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Liberia Faces Climate Governance Challenge…Expert Asserts

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KAKATA: The Project Lead Coordinator of the Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV), of Climate Actions in West Africa, Isaac N. Kannah, has called for construction of a system gear towards the management of climate change in Liberia.

The MRV also refers to the multi-step processes that involve measuring the amount of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by specific mitigation activities, such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), over a period of time, and reporting such findings to accredited third party.

Mr. Kannah made the call at a two-day Learning and Design Exchange – Multi-level Climate Governance and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) National Implementation Pathways held in Kakata, Margibi County.

Organized by the Environmental Protection Agency with support from the Government of Canada through NOVA Sphere, the event was held from April 12 to 13, 2024, in Kakata City.

The forum was also meant for information sharing on climate change and its effects on Liberia with emphasis on the three transformative pilots being implemented under the MRV Project with support from the government of Canada through NOVA Sphere.

The event also identified the roles of national stakeholders and developed the next steps for national implementation of the Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) of Climate Actions in the country.

Mr. Kannah disclosed that there are plans to engage with people at community levels, but the EPA and its collaborating partners are firstly interacting with relevant officials at government and institutional levels.

He revealed that Liberia, as a country, does not have any laws or legal framework to guide its carbon market, and as such, anyone or group can trade in carbon business in the country.

The MRV Action Climate Coordinator therefore, wants the government of Liberia to setup a legal framework and put into place mechanisms to safe guide the nation’s carbon market and ensure proper management of such processes.

According to Mr. Kannah, it is not possible to penalize someone or group for breaking any climate change procedures in Liberia when there are no laws put into place by the government of Liberia, through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and partners.

“So, this is a learning and design exchange meeting. We brought high level stakeholders from the government ministries, agencies and civil society organizations here to look at how well Liberia can position itself in addressing the issue of climate change,” he emphasized.

Kannah: “Basically, when it comes to climate governance in Liberia, we have some serious constraints. We don’t have a structural climate governing system. Therefore, the Government of Canada is funding this workshop through NOVA Sphere that supports countries (Liberia, Ghana, Gambia, and Togo) to build their climate MRV system.”

“We have been here for the past two days, brainstorming and coming up with the best methods and strategies that we can use as a country to develop our climate governance system,” he pointed out.

He said the potential climate laws in Liberia of which the Government of Canada will be funding would be used to determine how we use our climate.”

“Although climate change is not a strange thing to Liberia, we are relatively new to the governance aspect of it. Questions around how do we manage climate change and how we can invest into Green Climate are still new. This is why we are finding it difficult to actually operate in this system, but all those that are here today are knowledgeable to what we are here to discus and the Environmental Protection Agency EPA leads on climate issue in Liberia”, Kanneh further indicated.

For his part, Bomi County Representative and Chairman on Science and Technology at the House of Representatives, Sam P. Jallah, pledged the Lower House’s support to the operations of the EPA and partners as it relates to the protection and development of the environment.

He promised, as the Chair on Science and Technology of the Lower House of the Legislature, he will ensure that issues from the EPA are taken seriously at the Lower House.

The Bomi County Representative however, called on the EPA and other institutions to always include beneficiaries of their projects into the planning activities.

He strongly believed that if beneficiaries of any project are involved into the project, they stand to take ownership of it.

“One of the things I have come to learn is, you can form a very good policy, but if the people who the policy will effect are not involved, that project will not work”, he said.
For their part, FDA and EPA representatives lauded the participants. They added that the meeting will give them (the government) a broad idea on what is needed to be done as the country progress towards climate change mitigations.

The two-day event brought together, community leaders, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Liberia Land Authority (LAA), Forestry Development Authority (FDA) including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) among others.

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