The Ministry of Transport, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and others Wednesday, January 22, launched the Early Warning System (EWS) Project that stands to strengthen Liberia’s capability to provide climate information.
The EWS project was organized by the Ministry of Transport and approved on October 7, 2013, by the Government of Liberia. In the meeting, where the project document was signed, representatives of the Ministry of Planning and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) there, while the UNDP’s Resident Coordinator signed the project document.
The EWS project, launched Wednesday, January 22, under the theme: “Strengthening Liberia’s Capability to Provide Climate Information and Services to Enhance Climate Resilient Development and Adaptation to Climate Change,” is expected to last until 2017.
Welcoming the guests to the launch of the project, Minister S. Tonorlah Varpilah said the day marks the beginning of the implementation of the four-year Early Warning System project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF).
Minister Varpilah said the project is one of three priority climate change adaptation projects prepared by the Government of Liberia in 2007 through its National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) under the United Nations Frame work Convention on Climate Change (U FCCC), which was submitted to GEF for possible funding.
“The NAPA process was spearheaded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),” he said.
The Min. of Transport disclosed that his Ministry considers the EWS project very important to sustainable socio-economic development of the country because the project is aimed at building the infrastructure of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSS).
“It will enable us provide weather and climate information and services to sectors such as health, agriculture, energy, transport (air, land and sea) environment, water resources, and the general public,” he averred.
Minister Varpilah called on all Ministries and organizations to work in promoting the project, which he referred to as the first project ever in Liberia under his leadership as Transport Minister.
At the same time, the UNDP Deputy Country Director (Programmer), Mr. Cleophas Torori, described the launch of the EWS as another milestone in the relationship existing between the UNDP and the Government of Liberia.
He said the objective of the project is to strengthen Liberia’s climate related monitoring capabilities and early warning systems to ensure the availability of information for responding to climate shocks and planning adaptation strategies for climate change.
He said, “The EWS has three key outcomes they are: Increased capacity of meteorological and hydrological services and associated networks to monitor and predict extreme weather, climate related hazards and climate trends.
Efficient and effective use of tailored climate appropriate information can be communicated to enable informed decision making and to increase awareness in the government, private sector and local communities of the major risks associated with climate change. The available information could then be used when formulating development policies and strategies.
Mr. Torori disclosed the total grant amount awarded to the project as $US6.7 million in LDCF funding with co-financing in kind from the Government of Liberia through its line ministries and agencies and US$200,000 in cash from UNDP.
He said the project’s formulation, dissemination and validation were marked by a structured, strategic and inclusive approach with extensive consultations and discussions with stakeholders.
Mr. Torori also emphasized that the project is in line with Liberia’s United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and UNDP Country Program Document (CPD) for 2013-2017, the UNDP,CPD 2013-2017, the NAPA and the Agenda for Transformation (Vision 2030).
He assured his organization’s commitment to the EWS project and promised to work with other ministries and organizations in moving the project forward for better development and to achieve the long term goals and objectives of the project.
Other Responsible partners of the EWS project are the Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy (LME), Hydrological Services, Internal Affairs (MIA),National Disaster Relief Commission (NDRC),Agriculture Ministry (MOA)Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA), National Ports Authority (NPA) Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs (PEA).