Global Environmental Confab Convenes in Monrovia

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Government officials Delegates at the GCF informal board meeting in Margibi County.

‘Protecting our planet now is not a choice but a mandate for this generation,’ says Finance Minister Tweah

A major global environmental conference has convened here and is intended to sharpen the Green Climate Fund (GCF) vision and strategic priorities to deliver greater impact in support of climate action in the developing countries it serves.

The conference, which is a three-day informal meeting of the group, is the first of its kind in West Africa and the second on the continent. Delegates from various countries who are board members, advisors and active observers are in the country here to discuss how the GCF, the world’s largest fund dedicated to empowering countries to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change, can adapt its 2020-2023 roadmap.

Speaking on behalf of President George M. Weah, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., said: “Protecting our planet now is not a choice but a mandate for this generation. As such, all governments, from both developed and developing countries, must harness resources through the Green Climate Fund to promote low carbon economies and climate resilient development.”

In the wake of advancing GCF’s Strategic Plan, Minister Tweah added that the meeting offers an opportunity for the Fund to understand the depth of the threats posed by climate change on developing countries and the need to provide resources faster.

He highlighted the significant roles that Liberia is playing in the fight against climate change globally with specific reference to the enormous rain-forest and its vast biodiversity that the country possesses.

Despite these, Liberia is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, especially being one of the countries with the highest rainfall in the world and a country that faces a rapid pace of deforestation.

GCF’s new Co-Chair from Canada, said Sue Szabo, said that the meeting is taking place at a critical time for the Fund for the body. She noted that a successful replenishment in 2019 means GCF must enhance its strategy to dramatically scale-up its programming and reach more vulnerable people, communities and countries with flexible and innovative solutions.”

“While addressing climate change as a long-term issue, we will nevertheless ensure that we will have results and we will have impact now on the ground,” she said.

The GCF Board, consisting equally of developing and developed country representatives, is meeting to progress the Fund’s strategic vision, priorities and plan for the next four years, to support countries’ efforts to combat the climate crisis and achieve their Paris Agreement goals.

Nauman Bashir Bhatti of Pakistan, who takes over the reins as new GCF Board Co-Chair this year, said: “As a country-driven organization, GCF must ensure it responds effectively to the needs and priorities of developing countries, and align its stakeholder engagements, portfolio, and financing accordingly. The review of the Strategic Plan will be taking this into consideration.”

Liberia is particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change. With 560-kilometers of coastline and 70 percent of the population living in coastal cities, sea level rise and erosion both pose significant threats to the country.

Of GCF’s total approved funds of US$5.6 billion, nearly 40 percent, or US$2.2 billion, has been directed to African countries to support approximately 50 projects.

GCF drives climate finance to where it is needed most: developing countries, including those particularly vulnerable to climate change, among them African States, Small Island Developing States, and Least Developed Countries.

While expressing his gratitude to the Liberian Government for hosting the board meeting, Yannick Glemarec, GCF Executive Director, said: “The burgeoning demand for climate finance reflects the high ambitions shared by many developing countries to scale up climate action and the urgent need to do so. I’m confident this meeting will help refine the Fund’s strategy to finance transformative initiatives with life-changing potential.”

Liberia was selected to host meeting on November 14, 2019 at the 24th Session of the Board of Directors of the GCF in Songdo, South Korea, where the country was overwhelmingly endorsed—a move that signifies a major leap in attracting donor supports to address environmental and climate change challenges; improve the quality of living for Liberians and give boost to the economy.

GCF is a new global fund created to support the efforts of developing countries to respond to the challenge of climate change. It helps developing countries limit or reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and adapt to the impact of climate change.

Liberia last year received US$805,000 as part of a US$2.2 million GCF Climate Fund grant to support its national climate adaptation planning process. This grant represents GCF’s first transfer of adaptation resources to a least developed country (LDC).

Supported through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the GCF-funded project “to advance the National Adaptation Plans (NAP) process for medium-term investment planning in climate-sensitive sectors (i.e. agriculture, energy, waste management, forestry and health) and coastal areas in Liberia” will work to strengthen institutional frameworks and coordination for the implementation of the NAP process, expand the knowledge base for scaling up adaptation, build capacity for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into planning, and budgeting processes and systems, and formulate financing mechanisms for scaling-up adaptation, including public, private, national and international.

