Int’l Partners Hail Liberia

International institutions partnering with Liberia in designing climate mitigation plan to reduce global warming

For complying with Climate Change Mitigation Plan,

International institutions partnering with Liberia in designing climate mitigation plan to reduce global warming have lauded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Government of Liberia for updating and revising the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which seeks to document Liberia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement that calls for reduction in global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius or below.

If the reduction is not done, people will in a short period of time to come not be allowed to stand the heat wave that has become global talk for which the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was initiated and has become an essential issue to the world body, the United Nations.

At an official appreciation ceremony on August 13 in Monrovia, representatives of partners including the European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Conservation International (CI) expressed gratitude to the EPA and the government for the expertise and political will applied to carve the NDC document that will be taken to the Climate Change conference in the United Kingdom in November for discussion.

The NDC is essential to the international institutions because by drafting and committing to its protocols, Liberia will be compelled to restrict certain economic activities that bring money to the government to meet its domestic needs.  For instance, the document, when discussed and full agreement reached between Liberia and the Annex 1 countries (industrialized and rich countries), will mandate the government not to cut down the forest since indeed it is essential to absorbing the carbon dioxide gas that scientists say is responsible for climate change.

This would mean in principle that rudimentary upland farming that allows forest to be cut down will be restricted and farmers will revert to lowland.  Furthermore, the government will restrict logging activities in the forest so that all the economic tree species will not be cut down to expose the country to vulnerability of storm and reduction in rainfall since the forest contributes highly to environmental protection and determines the level of rainfall in the country.  Liberia possesses about 42% of the Upper Guinea rainforest south of the Sahel Savanna and it is the largest in the region.  Africa’s largest forest is the Congo Basin covering largely the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Congo Republic.

At the appreciation ceremony, a representative of Conservation International, Peter Mulbah stated:  “Liberia is for now the only country that has complied with the revising of the NDC.  You may hear the names of big countries including Senegal and others, but I tell you, they have not drafted their NDC.  This is coming through the instrumentality of the Executive Director of EPA, Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh, and the political will of the President.  We want to be very thankful and appreciative to Liberia for being the first among all to comply.”

Conservation International is more concerned with conserving the forest and preserving wildlife, especially endangered species.  Continuing with his institution’s expectation, Mulbah, asserted, “Money is needed now to support the NDC, and the EU, UNDP and CI should contribute to Liberia’s Climate Change Project,” adding, “The revised NDC should be enhanced by political pressure on the forest to reduce cutting and encourage more trees planting.”

A statement read on behalf of the EU noted, “The EU congratulates the Government of Liberia for the implementation, and it remains committed to the implementation because it (EU) is concerned about the environment.”

UNDP Representative, Violet Korsah Baffou, was mainly appreciative to the President for the political will exercised to have the NDC, and to the Executive Director of EPA, Prof. Tarpeh for “Translating the Government’s political will into action, allowing Liberia to complete and submit the revised NDC to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

Professor Wilson Tarpeh, the Executive Director, is new in this area unlike the Finance area where he is trained and worked in throughout his life.  Understanding the jargons and the workings of these environmental activities was a challenge, though; he, however, overcame it by consulting experts at the EPA and has finally succeeded in the drafting of the NDC.

In what appeared to be a satirical statement, Prof. Tarpeh admitted his shortcomings in Environmental Science and said he has always been in consultation with his experts and collectively they have achieved in getting the NDC done.  He then lauded President George Weah who exercised the political will to empower the EPA to revise the document that is expected to be submitted in the November Climate Change conference this year.

The NDC, though, would restrict Liberia from using its forest resources or other economic resources, especially those things that emit carbon dioxide, international partners will also be under obligation to meet up with the country’s financial need for the restriction.

The Coordinator for the Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) at the EPA, Jefferson F. Nyandibo, said, “Liberia is a member of the Forest Nations, and not just a member but one of the most counted forest nations.  Therefore, the NDC is a global commitment under the Paris Agreement which allows Liberia to commit voluntarily to support activities that will reduce global warming with conditional and unconditional targets.”

According to Mr. Nyandibo, the conditional targets are those things that Liberia cannot do without the support of their partners, while the unconditional targets are those things Liberia can do without asking any partner.

“For instance, Liberia would say it will not cut down trees anymore, or use the loop plant on Bushrod Island because it uses heavy fuel and emits heavy smoke in the air.  Or Liberia would say it will not import outdated vehicles into the country because it emits smoke.  These are conditional targets that Liberia can meet.  On the other hand, Liberia can tell partners that since I cannot cut down my forest from which I generate revenue to pay salaries and implement other developments, and I cannot use the heavy fuel plant, let the those who are causing me to stop these things come out to replace what I am losing from my forest or the electricity I need, and a partner interested in installing solar energy at the cost of US$15 million can come out to do that for Liberia.  Or the partners that does not want the forest to be cut down will come out to pay money to Liberia for not cutting the forest, and in all of that, those partners, the Annex 1 countries that are rich, will claim along with Liberia the benefits that will be yielded in complying with the policy of Climate Change,” Nyandibo said.