Authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday released a rebranding plan, captioned: Towards a renewed environmental commitment, rebranding of the EPA 2017-2022. The strategic plan, developed during a two-day strategic planning retreat in Paynesville, describes detailed objectives and activities of the agency that will be used as the overarching framework for operations within the next five years, according to a press release.
Accordingly, the plan outlined the EPA’s vision toward the adoption of an integrated approach to sustainable environmental, natural resources management and socioeconomic development. It is also focused on climate resilience as a means to enhance Liberia’s national development agenda and greener future through objective, accurate and timely regulatory analyses and decisions. The EPA’s media section added that the plan was developed after a vigorous two-day inclusive retreat, which incorporated inputs from all stakeholders, including technical and non-technical staff of the agency, as well as local, national and international stakeholders.
Anyaa Vohiri, EPA executive director, said the re-branding was necessary because it helps to articulate priorities and focuses on key efforts. Madam Vohiri said the coming years would present many changes for the agency. “Re-branding provides the EPA with a clear and comprehensive plan to meet our mission to ensure transparency and accountability in sustainable environmental and natural resource management,” she said.
Five strategic goals, which would increase the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) funding portfolio to US$17 million under GEF by 2020, will accordingly require increasing the number of Global Environmental Facility (GEF) projects formulation to a higher number, the release said. “The strategic goal will also enhance visibility in the 15 counties; not only establishing offices, but ensuring adequate equipment and logistics supply to the established offices, while it will also secure three GEF projects in addition to the current Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilience Project to increase the funding size of the country to US$100 million by 2020,” the release. The release added that the strategic goal would increase the Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) permits from 250 to 2,000 in all categories by 2020.
The increment would require the expansion of the ESIA process to new territories to include garages, makeshift gas stations and others. “It will further require an increase in compliance monitoring activities in the mining and infrastructural sectors leading to increase in revenue generation from the US$400,000 earmarked to over US$4 million,” the release said. The promulgation of additional standards, guidelines, monitoring equipment, human capacity and imposition of sustained penalties for would be violators will be a priority in realizing this goal. The release noted that enabling measures identified to accelerate the implementation of the new vision include the establishment of an environmental trust fund, sustained communication, education and public awareness, revision of the three environmental legal instruments that gave birth to the agency, stakeholders collaboration and coordination network, and an increased capacity development to include systemic, institutional and individual human capacity. “The development of the new strategic plan covering 2017-2022, supersedes the 2012-2016 (plan). The new plan was necessitated by Liberia’s accession to several multilateral plans, agreements and the new national development blueprint, Vision 2030, the SDG, Africa 2063 and the Gaborone Accord,” the release said. The implementation of the re-branding plan will run on government’s fiscal year. This will provide flexibility ensuring that the plan is adaptable to key development priorities in the national development agenda as well as the policy and the legislative environment.
The EPA was established by an Act of the Legislature in November 2003 as the principal agency responsible for the management of the environment. It is further to build the capacity of line ministries and agencies and organizations through exchange of data and information, advice, technical support and training to enable stakeholders carry out their responsibilities in an environmentally friendly manner. The first five-year strategic plan that was developed in 2012 ended in 2016 at a cost of US$16 million. The implementation of said plan, according to authorities of the agency, was marked by lots of challenges, the principal one being limited availability of funding to fully implement the plan. The July 27-28 revision and subsequent adoption of the new plan is intended to tap into several funding opportunities including those of the Green Climate Fund, Global Environmental Facility, the European Union’s environmental funding mechanism, the national budget among many other structures. This, many commentators maintain, provides a better opportunity for success.