The House of Representatives and the Senate have pledged ratification of Liberia’s participation in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, to join other countries to accelerate the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions to save the earth, following an appeal by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and other agencies from the Executive Branch.
During a half-day high-level consultation meeting on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Friday in the C. Cecil Dennis’ auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, President Pro
Tempore Armah Jallah of the Senate said the “Legislature is concerned about the future.”
House Presiding Officer, Deputy Speaker Hans M. Barchue indicated that “under my gavel, every international protocol and agreement will be signed to ensure the country is part of the comity of nations.”
“The sea erosion at West Point and Buchanan, the floods across the country are enough to see the effects of climate change,” Deputy Speaker Barchue said.
In December 2015, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was approved by the global community at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, where Liberia was represented. About 155 countries, including the USA, China and Brazil have already signed the Paris Agreement.
Friday’s consultation meeting in Monrovia, organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was attended by about 30 Legislators from the House of Representatives and the Senate, the President, and senior officials from other ministries, including Finance, Information, Lands & Mines and Foreign Affairs.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf expressed satisfaction over the huge turnout and urged them to endorse the country’s participation in the Paris Agreement.
“We believe your high turnout would be demonstrated on the passage of the agreement,” President Sirleaf said. The President further said the enthusiasm of the Legislators should also be demonstrated in the passage of the 2016/2017 Budget.
The Executive Director of EPA, Madam Anyaa Vohiri, said the Paris Agreement has 29 Articles, and the agreement recognizes that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and hence the widest possible cooperation by all countries is needed.
She said in September 2015, ahead of the Paris Agreement Conference, Liberia submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN Climate Change Secretariat in fulfillment of its national obligation to the climate change negotiation.
“Actually the INDC is a roadmap for Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation. For us to meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement, our economic decisions must take the INDC as foundation – we made that promise,” the EPA boss said.
She added: “To further demonstrate Liberia’s commitment to ensure the coming into force of the Paris Agreement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Madam Marjon Kamara, on behalf of the government of Liberia, signed in April this year the agreement at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. This demonstrates Liberia’s contribution to ensure the achievement of the objectives of the Climate Change Convention.
“Our country’s commitment was further manifested when President Sirleaf submitted, a few weeks ago, the Press Agreement to the Legislature.”
Finance and Development Planning Minister Boimah Kamara said the country has taken a significant step by committing to implement the agreement by the signing of the Paris Agreement in April 2016, and thus strongly aligns it to Liberia’s commitment to implement the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adapted by the global community in September 2015.
“Under the leadership of President Sirleaf, Liberia has begun important steps to domesticate the SDGs,” Min. Kamara said.
“The MFDP is currently finalizing a review of the Agenda for Transformation (AFT) that will enable us to identify critical gaps that must be addressed in our next development plan. Already initial findings from the AFT review of particular concern include sea erosion and costal defense, developing resilient crops in agriculture, and sustainable management of our forest resources among others.”
The Finance Minister added: “A harmonization mapping between the SDGs and our Agenda for Transformation has also been completed.”
Deputy Foreign Minister B. Elias Shoniyin also remarked that the ratification of the Paris Agreement would be a significant step to protect the country’s future amid natural disasters.
Accordingly, Liberia needs US$35million to fund climate change resilient projects.
Mr. Jeremiah Sokan, the Coordinator of the National Climate Change Steering Committee at the EPA, and the Director of Planning Policy and Development at the MFDP, Mr. Theo Addey, made separate presentations on the Paris Agreement and the ‘No-One-Left-Behind’ of the SDGs.