‘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.