Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) experts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have completed a one-day discussion on Climate Change with the objective of assisting the Government of Liberia and other development partners to incorporate climate change concerns into development programs, projects, policies and strategies.
Climate change, otherwise referred to as ‘Global Warming,’ refers to the rise in average surface temperatures of the earth. Scientists generally agree and maintain that climate change is due primarily to the human use of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. The gases released into the atmosphere burning such fuels like coal and oil, trap heat within the atmosphere which can have a range of effects on the ecosystem, including rising sea levels, severe weather events, and droughts that render landscapes more vulnerable to wildfires.
ESIA experts involved in assessing the impact of human activities on the environment which includes mining, slash and burn shifting agriculture and other forms of environmental degradation held discussions recently on “Climate proofing investment tool” developed by the National Adaptation Plans (NAP), a two-year project for medium-term investment planning in climate-sensitive sectors and coastal areas in Liberia.
The NAP funded by the Green Climate Fund and implemented by the United Nations Development Program in partnership with the EPA, is meant to respond to the risks posed by climate change, strengthen institutional frameworks and coordination for implementation of the NAP’s process; expand the knowledge base for scaling up gender-responsive adaptation processes, build capacity for gender mainstreaming climate change adaptation into planning, and budgeting processes and systems; and formulation of financing mechanisms for scaling up adaptation in Liberia.
A release from the EPA quoting NAP Project Manager Abraham Tumbay said, “This tool enables decision makers and vulnerable communities to integrate climate change into their medium and long-term adaptation plans by providing them with the adequate tools and information; so as to help mainstream climate change actions into all key socio-economic programs in order to bring about an integrated response across all sectors.”
The ESIA experts were therefore able to discuss consequences of climate and how they can localize the terminologies and concepts to get the ordinary people understand well what climate change entails and what step they can take to prevent the consequences.
According to the EPA release, the environmental experts are expected to take a broad-based community approach to explain the concept of climate change and how international bodies including the UNDP are concerned about its impact and effect on humans.
Although a developing country like Liberia is not a major contributor to the release of greenhouse gases, yet it faces adverse consequences of climate change such as rising sea levels that threaten the livelihood of coastal communities and increased temperatures which in many cases lead to drought.
In this connection, the NAP project facilitating the brainstorming workshop for the environmental experts seeks to have government and partners design programs and projects that will serve to create awareness amongst local communities that will serve to induce behavioral change and encourage local communities to treat the environment in sustainable ways that will mitigate the adverse impact of climate change.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Liberia, Acting EPA Executive Director, Randall M. Dobayou, lauded the UNDP for the development of the Climate Proofing Investment Tool and the training for the ESIA experts.