West Africa: World Bank Launches Liberia Development and Climate Report

The World Bank launches the Liberia Country Development and Climate Report here. The report highlights Liberia's vulnerability to climate change, identifies developmental risks and opportunities, and models various climate impact scenarios and interventions.

Monrovia, March 22, 2024--The World Bank has unveiled its highly anticipated Liberia Country Development and Climate Report, which thoroughly analyzes the country's current development trajectory and vulnerability to climate change.

The Report highlights Liberia's vulnerability to climate change, identifying developmental risks and opportunities and modeling various climate impact scenarios and interventions. At the same time, it proposes strategies to strengthen resilience and finance climate actions that support development aspirations of inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

The Report was launched on Saturday, March 24, 2024, at Monrovia City Hall. It brought together government officials, international development partners, civil society representatives, and experts to deliberate on the findings and chart a sustainable development path for the West African nation.

It is a collaborative effort between the World Bank and Liberian stakeholders that provides valuable insights into the country's economic, social, and environmental landscape.

It also highlights progress made in key sectors such as infrastructure, education, and healthcare while shedding light on persistent challenges, including poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation.

With its extensive coastline, dense forests, and reliance on agriculture, Liberia is particularly vulnerable to adverse impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and deforestation.

During the launch, World Bank officials underscored the importance of integrating climate considerations into Liberia's development planning to ensure long-term sustainability and resilience.

They emphasized the need for coordinated action at the national and international levels to address the interconnected challenges of development and climate change.

Georgia Wallen, Country Manager for Liberia since August 1, 2023, highlighted the event's significance, emphasizing the report's importance for both the bank and Liberia. She underscored the human toll of poverty in Liberia, particularly its disproportionate effects on women, children, and vulnerable populations while stressing the urgency of addressing climate change as a paramount threat to the World Bank's objectives.

She noted that the launch coincided with Action Week, which commenced on Monday and culminated with the release of the County Climate and Development Report.

Robert Taliercio O'Brien, Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone since January 2, 2024, among other partners who spoke at the event, cautioned that combating poverty and climate change has become the mission's dual focus, underscoring climate change's potential to undermine development efforts and exacerbate poverty in Liberia.

He emphasized the importance of climate risk preparedness, robust infrastructure development, and women's empowerment, noting the report's myriad recommendations as valuable tools for progress.

Hence, Liberia's government, on the other hand, welcomed the report's insights and pledged to prioritize climate resilience and sustainable development in its policies and programs.

Speaking at the event, Tanneh Geraldine Brunson, Deputy Minister for Budget and Development Planning, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning of Liberia, reiterated the government's commitment to advancing the country's development agenda while safeguarding its natural resources and protecting vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change.

Reading remarks on behalf of Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Boima Kamara,

Deputy Minister Geraldine Brunson indicated that they have recognized the significant impact of climate change on development and advocated for proactive measures to address it. Climate change has undeniably become a reality for Liberia, affecting the public and private sectors, including health, agriculture, peace, security, and the global economy.

Speaking on the topic "The Climate and the Liberian Economy," she emphasized that climate change is a critical development issue that requires relentless efforts to resolve. She noted that many of the recommendations in the Report focus on climate adaptation and mitigation measures.

She said, "Adaptation efforts should include addressing waste, extreme weather events, safeguarding agriculture, and enhancing infrastructure resilience."

Regarding the benefits of climate change, Brunson mentioned the challenge of estimating them due to their context specificity, further reinforcing that policies such as those proposed by the Climate Change Development Report (CCDR) are expected to yield significant returns.

She urged the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to take the report seriously while reaffirming the government's commitment to supporting such efforts for its people's and residents' well-being.

However, International development partners expressed support for Liberia's inclusive and sustainable development efforts, highlighting the importance of collaboration and partnership in achieving shared goals. They commended the World Bank's ongoing support to Liberia and pledged continued assistance in implementing the report's recommendations.

The launch facilitated lively discussions among civil society representatives and experts, emphasizing community involvement, stakeholder engagement, and local empowerment in driving sustainable development and climate resilience efforts.

A PowerPoint presentation showcased the Country Development and Climate Report at the event, serving as a roadmap for policymakers, stakeholders, and development partners in their endeavors to build a more sustainable and inclusive society in Liberia.

Meanwhile, the World Bank launched the Climate and Economic Development Report for three countries, including Liberia, Lebanon, and Zimbabwe, and it can be accessible on its official Facebook page, providing further insight into these countries' developmental challenges and opportunities as they progress towards a prosperous and resilient future. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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