A School of Environmental Studies and Climate Change has been inaugurated at the University of Liberia.
The School offers both undergraduate and graduate academic programs that support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Climate Action.
It addresses the need for research, and capacity development that will contribute significantly to solving environmental issues in Liberia and its surroundings.
These professional programs also capture climate change adaptation and vulnerability, as well as, disaster management thereby, responding to increasing labor-market demand for professionals knowledgeable about these issues in Liberia and internationally.
This initiative supported by UNDP’s National Adaptation Plans Project (NAPs) in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is funded by the Green Climate Fund.
The two-degree granting Environmental Studies and Climate Change programme is to help promote and contribute to the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) of Liberia.
The focus will be on developing a greater understanding of environmental disasters, related issues of climate change and biodiversity.
Speaking at the inauguration, University of Liberia President, Ophelia Weeks, ecstatic about the fruition of this strategic endeavor, described the launch as a key milestone in the history of the Country.
Dr. Weeks expressed appreciation to development partners especially the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for its continued support to Liberia’s recovery process.
It was in 2018 that the President of the University of Liberia and UNDP Resident Representative signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of the School of Environmental Studies & Climate Change.
At the level of UNDP, Dorsla Farcathy of the Sustainable Economic Transformation Pillar re-echo the global call for action to stem climate change. Farcarthy at the launch of the program, proxy for UNDP Resident Representative Pa Lamin Beyai.
He pledged the agency’s catalytic support, but hammered the need for a sustained budget by the government of Liberia to such initiative.
“A national response to action is ensuring mainstreaming and domestication of climate change issues through a budget system.
Similar call for budgetary support by the government, was made by the Deputy Director General of the EPA Randall Dobayou.
The official launch was performed by Representative Ivar Jones of the House’s Committee on Lands, Mines, Natural Resources and Environment.
Representative Jones stressed that individual actions contribute substantially to climate change.
“Climate Change is not a myth, it is real,” Jones emphasized.
He encouraged the need to turn disadvantages of climate change issues into opportunities that would help mitigate the effects.
Other Speakers included representatives from the EPA, World Bank, FAO, LISGIS,WHO, NIC, Ministries of Gender, Finance and Development Planning and Mines and Energy, among others.
Part of the school program is the development of three or six months of credit earned certificate programs.
Through these programs, the school will graduate professional whose qualifications, skills, and competencies will meet the community, county, national, and international needs.
Additionally, it will offer research, community capacity building (training & technical assistance), innovation (model demonstration) and information dissemination.
The structure and processes for governing the new School are modeled after those of other existing colleges and are consistent with the UL regulations.