Local Project Appraisal Committee members attending a one-day appraisal meeting yesterday at a resort in Monrovia agreed that the US$2 million provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) must be directed to the ongoing New Kru Town coastal defense project.
Among other things, the project aims to ensure that the D. Twe Memorial High School and the Redemption Hospital are not swept away by erosion.
The participants were drawn from the Ministry of Lands & Mines and Energy (MLME), the Ministry of Public Works, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), civil society members, the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
The local Project Appraisal Committee members, before the unanimous decision, examined a summary project document presented by the EPA and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The meeting was held under the theme: “Enhancing Resilience of Montserrado County Vulnerable Coastal Areas to Climate Change Risks.”
In an interactive forum, participants agreed that although erosion has affected areas like Hotel Africa, West Point, JFK Hospital and New Kru Town, the Liberian government should direct the US$2 million to the New Kru Town coastal defense project.
Meanwhile, the committee said it realized three years after it was submitted that the project proposal mentioned New Kru Town and Hotel Africa when it was submitted to partners for funds, but that the U$2M would make great impact if it is directed to the New Kru Town project.
After considering the project’s relevance, feasibility, cost effectiveness, sustainability, risk analysis, among others, the committee concluded that reinforcing the New Kru Town project would also protect the Freeport of Monrovia and the Redemption Hospital.
Opening the meeting earlier, Mrs. Tanneh G. Brunson, Deputy Minister at the MFDP, drew attention to Montserrado County’s vulnerable coastal areas, made so as a result of climate change.
“It is a fact that climate change has been identified as one of the leading environment crises of the 21st century,” she said. “The situation on the coasts of Buchanan and West Point, particularly the JFK and D. Twe High School, are clear examples and therefore require our collective efforts to adopt and mitigate the effects of climate change.”
She told the committee that the Liberian government’s current economic situation will not permit the government to infuse the needed investment to abort the current threat to Monrovia’s coastal areas.
“On behalf of the government, we would like to thank the Global Environment Facility, the sponsor of the project through the UNDP and EPA, and GEF’s Operational Focal Point in Liberia for their leadership role and their efforts in mobilizing the fund for the project,” she said.
EPA Executive Director Anyaa Vohiri challenged the participants to ensure that the funds are used to fight the scourge of erosion “that has threatened to swallow up the D. Twe High School.”
“Everyone must pay keen attention and be responsible to ensure that the money is used for the purpose,” she said.
She expressed appreciation for the meeting and called on the government to increase EPA’s annual budget in its fight against climate change.
Remarks were also made by representatives from the UNDP and the Ministries of Land, Mines and Energy and of Public Works.