Coastal areas experts, including local and international consultants are expected to commence a nationwide climate vulnerability and risk assessment for coastal areas today, July 5, 2019, aimed at identifying and prioritizing adaptation options for the coastal zone of Liberia.
The disclosure was made by the National Adaptations Plans (NAPs) Project office Thursday, July 4, 2019, at the start of a two-day climate vulnerability and risk assessment inception workshop in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
The NAPs project supports the Liberian government to advance its NAP process in climate sensitive sectors.
NAP Project Manager, E. Abraham T. Tumbey, said climate vulnerability and risk assessment for the coastal zone is one of the first steps towards building up coastal resilience for the long term.
According to him, finding ways to get the country’s political focus on climate change in the face of so many social, community and economic issues has been a challenge.
“We believe that the best approach is to put a hazards and climate lens on existing issues, such as water and energy availability, storm-water management and runoff, infrastructure maintenance and housing, which means to shift focus on how hazards and climate change can intensify these issues,” Tumbey said.
This lens, Tumbey indicated, is to be applied by incorporating relevant hazards and climate data and information into on-going risk assessment and future adaptation and development planning processes.
Assistant Land and Mines Energy Minister for Planning, Research and Development, Johnson Willabo, said the workshop is the beginning of a planning of the country’s development stage.
He said Liberia is insignificantly contributing to the causes of climate change and said he believes developed countries, which are the major drivers of climate change, need to pay for the harm they have caused.
Assistant Minister Willabo said that there are several locations around Liberia’s coastal areas that are vulnerable to sea level rise and erosion. “We have capacity issue as a country and we are unable to address issues created by the impact of climate change,” he said.
The Assistant Public Works Minister said as Liberia builds its program, there is need to consider both hard and soft structures so that the country does not lose all of its beaches. He made reference to the intervention made in New Kru Town, and said significant portion of beach was lost as a result of the high retention built in the area.
Roland Varney, Special Assistant to the Deputy Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), welcomed participants and asked them to pay keen attention to the technical presentations captured in the program.
The climate vulnerability and risk assessment inception workshop will use a participatory process that emphasize the value of collaboration, local knowledge, spatial data, and multimedia materials (photos, charts, newspaper articles) to enable people to share their concerns and priorities.
The initiative is being implemented by EPA in partnership with the Ministry of Mines and Energy and UNDP with the support of the NAP Project, funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF.)
The workshop brought together members of the multidisciplinary integrated assessment team of experts and other independent experts across ministries, agencies, local governments, NGOs and civil society groups to obtain a cross-county, cross-sector perspective.