President George Manneh Weah has told an environmental and climate change conference in Monrovia that building climate-resilient infrastructure and environmentally-smart projects must be the centrepiece of national development program, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
In his message Wednesday, 2 June at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, Mr. Weah flagged several environmental and climate challenges that are posing serious risks to the timely attainment of the goals and objectives of the PAPD.
“This is why Government is working to align the PAPD with initiatives that are sensitive to issues of environment and climate change,” President Weah said, adding that it is the moral duty and obligation as citizens to ensure that the management and protection of the environment of Liberia is done responsibly. “I therefore call upon all citizens and foreigners within our borders to work together for a cleaner and more healthy environment,” he said.
President Weah said he is informed that a State of the Environment Report which is due to be released this year, points to several environmental and climate challenges which include rapid encroachment of the Savanna in the North West of the country; contamination and pollution of the major water basins, especially from mining activities; burning of waste in urban communities; and abuse of wetlands, including illegal building of structures.
“In this regard, my Administration is currently making critical interventions in land reclamation and coastal defense projects. The D. Tweah High School and the Redemption Hospital, both in the Borough of New Kru Town in Monrovia, were recently saved from sea erosion,” President Weah said.
Additionally, he noted that the government is now embarking on a similar project for West Point, called the Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilient Project, adding that the total cost of the project is US$25 Million.
Mr. Weah explained that US$17.2 Million is being funded by a grant from the Green Climate Fund, while another grant of US$10 Million has been approved for a similar project in Greenville, Sinoe County.
President Weah stated that for almost three decades now, Liberia has not been able to conduct a national forest inventory that would enable the country to know the approximate value of this critical asset to guide national development planning. However, he said with the support of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), he is pleased to report that Liberia has now concluded the first post-war national forest inventory, expressing gratitude to the FAO for this support.
“The inventory revealed that Liberia is still a forested nation that is endowed with many unique plant and animal species. I can attest to this because, during my recent County Tours, I witnessed and deeply appreciated the greenery of our Country, and its vast and impressive forests,” President Weah said.
“What is important for us now as a Nation is to ensure that our God-given resources should now be wisely used as a way of meeting the needs of the present generation, without compromising the needs of future generations,” he continued.
He stated that his administration remains committed to all of the multilateral environment agreements that Liberia has signed to date, including the Paris Accord, and all other protocols on climate change and the environment.
Mr. Weah also asked U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Michael A. McCarthy to kindly convey sincere thanks and appreciation to the U.S. Government for re-joining the Paris Climate Accord. “The return of the United States and its global leadership to this important forum will restore hope to the international community, especially the developing countries in Africa, and the Small Island Developing States,” Mr. Weah said. By Winston W. Parley