30 October 2006

Liberia: United Nations Environment Programme Undertakes Training Course

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will be undertaking a week long intensive training course on environmental impact assessment (EIA).

According to a release, the training will take place at the Corinna Hotel from 30th October to 3rd November 2006. To date, there have been a number of laws passed that establish the need for the Government to implement a system of environmental impact assessment.

These, the statement said include the Environmental Protection and Management Law, the Forest Reform Law and the Mining Law.

However, despite these laws being explicit in the requirement for environmental assessment of development projects there is little guidance to how environmental impact assessment (EIA) is applied in the various economic sectors.

For this reason, it is necessary to work with different Government agencies in an attempt to develop a coherent administrative process.

The week long course will work closely with the EPA, FDA and MLME to better understand how the provisions in the various laws affect them.

"EIA is defined as a process for predicting and managing environmental effects of a proposed activity.

It informs government and decision makers about environmental considerations that they should take into account before authorizing a development activity to ensure sustainable management of natural resources and environmental protection," UNEP said.

All relevant sectors of the society, including government agencies should be involved in the EIA process. If properly conducted, EIA benefits all those involve in the planning process.

As a planning and decision making tool, EIA ensures sustainable projects; it integrates social and environmental issues into the economic development process for sustainability.

As Liberia moves from the humanitarian/emergency phase to national socio-economic development, UNEP said it is important to integrate social and environmental concerns into economic development activities to protect people's health and the environment.

At the same time, it is clarified that EIA is not a stumbling block to development as people often think.

The aim and objectives of EIA are to modify and improve project design, ensure efficient use of natural resources, identify key impacts and measures for mitigating them, help avoid serious and irreversible damage to the environment, inform decision-making and condition -setting, among others.

Sea Erosion Threatens Cestos City

Reports emanating from Cestos City, the administrative headquarters of Rivercess County, is said to be under serious threat from sea erosion caused by the Atlantic Ocean.

Although investigations are continuing into the threat posed, some Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) workers and citizens who claim to have returned from the county over the weekend told The Analyst that the entire city and its environs is sitting on a "Time Bomb," as the erosion was destroying several properties including residential buildings and government properties, rendering citizens and residents displaced.

The returnees, majority of whom were women, further told The Analyst that if nothing is done urgently by the government and its international partners to stop the erosion, the city and its environs may soon be wiped away..

Terrance McGill, Esther Moses and Oldman Deyou Gargar, a 58 year old farmer and other citizens of the county noted that the Atlantic has since served as source of revenue generation but with the destruction now caused, massive displacement would render them penniless.

According to the returnees and NGO workers, the county's only high school, "Cestos High School," along with the administrative building, is getting closer to the sea erosion and may be completely damaged, thus creating setbacks to the national reconstruction drive.

Although, the NGO Workers and the returnees felt short to disclose how much residential building and destroyed as the result of the sea erosion, but maintained that the ongoing sea erosion has the propensity to capture the entire county and underpinning the county growth and development as well as scaring away potential investors and country of good will and individuals to contribute their quotas to the rebuilding of the country after years of brutal civil conflict.

The NGO Workers and the returnees on behalf of the people of Rivercess County are then appealing to the government and its partners to come to their aid to stop the sea erosion that was on a destroying spree.

Besides Cestos City, the Port City of Buchanan is reportedly said to be sitting on time bomb as well from sea erosion caused by the great Atlantic Ocean.

Atlantic Street is reported to have been swept away in the process, leaving residents and foreign nationals to live in constant fear.

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