Liberia Makes Gains to Combat Climate Change Effects -EPA Launches Simplified National Adaptation Plan

Climate change is real. Tsunamis, earthquakes, never-before-experienced earth changing happenings, as well as unusual weather and climate pattern changes, are accelerating the threatening of the existence of our one world. Undoubtedly, climate change is already being experienced in Liberia. The population of Liberia, its biophysical features to climates change and the level of vulnerability of each sector means that climate change is being felt and observed. Dry and rainy season can no longer be predicted. This means bad timing for farmers. Fishes in the seas can no longer be expected to bear forth the yields because of the rise in sea and ocean levels. Slash and burn tendencies of subsistent farmers have not only threatened the rich content of the soil, but depleted our forests which protect the land from deforestation and droughts. And yes, unfortunately, these adverse effects of climate change are most often sadly accelerated by our own hands. We litter our waters with plastics, burn garbage in open spaces, encroach and build structures on wetlands. We pollute the air with smoky cars and generators, having little or no care for our environment. As a result, Mother Earth is dying slowly but surely.

This is very gloomy picture indeed. But world governments including Liberia have not been sleeping. They’ve been working in line with the Paris Agreement to mitigate the effects of climate change; and one of the main issues has to do with making the ordinary folks understand what climate change is all about, and what the average man or woman can do about climate change.

And so, from Liberia’s end, on December 8, 2021, the Government of Liberia, through its Environmental Protection Agency, launched its National Adaptation Plan and its Communication Strategy, to explain to the citizenry what climate change is all about; devoid of the technical jargons that usually accompany such noble endeavors.

Government Commitment

Many speakers including Chief Launcher House Speaker Bhofal who extolled EPA’s and government efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, acknowledged what Liberia has done to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Speaker Chambers pledged the political will of the Liberian government, saying, climate change effects being stop-gapped by efforts of the EPA, stakeholders, development partners and the Government of Liberia, is a national priority that cannot be ignored. Speaker Chambers said supporting such endeavor is the number one priority of the George Weah Government.

Speaker Chambers further spoke of his government’s commitment, exemplified by the recent splendid delivery of President George M. Weah in Glasgow, where the Liberian leader spoke of the gains made by Liberia in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Intl Dev. Partners’ Strong Commitment

Representing the government of the United States of America, Liberia’s traditional partner, Mr. John Pasch said the US Government is fully committed to supporting Liberia combat the effects of climate change.

Congratulating the Government of Liberia for their strong participation at the recently held COP26, Mr. John Pasch, Economic Growth Office Director of the United States Aid for International Development (USAID), praised the EPA’s revised Nationally Determined Contribution targets, and for the commitment and follow-through that the EPA is demonstrating with the launch program held Wednesday, December 8, 2021 in Sinkor.

“The United States Government also has renewed commitment adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change.  Last month, just prior to COP 26, the Biden-Harris Administration launched the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaption and Resilience (PREPARE) with ambitious targets to share information and knowledge; develop and execute activities and programs that support national adaption plans; mobilize finance and private capital for adaption efforts and other green investments,” he stated.

He said, through USAID, the US Government has already begun working to support Liberia’s adaptation plans by forming partnership with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).

“USAID will be contributing up to $25 million over the next five years for the protection and improved management of Liberia’s forests under our Conservation Works Activity,” the US development envoy noted, asserting further that the USAID is working with the Ministry of Agriculture, along with small hold farmers to improve their productivity using “climate-smart’ cultivation techniques.

The US Government also plans within the next year to provide $40million more in investments to support Liberia’s resilience and adaptive capacity, Mr. Pasch noted, stating that the US Government will in 2022 launch a new food security, nutrition and resilience activity extending small hold farmer assistance and climate-smart approaches to agriculture development.

Additionally, the UDSG plans to support agribusinesses and entrepreneur with incentive funding opportunities to encourage investment in green solutions to food security and sector development, Pasch indicated.

“We share your goals and commitment to both mitigation and adaption targets described under your NDC. Having a good plan is a great start, but the hard work beings now. The US Government looks forward to working with you to achieve your adaptive targets,” the US envoy stated.

