Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Executive Director Randall Dobayou has questioned the Liberian Government’s support in the fight against climate change, pondering over government’s seriousness in its quest to fight climate change when its budget doesn’t show a cent allotted for this fight beside staff salaries. “Where in the world we will say we are serious country, we are serious group. We fighting climate change and we don’t have one cent to show in our quest to fight climate change?” Mr. Dobayouqueried during the launch of the School of Environmental Science and Climate Change at the University of Liberia on Friday, 27 September.
The newly launched School of Environmental Studies and Climate Change at the University of Liberia has Master’s program in the School of Environmental Science and Climate Change and a Masters of Arts in Environmental Management.The university has announced plans to also introduce a PhD program in Environmental Studies in the next five to ten years.“Today we are here as a government very proud of this school. I mean what have we planned for this school today?” he continued during the event held at Fendall.
According to Mr. Dobayou, the only money that government has put in the budget is to pay salaries for staff at the EPA, narrating that that no operational money has been allotted in the budget for the entity.
However he warns that the EPA has scientists and other people who it may lose when World Bank and others that got money come and take the scientists away due to the Liberian Government’s lack of investment of more money to maintain these scientists in the institution to create more of these programs in many schools here.“So on this day, we are amplifying our voice and we are becoming the champion calling on our government to increase resources in the budget for climate change,” he notes.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dobayou has lauded the University of Liberia (UL), saying the timing of the launch of the program could not have come anytime better than now, when it is scientifically clear that Liberia is highly vulnerable to coastal erosion and flood due to limited infrastructure, technology, knowledge and capacity gaps. For his part, Margibi County Rep. Ivar Jones who launched the newly formed School of Environmental Studies and Climate Change at UL, indicated that because of human action, the forest is depleting on a daily basis.
He adds that the ozone layer is depleting, saying “climate change is real; climate change is not a myth as perceived by non-believer.” As indicators that the world is nearing a critical point, Rep. Jones cites ocean and sea level rise, flooding and environmental issues.
Speaking earlier, UL president Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks said itwill take all of the agencies, students, faculty and staff to make the program successful, sustainable and beneficial to the country.
She terms the program as quite fitting at this point in time, having seen in real time some of the effects of climate change on nations around the world, in the neighborhoods and the communities.
Giving the overview of the Liberia National Action Plan (NAP), the Program Manager of NAP at the UNDP Mr. E. Abraham Tumbey described the launch of the program as a beginning of a great milestone.
In 2018 when the NAP project was launched, Mr. Tumbey said the president of the University of Liberia Dr. Weeks made a very strong point at the inception meeting regarding the establishment of a graduate school in Environmental Science and Climate Change.
“Despite the fact that, that particular activity was not a part of the original project document, the statement she made resonated very well with the stakeholders sitting at that meeting,” he recalls.
According to him, there was a consensus that indeed this program would be a flagship initiative of the National Adaptation Program. Mr. Tumbey says UL is well positioned based on its mandate and the Act creating it to serve as a repository of knowledge based upon which climate change adaptation can be built in Liberia.By Winston W. Parley