The World Bank Group says Liberia stands to benefit significantly from significant climate financing if it does the right thing.
World Bank Country Manager for Liberia, Khwima Nthara, says climate financing has the potential to contribute to the Government’s budget in order to finance critical development programs such as infrastructure and the delivery of social services.
However, Mr. Nthara notes that to maximize climate finance, Liberia must conserve its forests.
Speaking during the recent Liberia Forest and Climate Resilience Forum held at the EJS Ministerial Complex in Cong Town, he stressed that the critical role the forest sector can play towards ensuring climate resilience globally has opened up new opportunities for countries like Liberia that still have vast forest cover.
He says two pieces of good news are that firstly, the Government of Liberia has identified these opportunities, lauding President George Manneh Weah for taking full advantage of climate finance opportunities at COP26 and COP27, and most recently, in his state of the nation address.
Mr. Nathara continues that the second good news is that the Government of Liberia has already started taking some basic first steps toward protecting the country’s vast forest cover.
“We know this because we at the World Bank have been supporting the Government’s efforts to protect Liberia’s forests through the Liberia Forest Sector Project, with grant financing from the Norwegian Government. We are also aware that other development partners in this room have been supporting the Government of Liberia in the forest sector”, he notes.
He says a foundation has already been established and all that is required is to build upon it, adding that much more still needs to be done for Liberia to take full advantage of opportunities available in the forest sector, particularly, through climate financing.
“We are therefore also hoping to hear the participants’ take on where exactly Liberia stands in this journey, especially what more needs to be done. We also look forward to hearing about what Liberia can learn from other countries that have already been benefiting from these opportunities.”
Mr. Nathara says from experience, ensuring good governance of the forest sector has been critical to unlocking the sector’s full potential.
According to him, this is because good governance helps build confidence in the Government’s capacity to manage its forest assets.
The World Bank Country Manager for Liberia underscores that the most important step for Liberia to maximize opportunities in the forest sector through its contribution to climate resilience is to actually implement actions identified from the forum and presented in a clear road map.
“In this regard, you can count on the continued support of the World Bank Group and other development partners in helping you implement these actions. At the same time, we hope that the road map will include some low-hanging fruits, and some quick wins, that can easily be implemented even without the support of donors.
He says this will send a clear message and signal that Liberia is open for business in the area of climate finance.
Mr. Nathara explains that the World Bank Group’s mission in member countries is to help them achieve the twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
He notes that in Liberia, these twin goals are very much aligned to the Government’s pro-poor agenda for prosperity and development (PAPD).
To reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity he says, requires identification of all available pathways for poverty reduction and promotion of shared prosperity, and what needs to be done to maximize opportunities along those pathways.
He revealed that across the world, the forest sector has been identified as one possible pathway for helping countries reduce poverty and promote shared prosperity, adding that it is estimated that about 350 million people who live within or close to dense forests depend on them for their subsistence and income.
The World Bank Country Manager further explains that forests are an important aspect of rural livelihoods, with rural households living near forested areas deriving as much as 22 percent of their income from forest sources, quoting the World Bank’s Poverty and Environment Network (PEN).
He says this contribution is greater than that of wage labor, livestock, self-owned businesses, or any other category aside from crops.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/world-bank-to-invest-millions-in-energy-sector/ Story by Jonathan Browne