‘Integrate Climate Change into Economic Planning’

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Prof. Fobissie addresses participants during the opening session of the training in Gbarnga, Bong County.

…NAP Project Consultant Urges Gov’t

By Alloycious David freelance journalist

An international consultant working on the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) Project being implemented by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Kalame Fobissie, has challenged the government to integrate climate change into its economic planning.

Prof. Fobissie said the integration of climate change into national economic planning, if prioritized, especially by authorities of the Ministry of Finance, will attract huge funding from donors, including the European Union, United States Government and Germany, which have money allotted for climate change.

Fobissie spoke at a one-day intensive training workshop on climate change vulnerability and adaptation assessment in Gbarnga, Bong County, organized by EPA and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) through the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), attracted sector experts and stakeholders on climate change vulnerability and risk assessment.

He said that climate change presents a huge opportunity to finance the government’s Pro-poor Agenda.

“If you look at climate change financing, especially under the Green Climate Fund, we have eight investment areas – four for adaptation and four for mitigation. Under the adaptation, it covers the health sector, agriculture sector, water sector, construction sector, infrastructure sector, the ecosystem and its services as well as rural development sector, all of which are aligned with the Pro-poor Agenda,” Fobissie said.

According to him, the mitigation part of the Green Climate Fund talks about sustainable transportation, land use management, and the building of green cities, and said all of these different sectors are part of the Pro-poor agenda.

Prof. Fobissie said that the programs and projects can be developed, and will be financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

He added, “When GCF execute these program and projects, they will serve the vision of the Pro-poor Agenda of government and its citizens. NAP Project Manager, E. Abraham T. Tumbey, Jr., said the training is part of a two-year climate change vulnerability and risk assessment on key sectors recently launched by the EPA and the UNDP.”

The project, which is being bankrolled by the GCF, will conduct climate change vulnerability and climate risk assessments on key sectors and systems, with a goal of enabling Liberia to develop the knowledge base and capacity required to reduce vulnerability to climate change and facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into national development planning processes.

Mr. Tumbey said that the exercise is intended to develop the scientific knowledge base and capacity required to reduce vulnerability to climate change as well as facilitate the integration of climate change adaptation into national and sector-development planning processes.

“The study is being conducted by an international climate change consultant supported by two local consultants and a multidisciplinary team of sector experts, with inputs from an international expert on gender,” Tumbey said.

It advances the NAP process for medium term investment planning in climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, energy, waste management, forestry, health and coastal areas, which are being implemented by the UNDP and partners, including the EPA.

Tumbey said that the project also seeks to support Liberia so that it can put in place its NAP process, contributing to and building upon existing development planning strategies and processes, in order to implement priority adaptation actions.

He said that the assessment project will provide decision makers and stakeholders with information to justify sustainable and viable sector interventions, which will provide the basis for guiding coping strategies that will ensure that the sectors are managed in consideration of any climate-related risks and adaptation needs and options.

According to him, it would also empower Liberia to respond to risks posed by climate change, because Liberia’s economy, population, and environment are highly vulnerable to climate variability and change.

Tumbey added that a range of studies, including Liberia’s Initial National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the impact of climate change, are expected to intensify as changes in temperature and precipitation affect economic activity.

He said in order to respond to the risks posed by climate change, there is a need to conduct and update relevant climate vulnerability and risk assessment in the key sectors.

“This will give decision makers and the most vulnerable population adequate tools and information to integrate climate change into their planning strategies,” he added.

Mr. Tumbey believes this will also enable them to better plan their medium and long-term adaptation programs, policies and strategies.

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