Government of Liberia launches project to prioritize climate governance through improved National Adaptation Plans

New UNDP-supported project is the first GCF-financed NAPs project in Africa

22 March 2018, Liberia – Africa’s first Green Climate Fund-financed project to support National Adaptation Plans was launched in Liberia earlier this month.

The National Adaptation Plans project kicked off on 12 March in Monrovia and benefits from US$2.3 million in financing from the Green Climate Fund (GCF). This two-year project will help Liberia accelerate its National Adaptation Plan (NAP) by investing in climate-sensitive sectors, like agriculture and fisheries. 

“The strategic priorities of the National Adaptation Plan are to mainstream climate change adaptation into development policies, plans and strategies; build long-term capacities of institutional structures involved in NAPs; implement effective and sustainable funding mechanisms, advance research and development in climate change adaptation, and improve knowledge management,” said Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr., Executive Director of the Liberia Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Liberia’s newly-elected government has committed itself to a pro-poor agenda that focuses on improving the lives of the poor and most vulnerable, helping to build resilience against climate-change induced disasters, and mitigating risk to natural hazards.

While Liberia has a low-carbon footprint, the impact and effects of climate change may have severe consequences across multiple sectors, including agriculture, fisheries, forests, energy production related to the availability of water resources, coastal degradation and health.

Around 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, and improved plans for climate change will support Liberia in mainstreaming and accelerating policy support to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for Climate Action, No Hunger and No Poverty.

Strengthened capacity to plan for climate change, support policy and budgeting frameworks, and prepare vulnerable sectors for the impacts of climate change will also be essential in reaching the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement.

Liberia’s 350 miles of coastline is highly exposed to erosion from sea-level rise, changes in the frequency and intensity of storms, increases in precipitation, and warmer ocean temperatures.

“As we go into adaptation planning, we recognize the vital role of the local people in addressing climate change and other development issues. One key lesson learned was from the Ebola crisis of 2014 and 2015 in Liberia, which not only revealed that community coping mechanisms can be effectively used to prepare, mitigate and respond to crisis, but it can also help production capacity and resilience at every level,” said Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai, UNDP Liberia’s Country Director.

Liberia continues to recover from the Ebola epidemic, and climate change may lead to increased vulnerability to malaria, cholera and diarrheal diseases, as well as increased incidence of other diseases. Climate change may also negatively impact hydroelectric generation from the Mount Coffee hydropower plant.

National partners in the National Adaptation Plans project will include the Environment Planning Authority and the National Climate Change Secretariat. Other key partners are the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Ministry of Agriculture, National Disaster Management Commission, National Port Authority of Liberia, Liberia Maritime Authority, Bureau of National Fisheries, Liberia National Department of Meteorology, Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, and University of Liberia.

Notable attendees at the project launch included Hon Tanneh Geraldine Brunson, Deputy Minister for Budget and Development Planning, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning; Mr. C. Mike Doryen, Managing Director, Forestry Development Authority; Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, President, University of Liberia; Hon. Mr. Molewuleh B. Gray, Chairman, National Investment Commission University of Liberia; Madam Emma Metieh Glassco, Director, National Fisheries & Aquaculture Authority; Mr. Henry O. Williams, Executive Director, National Disaster Management Agency; Mr. John B.S. Davies, President, Liberia Bank for Development and Investment; Mr. Augustus Goanue, Executive Director, Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA); and Mr. Carlton Miller, Deputy Minister for Planning and Development, Ministry of Mines and Energy.

UNDP supports a growing portfolio of GCF-financed National Adaptation Plans projects. UNDP is working with national governments, civil society, donors and other key stakeholders to support 41 nations in accessing GCF financing to internalize climate change risks and opportunities into their planning and budgeting processes.