Liberia: GEF Convenes in Monrovia

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has convened an Expanded Constituency Workshop (ECW) for West Africa, as part of its Country Support Program, including participants from Benin, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Togo.

The workshop brings together representatives from civil society, the GEF Secretariat, and GEF Agencies, with focal points on biodiversity, desertification, climate change, and chemicals conventions to discuss activities with global environmental benefits. The three-day event is being held at a local resort in Central Monrovia.

Organizers said at the official opening on Tuesday that the ECW presents an opportunity for GEF national actors to meet with their counterparts from other countries in the region, staff from the GEF Secretariat, the GEF Agencies, and other GEF partners to share lessons and experiences from the development and the implementation of GEF projects and their integration within national policy frameworks. “The event is also intended to encourage coordination among national officials and allow better understanding among constituency members. 

Minister of Agriculture, J. Alexander Nuetah, said at the event that the Liberian government is grateful for the resources invested by GEF in Liberia over the years, applauding the facility for the recent endorsement of a Project Preparatory Grant of US$200,000 for the preparation of a US$10 million proposal to strengthen agricultural resilience in the country. 

Nueta noted that GEF’s investments are having an impact on vulnerable populations and communities in Liberia that are increasingly impacted by climate change and other environmental issues but more needs to be done. 

He added that Liberia plays an important role as a biodiversity hotspot and carbon sink, a situation that presents an economic challenge for the country, “thus the need for increasing investments for nature-based livelihoods, restoration of degraded landscapes, and addressing climate change and biodiversity in communities across the country.” 

“As a Least Developed Country, Liberia bears little responsibility for climate change, but its geographical, socioeconomic, and climate profiles make it particularly vulnerable, with impacts on key economic sectors that support national revenue and the livelihoods of its people,” he said. 

The Agriculture Minister said Liberia has made clear its objectives of leveraging its forest assets to mobilize climate finance for implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions and to accelerate broader national development through inclusive green growth thus calling on GEF and other partners to support Liberia in this drive.

As such, he noted that the ECW convening in Liberia presents an opportunity to discuss and review new policies and procedures related to the current GEF cycle, encourage and enhance coordination among GEF partners, exchange lessons, knowledge, and experience about GEF projects, and analyze different aspects of the institution’s work.

“These conversations are necessary to increase understanding of GEF strategies and policies and help the government and other stakeholders make informed decisions on participation and coordination in the various GEF initiatives so that the maximum benefits are derived,” he said, while underscoring that the workshop is also an opportunity to reflect and find ways in which global environment concepts can be integrated into national strategies and policies that align with the development vision of countries.

He added that the government is interested in exploring how it can continue to leverage experiences and opportunities for engaging with GEF to enhance benefits for the people of Liberia.

National GEF Dialogue

The EPA and GEF will also host the National Dialogue, a platform for stakeholders in a country to come together and discuss environmental issues, including national objectives, policies, strategies, and the means to achieve them. 

Liberia’s GEF Partners include the World Bank, African Development Bank, UNDP, FAO, and Conservation International. This year’s national dialogue objective is to discuss the US$8.63 million allocation.

“The Dialogue agenda is designed to raise awareness of national stakeholders about the GEF to build capacity for effective implementation of Liberia’s GEF portfolio, as well as strengthen the GEF national coordination mechanism through the exchange of ideas and best practices,” EPA Managing Director, Wilson Tarpeh told the media prior to the event. “It will also identify and elaborate national priorities under the GEF thematic areas for the remaining period and discuss preliminary areas of interest for GEF.”

The Dialogue is expected to attract and bring together over 70 participants from sectorial line ministries, agencies, academic institutions, international and national non-governmental environmental organizations, representatives of civil society groups, and superintendents from the 15 political subdivisions.

At the end of the Dialogue, participants will identify projects for possible funding under the GEF System of Transparent Allocation of Resources (Star) GEF8, which is US$8.63 million.

The distribution is as follows: Climate Change US$2 million, Land Degradation US$2 million, and Biodiversity US$4.63 million.

Meanwhile, the ECW is an annual event organized by the GEF Secretariat. It includes participation for representatives from each country, GEF Political Focal Point, GEF Operational Focal Point, three of the four national Convention Focal Points (Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC), and the Stockholm Convention. The ECW will also be attended by representatives from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).