Representing the United Nations Development Programme, Madam Violet Baffour extolled the government of Liberia, through the Environmental Protection Agency, for coming up with an abridged version of the National Adaptation Plan and its Communications Strategy that are all in sync with Liberia’s Nationally Determined Contributions in mitigating the effects of climate change. She however cautioned that implementation of such plan will be key to determining the gains Liberia’s makes towards implementing its side of the Paris Agreement. She stressed that the UNDP has supported such endeavors and will continue to support Liberia.

The World Bank’s Shafich Hossan also spoke of the need to ensure that Liberia remains on course with the objectives stated in the NAP and the NDC, stressing that the Liberian government must reach out to the communities who are directly affected by climate change to help the inhabitants understand the messages of the NAP and the NDC.


Representing the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), Environmental and Social Engineer, Madam Gehnyea Gbeanque, extolled the efforts of government in mitigating the effects of climate change, stating that her department of the MPW is focused on ensuring that the construction of highways and byways fall in line with the tenets and regulations of the EPA.

“We are working to ensure that communities understand that they cannot build structures on areas that are declared unsafe by the EPA. We urge greater collaboration with the EPA,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Gender, Minister Piso Saydee- Tarr praised the EPA for the launch of its NAP, indicating her ministry’s readiness to work with the EPA in ensuring that the issues of gender are streamlined within all aspects of the National Adaptation Plan and the Nationally Determined Contributions.

Civil Society Buy-in

Pledging to work with the EPA in helping disseminate the messages of climate change, the Media, represented by the President of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJaL), extolled the government of Liberia for its climate change mitigation effect gains and action plan, stating that Liberians are willing to assist, but that the government must be willing to work with the media to make the ordinary people understand the program.

Speaking on behalf of the Liberian Bar Association, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe hailed the NAP and the NDC information dissemination initiative, but cautioned government to strictly ensure that citizens adhere to the Paris Agreement.

“We should not be building on wetlands and swamps. We should stop slash and burn farming and increase agricultural inputs to farmers so they stop engaging in subsistence farming,” Cllr. Gongloe stated exclusively for this report.

Private Sector Engagement

Representing the private sector, the President of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), John Davis, praised the EPA and the Government for the launch of the NAP, declaring that his organization is ready to champion support to sectors involved in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Mr. Davis furthered that the LBDI has already adopted an environmental impact sustainability plan which ensures the acquisition of loans to mainly organizations that are 99.9 percent compliant with environmental laws and regulations.

“Any group that wants to borrow from us in the area of construction, they have a 99.9 percent chance of their application being rejected if it doesn’t comply with environmental laws,” LDBI chief executive Davis stated emphatically.

Proffering special remarks, Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh, Executive Director and CEO of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hailed President George M. Weah for providing the political will that fueled partners to fund Liberia’s National Adaptation Plan.

Prof. Tarpeh especially hailed the extraordinary work of technocrats of the EPA who worked overtime to ensure that line ministries and agencies remain in sync with their obligations outlined in the Paris Agreement that demands nations of the world strive to tackle the effects of climate change by 2030.

Emphasizing the need for public awareness, the EPA chief said the focus of his administration is to ensure that everyone within the 43,000 square miles bailiwick of Liberia is knowledgeable about climate change, and what they must do to help mitigate its effects.

Using the analogy of a container of gasoline filled with gasoline but lacking a cap to stifle evaporation of the contents, Prof. Tarpeh said the NAP and the NDC programs would be meaningless if the people don’t understand the issues involving climate change and what they can do to tackle its effects. He noted that under his administration, public awareness would be prioritized, and that all stakeholders, especially the civil society and the youths, will feature prominently in the dissemination campaigns.

Editor’s note: This report is compiled by Molley Varney Paasewe, Short-term National Consultant hired by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to work with the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) to raise awareness using the print and electronic media about Liberia’s Nationally Determined Contributions highlighting the Agriculture, Forests, Coastal zones, Fisheries, Health, Transport, Energy, and Waste Management sectors – as well as cross-cutting targets for urban green corridors. The NAP Adaptation Plan (NAP) was prepared with financial and technical assistance from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The abridged version of the NAP was prepared with assistance from the NAP Global Network Secretariat, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), via financial support of the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

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