9 October 2006

Liberia: UNEP Launches Book On Liberia's Environment

In an effort to educate and create awareness on environmental issues, the United Nations Environment Program UNEP has formally launched a book on the environmental climate of Liberia.

The UNEP's Book titled: "Environmental Considerations For Human Displacement in Liberia," was officially launched over the weekend at the Monrovia City Hall.

The book which contains 139 pages, highlights environmental issues including camp management cycle from site identification to closure and rehabilitation, the return and reintegration process, sector-related considerations, tools and approaches for improved environmental planning and management.

Believed to be the first environmental book published in Liberia, it also takes into account other key concepts including domestic energy, water and sanitation, waste management livestock, protecting vegetation cover despite high population density, forest landscape restoration, potential source of conflict during the resettlement process, agriculture, income generation activities, among others.

In a statement, UNEP-Liberia Program Manager, Dr. Kay H. Farmer, indicated that the book was produced following series of technical training workshops with stakeholders, based on the background of the 14-year-plus civil war that led to the huge displacement of citizens, with several thousand taking refuge in other countries.

Dr. Farmer also indicated that due to the huge displacement of the Liberian population, there was a need for an environmental consideration and approach among internally displaced persons (IDPs) at every displaced camp in the country.

Serving as keynote speaker during the occasion was the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Ben T. Donnie, who hailed UNEP's initiative and called on universities, especially the University of Liberia (UL), to take advantage of the book by making including it in its curriculum.

The EPA Executive Director further pointed out that because of the issues affecting the Liberia environmental sector, there was a need for the rigid enforcement of the environmental policy and that those found violating the laws should be thoroughly dealt with in consonance with laws of the land.

For his part, the Chief of UNEP Post Conflict Branch, Mr. Henrik Slotte, stressed that the UNEP environmental publication on Liberia was important and that it would be used internationally, initially listing Sierra Leone and Sudan as suitable environmental countries for the approach.

The book, according to UNEP National Program Officer Moses Massah, would be distributed to the 15 political sub-divisions for research purposes on the Liberia's environmental conditions.

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