250,000 Vulnerable People to Benefit From Climate Resilience Project

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The back view of West Point, Liberia’s most populated slum community, which is home to hundreds of thousands of people who are aware of the risks coronavirus poses, but “cannot stop hustling and interacting with people regularly.

More than 250,000 vulnerable people living in the Monrovia Metropolitan Area are expected to benefit from a 17.2 Million United States Dollars Project aimed at helping to protect lives and build climate resilient livelihoods in Monrovia.

On March 21, 2021, Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved the  US$17.2 million in funding for the project. The project is intended to benefit approximately 250,000 vulnerable people, and it is a  six-year Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilience Project to be implemented by Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The project is in response to the life-threatening climate change-related impacts of sea-level rise, and coastal erosion and urban encroachment into vital mangrove ecosystems. The Government of Liberia is providing US$8.4 million to co-finance the project.

According to release from the UNDP, the project will indirectly benefit approximately 1 million people, which is a quarter of the country’s total population  through the adoption of an integrated coastal zone management approach for Liberia.

“To protect our people from the existential risks posed by the climate crisis, this project will expand our coastal defenses, enhance livelihoods, create new economic opportunities, and improve the protection of the vulnerable mangrove ecosystems in the Monrovian Metropolitan Area,” said Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia.

Speaking during the occasion, Professor Tarpeh said that in the last decade coastal erosion has caused the shoreline of Monrovia’s impoverished and densely populated settlement at West Point to regress approximately 30 meters. According to him, in all, more than 670 dwellings have been lost already and critical fishery businesses are at risk, adding that an additional US$40 to US$48 million in climate change-related damages could occur at West Point by 2100 if nothing is done.

The project according to the UNDP will address this urgent need by constructing a rock revetment to protect West Point against coastal erosion and storms. In addition, it will improve institutional capacity and policy support for integrated coastal zone management across Liberia, protect ecosystem mangroves, and strengthen gender- and climate-resilient livelihoods to build climate resilience in the vulnerable communities of Monrovia.

Mr. Stephen Rodriques, Resident Representative, UNDP Liberia, said that the project builds on the Government of Liberia’s efforts to respond to the climate crisis, enhance livelihoods and protect vulnerable ecosystems through a number of UNDP-supported projects that are building coastal resilience, fostering climate-resilient agriculture, strengthening climate information and early warning systems, and supporting the government’s National Adaptation Plan.

“I recently visited some of the areas where this coastal resilience work will be done. I saw the communities and met with many of the women and men whose lives and livelihoods are directly threatened by the sea-level rise,” he added. Mr. Rodriques also noted that this is what the Paris Agreement is about; it is about climate change creating real risks to people and their ways of life and why it is so important that we learn to better co-exist with nature.

He stated that these coastal protection measures are extremely important, particularly for the vulnerable communities and populations whose livelihoods are at risk, “But in the long term we have to take better care of our planet.”

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