The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in collaboration with the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) project over the weekend concluded a two-day capacity building and coordination training in Gbarnga, Bong County, for Environmental Units in government entities.
Dorsla Farcarthy, UNDP Team Leader of the Unit, said the NAPs came out of the National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA), for which Liberia was chosen to implement some quick wins to include the early warning project, now with the Ministry of Transport, the coastal defense project with the Ministry of Mines and Energy and an agriculture project.
Farcarthy said that the NAPs is in the country to build capacity, and to ensure that climate financing can be mainstreamed into the budgeting process.
“The NAPs is mainly focusing on sectors such as the fishery, coastal, energy, forestry and health, but there are other key ministries and agencies aligned to these sectors. For example, if you are dealing with sectors and you need data, go to the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS),” Mr. Farcarthy said.
The training mainly focused on how to create awareness on environmental issues for people in the mainstream to speak out on the budgeting process, and to understand the function of environmental issues and how they can apply the knowledge at their respective work places.
According to Mr. Farcarthy, NAPs will monitor the various ministries and agencies, to ensure that they have each established environmental desks in their entities to mainstream some of the essential environmental issues.
The Act establishing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia provides for a monitoring, coordinating and supervisory authority for the sustainable management of the environment in partnership with regulated ministries.
Accordingly, one of its key functions is to ensure the integration of environmental concerns in overall national planning, to set the basis for national environment planning and implementation of development programs.
It also monitors and evaluates sector development programs to keep track of their compliance with environmental requirements.
Section 28 of the Act establishing the EPA requires that each line ministry shall establish an environmental unit to ensure responsibility for compliance by that line ministry with the requirements of the EPA Act, as well as make comments on environmental impact assessment.
Scope of the training
The objectives of the training were primarily to build knowledge and understanding on the implementation of the environmental protection and management law; enhance understanding on the roles of environmental focal points in supporting the EPA mandate; define and discuss environmental reporting requirements for environmental focal points; build capacity on climate change adaptation planning and the role of the environmental focal points;build capacity on gender mainstreaming in planning, reporting and implementation.
Some topics discussed included “Gender Mainstream in Planning, Coordination and Reporting, Overview of the Environmental Protection and Management Law, Overview Assessment Process and the Roles of Environmental Units,” etc.
The training was climaxed with group discussions and presentations, followed by questions and answers from the participants, after which the participants lauded the UNDP-NAPs for building their capacity, and promised to implement those things learned over the three days.