2 October 2012

Liberia: Legislator Says Coastal Defense Fund Will Save Liberia

A member of the Liberian legislature of District 3, in Grand Bassa County, Representative Gabriel Smith has expressed optimism that the new Coastal Defense Fund for Liberia will save the country from future Sea erosion along the coastal belt of Liberia. Representative Smith said the coastal Defense Fund would also address some challenges posed by climate change.

However, he warned that coastal erosion, if left unchecked, could lead to the destruction of coastal line communities, beaches and all of their natural attractions.

Rep. Smith, who is the crafter of the bill seeking to protect Liberia's Coastal line communities, lamented that it was a matter of urgency and a compelling need to save the country's coastal belt by ensuring that the bill is passed by the 53rd National Legislature.

The Grand Bassa County Lawmaker made the disclosure when he appeared on the LMDI/NDI Legislative Spotlight at the weekend. He explained that for the past five years, the world has witnessed an unprecedented rise in Sea level influenced by climate Change with its attending environmental consequences.

Representative Smith also said the global phenomenon of Climate Change poses serious threat to planet earth, leading to crisis with crops, livestock and coastal areas being destroyed.

"The time to act is now and Government cannot effectively respond to the Economic, Social and Security threats posed by Sea erosion without the establishment of a coastal Defense Fund," Representative Smith stressed.

He named Montserrado, Buchanan, Cape Palmas, Robertsport and Greenville as some of Liberia's cities already affected by Sea erosion.

He narrated that the coastal Defense act charges the Liberia Maritime Authority with the responsibility of protecting Liberia's coastal belt against erosion.

According to the act, the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA), will employ hard and soft engineering technologies, such as beach nourishment, construction of sea walls, boulders, revetments, groins and gabions.

The LMA is also empowered to lobby and raise funds through an escrow account subject to a quarterly review by the legislature to implement its agenda.

Rep Smith noted that the LMA will work in consultation with EPA and the Ministry of Lands Mines and Energy to formulate policies that would ensure clean and sanitary conditions for beaches and coastal communities.

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