The Country Director of ActionAid Liberia, Lakshmi Moore, has urged citizens of Mano River Union (MRU) countries to urgently address the issue of climate change for a better environment.
According to Mrs. Moore, if nothing is done urgently to address climate change, the youth of MRU will not have the best environment to live in a decade from now, as the issue is currently affecting farming season, the environment, the living conditions of everyone, and communities through flooding and other means.
“We built roads in the mangrove and houses also in the swamp 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 countries with high rates of poverty,” Mrs. Moore said.
Mrs. Moore made the disclosure recently a three-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.
Mrs. Moore said the cutting of the trees in the forest is supporting the transfer of diseases into communities and attributed the outbreak of Ebola virus disease and the coronavirus to the situation.
“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 happened and we already started to feel it because Liberia is struggling with development,” Mrs. Moore said.
Mrs. Moore emphasized that Liberia has very poor access to basic services, including health, education, electricity, transportation, and housing, therefore, Liberia would be seriously affected if there’s a multi-intersection climate situation.
She however called on stakeholders to include people with disabilities and women in conversation around climate change as they are more vulnerable during climate change situations.
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 a threat to human developments, therefore, bringing young people from the MRU basin to identify ways of addressing is the best decision. Again, climate change affects the young people who are poised to taking power,” Mr. Karmorh said.
Mr. Karmorh said the EPA is now writing the new climate change action plan which is aimed at identifying action needed to be taken 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. Mr. Karmorh said the youth must be part of every decision regarding addressing climate change.
Ambassador Robert K. Gboluma Jr., Executive Director of Youth Bridge Incorporated, organizer of the dialogue said climate change is one of the biggest problems of the world and there’s a need to attach urgency in addressing it.
Amb. Gboluma said 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 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 a risk if nothing is initiated to address climate change.
Mr. Williams stressed the 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 understanding of the challenges we face with the climate today and ahead of us,” Mr. Williams said.