The Country Director of ActionAid Liberia, Lakshmi Moore, has called on young people and stakeholders of the Mano River Union (MRU) countries to attach urgency to addressing climate change in order to have the best environment to lead.
Moore made the request on Friday, April 2, 2021, during the kickoff of a 3-day Mano River Union (MRU) Youth Dialogue on Climate Change, Peace Building, and Electoral Accountability held at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
The dialogue held under the theme, “Engaging and Empowering Young People in the Mano River Basin to Promote Peace and Climate Justice”, brought together delegations from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Liberia.
Moore stressed that if nothing is done urgently to address climate change, the young people of the region may not have the best environment to lead.
According to her, climate change is currently affecting farming season, the environment, the living conditions of everyone, and communities through flooding and other means.
“We built roads and houses in the mangrove which is not good. Eventually, those who are depending on fishing for their livelihood will start to struggle due to a lack of fish. The fish will reduce and sadly, we live in a country which already has high poverty rate,” Moore said. ““Climate change is connected to the way we are developing the economy to sustain us. It’s not just about us individually, but companies and organizations that run big machines for power. We will be impacted the most when climate change issues occurred, and we have already started to feel it because Liberia is struggling with factors accompanying it.”
Moore further added that Liberia could be seriously affected if there arise multi-intersection climate situations because the country already has poor access to basic services, including health, education, electricity, transportation and housing.
Moore, however, called on stakeholders to include people with disabilities, and women in conversation around climate change as they are more vulnerable and affected by social and scientific factors.
Benjamin Karmorh, Chief Technical Advisor of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the decision to bring young people from the MRU countries to discuss climate change is a good step in addressing climate change in Africa.
“Climate change poses threats to human developments; therefore, bringing young people from the MRU basin to identify ways to tackle the situation is the best decision. Again, climate change affects the young people who are poised to taking power,” Karmorh said.
He said that the EPA is writing the new climate change action plan which purpose is to identify actions that are needed in addressing climate change, especially strengthening Liberia’s resilience.
He expressed gratitude to delegates of the various countries for showing up to discuss climate change, which is a global concern. Additionally, Karmorh said the youth of the region must be part of every decision process about addressing climate change.
Ambassador Robert K. Gboluma Jr, Executive Director of Youth Bridge Incorporated and organizer of the dialogue, said that climate change is one of the biggest problems in the world and there is a need to attach urgency in addressing it.
He added that the dialogue is aimed at enhancing and increasing participants’ understanding of climate justice and electoral accountability and encourage robust alliance and network in the region.
“We as young people can get involved in addressing climate change. Climate change is no longer old people’s discussion or issue but everyone. Today, we expect participants to be agents of climate justice and also challenge policies around electoral accountability,” Amb. Gboluma said.
Amos Williams, President of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), said Liberia along with the entire world stands at risk if nothing is initiated to address climate change.
Williams emphasized that there is a need for more discussions on climate change, especially with professionals in terms of ways to urgently address it.
“While we are discussing climate change, we must deep deeper with the realities facing us today. As young people, we need to build our expertise and understand the challenges we face with the climate today and ahead of us,” Williams said.