Liberia: EPA Trains New Govt Officials

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia recently concluded one-day leadership training on Climate Change and Green House Gas for some new government officials.

The training was intended to provide information to new government officials and members of the Legislature who have oversight on environment and natural resources.

EPA's Liberia Forest Sector Project Manager, Z. Elijah Whapoe, outlined the workshop's objectives and said the training is an opportunity to provide basic Climate Change information to stakeholders from line ministries and agencies in national government including the Legislature with oversight in environment and natural resources on the climate change progress, current interventions, plans and challenges in Liberia.

According to him, the training also informed heads of relevant government institutions on Liberia's obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and their institutions role in achieving same.

He said the training provided information on the current policies, laws and plans relative to Climate Change and helped to identify and build on existing human and institutional capacity and collaboration amongst institutions in collecting environmental data especially on GHG inventories.

In opening remarks, EPA Executive Director Nathanial T. Blama Sr. thanked participants for attending the leadership training workshop and said the EPA was under obligation to conduct the training, because according to him, the government is young with many new officials coming into the public sector.

He mentioned that recently, EPA took a group of Legislators to Ghana on a South-South knowledge exchange to learn how that country was able to rectify the Paris Agreement.

Speaking further, Blama said climate change is causing serious changes in climatic conditions around the way and blamed the situation to human activities.

"We are experiencing strong storm, sea erosion along our coast line in Buchanan City, West Point, New Kru Town and other places, thus threatening the health of our families and the future we intend to pass on to future generations," he mentioned.

The EPA boss emphasized that Liberia recognizes the current and future climate change associated risks and has taken significant strides to reduce them.

"As a country, we have signed unto several international environmental protocols, conventions and treaties with one being the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)," Mr. Blama indicated.

This convention, according to him, is intended to reduce global climate change and said "the signing of this instrument shows our commitments to seeing this convention being a success."

He informed the gathering that in 2013, Liberia submitted the Initial National Communications (INC) to the UNFCCC and indicated that the document outlined the steps Liberia intends to take in contributing to achieving the objective of the Convention.

Blama also explained that with funding from Green Climate Fund (GCF), Liberia recently launched the National Adaptation Plan (NAP), which is intended to support the country's effort in responding to the challenges of climate change in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The launch of the NAP makes Liberia the first country that has started the implementation of adaptation plan.

"Despite these achievements, we have our shares of challenges ranging from low budgetary allocation in the national budget to slow environmental implementation of our mandates," he added.

In support to the EPA, Liberia Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director C. Mike Doyen expressed thanks and appreciation to the EPA for initiating the leadership training on Climate Change and Green House Gas and pledged his agency's unflinching support to working with the EPA in protecting and sustaining the Environment.

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