especially UNDP and EPA for the tireless effort being exhibited through structured programs that involve communities especially young people and women.
Mr. Williams stressed that volunteerism is a motivating factor that rallies communities into action and being responsive to tackling issues that affect their wellbeing, applauding the government for actionable steps being taken to address environmental issues. Concluding, Deputy EPA Executive Director Randall Dobayou reminded the beneficiaries that Liberia stands to lose so much if nothing is done to save the environment.
According to Dobayou, the need for national consciousness and massive public awareness cannot be understated if Liberia intends to stand out among countries involved in the fight against climate change.
The training covers topics on the basics of climate change and adaptation, the impacts and common practices of community based adaptation among others.