EPA Executive Director said then that the funds would be to kick-start a cross-government approach to integrate climate change adaptation throughout key ministries, agencies and authorities, and to develop corresponding strategies. The focus area of the grant was identified by the government following a national stocktaking exercise that found limited inclusion of climate adaptation considerations in coastal planning and key sectors like agriculture, energy, forestry and health that would be adversely affected by climate change.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Very good. But climate change deniers do not have an argument. It’s a fact that the climate has changed somewhat and of course the change continues in so many ways.

  2. Wait until the raining season starts, and see what the climate change has in stored for not being prepared. Domestic planning, supported by domestic implementation and awareness on how to clean and clear the water way is not up to the global environmentalists. It is up to those in charged of urban planning and how prepared they are to limit caused by the so-called climate change. As it stands, the country’s rain forests is being eyed by the so-called environmentalists, while on the other hand, the country is changing its laws to cut and award more logging contracts for economic reasons, as the economy has actually failed to pick up and create jobs. The environmentalists know just how to get money from liberals governments in favor of climate change. Knowing that emerging economies like India and Brazil and Argentina and even China still struggling to replace the United States as the number one economy can not afford to invest in any new technology that is not profitable to their economies. Just as no new technology can replace the logging contracts for Liberia which is desperately in need of funding to grow its economy through the sale of logging. The so-called global environmental conference is in that country as to pressure that country to leave the climate change movement. Liberia needs more economic funding than what it is receiving from the climate change movement, if it has to stop awarding contracts. The author mentioned that such conference may lead to opportunity for companies to invest in that country. But failed to mention the kind of technology that the environmentalists have developed that is profitable to the world economy to replace the present old technology. Liberia is now turning to the ocean to jump start its declining economy and about to change its laws to allow for more contracts. The conference in Monrovia is just a political pressure group. The article speaks about billions of US dollars , and Liberia is receiving nothing more than peanuts for its efforts in the climate change movement with no new technology to grow its economy. Should the conference be called ” Back To The Future ” ?

  3. Mr. James Davis,
    Climate change occurs worldwide. I made my statement above based on changes that occur worldwide.

    The pressure groups, as you describe them, should not be blamed. Our country and all poor countries are being pressured or maligned because the outside pressure groups know that leaders of such countries are money-hungry-do nothing leaders. It didn’t start with Weah. Since the days of Joseph Jenkins Roberts, leadership in Liberia has not genuinely demonstrated its ability to do positive things. What are we known for? Sex? Big guts? Corruption? Theft? Frankly, let’s not blame outside pressure groups! Don’t get wrong. I do not support the pressure groups at all.

    I hate to change the topic that’s under discussion. Climate change is a fact. But I must quickly say this….our forests are being aggressively destroyed by foreigners. But the source of the problem is from within. Some Liberians are so corrupt that if you flash ten thousand bucks in their pockets, you can enslave their household on your cassava farm for as long as you want.

    Peace

  4. The government position to this global movement for climate change and adaptation may be challenged by development practitioners like myself who is keen on promoting a tripartite approach where the environment, the people and the economy can mitigate to bring about a sustainable, practical and realistic policy framework for Liberia.
    Sustainable tourism for instance should form the basis for the promotion of conservation in the coastal areas where underdevelopment is evident and can lead to human trappings and deformation of soil and contamination of the wetlands…
    Up until this conference and I stand to be corrected the Liberian government (s) was stuck in an environmental bubble that preservation was a precondition for developing some historical and cultural milestone along the coastal plains like the Providence Island…Fallacy!
    New and informative knowledge based on scientific research indicate that indeed conservation was the most reliable approach to protecting the environment where a triple-bottom line can be drawn and outcomes can be measured…
    As a forward-looking practitioner of sustainable tourism development my position has never been fully understood and this conference should be a wake-up call to this government that in order to facilitate development that would
    ensure and guarantee the protection of the environment it must yield to the norms and science of conservation and allow for sustainable development as in sustainable tourism to help inform national pol;icy and stimulate local economy…
    Moreover and finally one main area that have caught my attention is the re-development of Providence Island; the project document was developed in 2013 at the George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies and by request all interested parties or individuals may be able to gain access to the document for scrutiny and further recommendation….

  5. The conservation approach would also capture nature-based landmark in Liberia for sustainable tourism development…For instance ecotourism and adventure tourism and pro-poor tourism…

  6. how do liberians cook? fire coal. they are cutting down trees at an alarming rate because of the lack of hydro electric dams. Where is mount coffee? how long can liberia last cutting down all of the trees

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