Dr. Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr., Executive Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has admitted being aware that the environment cannot be improved in condition of poverty, nor can poverty be eradicated without the use of science and technology, an EPA release has said.
According to the release, Blama spoke to a gathering of environmentalists and county superintendents on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, at the start of a two-day National Dialogue on environmental issues affecting the country at a resort in Margibi County.
He said there is no conflict between environmental sustainability and development. The dialogue is being held under the auspices of EPA and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a financial mechanism for several major multi-lateral environment agreements. The GEF has allotted US$6.13 million for Liberia to execute environmental projects.
The dialogue, Dr. Blama said, is to initiate and animate exchange of views on how stakeholders can tailor program portfolio that is geared toward consolidating the gains already made and advancing a substantive proposal that focus on long-term development priority in the new spending period.
He said that it is expected that the dialogue will therefore consider and build upon recent gains, re-directing focus mostly on synergistic and integrated project portfolios, which have been identified in recent past as a key priority, “if we are to turn the corner.”
Blama said what comes to focus includes the issue of smart agriculture and coastal management systems in the face of climate variability.
“Ecosystem approaches to natural resources capital accounting system to integrate the value of our natural resources into our national accounting system where policy-makers will see the dollar value of our natural resources, to compare them and make informed decisions about environmental resources,” he added.
Dr. Blama: “This, we believe, will not only strengthen our ability but will also provide an opportunity for future generations to inherit a Liberia still considered among equals as a hotspot for diversity of species, ecosystems and where humanity lives in peace with nature.”
He said Liberians, like others around the world, are equally concerned about the rapid deterioration of flora and fauna species, “because some of our flagship fauna species have almost been wiped out and miles of forest destroyed, even though our development activities are still in their infancy.”
GEF Lead Environment Specialist Dr. Mohamed Bakarr said that the “seventh-four year cycle” of the GEF, a partnership of donors, recipient countries, implementing agencies and civil society organizations (CSOs) was just launched, with US$4.3 billion pledged by donor countries.
Dr. Bakarr said that Liberia is one of the 145 countries that are recipients of the grant and has over the years developed and implemented innovative projects across all of the focal areas.
He said the financing is provided in the form of grants and concessional finance, to help recipient countries generate global environmental benefits of biodiversity, conservation, climate change, disposal of hazardous chemicals and waste, sustainable land management to combat desertification and conservation of shared water resources (marine and freshwater).
The dialogue attracted over 70 participants from sector line ministries, agencies, academic institutions, international and national non-governmental environmental organizations, representatives of civil society groups and superintendents from the 15 counties.