The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: Transport Minister Launches Early Warning System Project

Transport Minister, Tonorlah Varpilah says, his Ministry considers the US$6.7million dollars Early Warning System Project launched in Liberia under the Least Developed Country Fund very important to sustainable socioeconomic development in the Country.

Speaking Wednesday, 22 January at the launch of the EWS project in Liberia, Minister Varpilah noted that Early Warning is one of three priority climate change adaptation projects prepared by the Government of Liberia through its National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, submitted to the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

"Today marks the beginning of the implementation of a four-year Early Warning System Project, funded by the GEF, under the Least Developed Countries Fund", he said.

The Transport boss stressed that the EWS will enable Liberia to provide weather and climate change information and services for the health, agriculture, transport, energy and water resources sectors, and called on all ministries, agencies, and organizations to work in ensuring the successful implementation of the project.

The project was launched under the Theme, "Strengthening Liberia's capability to provide climate information and services to enhance the climate resilient development and adaptation to climate change".

Also making remarks at the program, UNDP Deputy Country Director for Programme Cleophas Torori, emphasized that the efficient and effective use of tailored climate change information can be communicated to enable informed decision making and increase awareness in the government and private sectors, as well as local communities of the major risks associated with climate change.

"Available information could be used when formulating development policies and strategies", stressed Torori.

Meanwhile, the Regional Advisor for Early Warning System, Benjamin Larroquette has reiterated that people's livelihoods depend on climate change information which helps improve productivity and mitigates the impact of climate change on the environment. Mr. Larroquette said Liberia is among ten countries, creating a regional platform to share experiences and undertake early warning projects that help warn the population to take appropriate actions when faced with issues surrounding climate change.

The total grant awarded to the project is US$6.7million dollars in Least Developed Countries Funding with co-financing in kind from the Government of Liberia and $US200, 000 dollars cash from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The EWS project is expected to last until 2017 and achieve the following results: Increased capacity of hydro-meteorological services and associated networks to monitor and predict extreme weather, climate-related hazards and climate trends; efficient and effective use of tailored climate, environmental and socio-economic data to produce appropriate information which can be communicated to government entities and communities to enable informed decision-making; and increased awareness in government, private sector and local communities of the major risks associated with climate change, and use of available information when formulating development policies and strategies.

The United Nations Development Program is the Fund Manager of the project, while the Ministry of Transport is a lead Responsible Entity and the Environmental Protection Agency, Implementing Partner.

Other Responsible Partners are the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy Hydrological Services; Ministry of Internal Affairs; National Disaster Relief Commission (NDRC); Ministry of Agriculture, Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA); National Port Authority (NPA); Ministry of Health and Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, respectively.

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