A two-day intensive training regimen organized by the administration of the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with support from the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) Project to raise awareness and build capacity within the private sector ended over the weekend in Ganta, Nimba County. The NAPs project, according to an EPA release, supports the Liberian government to advance its plans and processes in climate sensitive sectors.
The project, the release said, focuses on strengthening institutional frameworks and coordination for the implementation of the NAPs process, expanding the knowledge base for scaling up adaptation, building capacity for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into planning, and budgeting processes and systems, and formulating financing mechanisms for scaling-up adaptation, including public, private, national and international.
The two-day awareness training program on climate change adaptation, which targeted large, small and medium enterprises, placed emphasis on the impact of climate change, the role of the private sector, financial intermediaries and other stakeholders in the implementation of adaptation activities.
The training also sought to increase the level of awareness on climate change adaptation, increase the understanding and knowledge of private sector in investment and business opportunities related to climate change adaptation and strengthened private sector participation in climate change adaptation initiatives in the country. It attracted 50 participants from selected large, medium and small enterprises. Representatives from EPA, UNDP, the Ministry of Commerce, National Investment Commission, Liberia Business Association, and the Chamber of Commerce also attended the gathering.
NAPs program manager, Abraham Tumbey, said the training was intended to raise awareness on the need to mobilize private sector investment for climate change adaptation, as well identify opportunities for public-private partnership in the adaptation projects.
Tumbey said that the forum would be used to raise awareness on sources of domestic and external public and private financing options for scaling up adaptation, because it is projected that climate related hazards including floods, windstorms, fire, and sea erosion are likely to worsen with climate change in the country.
“This will in turn have significant impact on local businesses and livelihoods, the key sectors and overall national economic performances,” Mr. Tumbey said.
EPA Deputy Executive Director, Randall M. Dobayou, said the country is highly vulnerable due to limited infrastructure and services, a population heavily dependent on natural resources for livelihood and export earnings, and a coastline of 560 kilometers, which host about 58 percent of Liberia’s population.
“Coastal erosion, increase in temperature, flooding and storms are having great impact on our country,” Dobayou said.
UNDP Gender and Development Expert, Chantal Kingue Ekambi, said Climate change is threatening livelihoods and societies worldwide, noting that companies are being held to account for their impact on livelihoods to include environment and societies at large.
Madam Ekambi said that the private sector is already experiencing the impact of climate change, from increased operational costs to disrupted production, and indicated that there is a strong rhetoric present within international climate change discussions that assumes the private sector as a key set of actors.
She said that the UNDP recognizes that bridging the massive gap in adaptation financing will require significant private sector investment.