Liberia President George Weah Launches National Action Plan for Reducing Climate Change Impacts

October 18, 2022

Foreign Minister Dee-Maxwell Kemayah (left) and EPA Executive Director Wilson Tarpeh (right) launch the NDC on behalf of the President

UNDP Liberia

The President of Liberia, H.E. George Weah, today launched the Implementation Plan for the country’s revised ambitious National Determined Contributions (NDCs) towards reducing greenhouse gases responsible for climate change in a move to accelerate the government’s actions on the climate change emergency.

The Implementation Plan, also known as the Road Map, outlines how Liberia will reduce green house gases in nine key sectors of the economy – agriculture, coastal zones, fisheries, health, forests, transport, industry, energy, and waste.

“No country is immune to the impacts of climate change. In Liberia, climate change is causing disruption in agriculture, coastal erosion, and perennial flooding, critically impacting the agriculture, energy, and fisheries sectors,” President Weah said in remarks read on his behalf by Foreign Affairs Minister H. E. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah Sr.

The President urged all government officials to ensure that the NDC Implementation Plan was implemented to its fullest because the country’s development and prosperity hinges being able to adapt to and mitigate against the effects of climate change, while asking development partners help the government to mobilize about USD 491 million required to implement the plan between 2021 and 2025.

President Weah said his government was working towards establishment of a carbon trading mechanism as promised during last year’s climate change conference of parties, COP26 held in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, who was appointed the climate change Ambassador for West Africa, commended the NDC Implementation Plan as the Government of Liberia’s first ever effort of moving a multilateral environmental agreement from the shelf into an actionable road map.

He said the NDC Implementation Plan was fully aligned with the Government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).

UK’s Ambassador to Liberia H.E. Neil Bradley commended the Government of Liberia for setting off the NDC implementation, affirming the need for proper financing of the NDC Implementation Plan saying the international community must scale up “the billions of dollars being directed to climate action into trillions of dollars”.

Ambassador Bradley said the world was moving from one cycle of disaster followed by rebuilding to another, the cycles increasing in frequency and ferocity, saying climate justice has been shown to be inextricably linked with social and economic justice.

“If we don’t bend the curve of global warming downwards in this decade, we will go beyond the ability of the planet and people’s ability to adapt to the impacts of climate change,” he warned.

Sweden’s Ambassador to Liberia and Sierra Leone, H. E. Urban Sjöström commended the Government of Liberia for developing and setting in motion the NDC Implementation Plan calling for inclusivity, accountability, and transparency.

“In order to make transformative change, we need more voices during implementation of the NDCs. The implementation must be guided by inclusivity, transparency, and accountability,” the Ambassador said.

The Chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, Loretta Alethea Pope Kai, commended the Government for the “historic” inclusion of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the launch of the NDC Implementation Plan, calling for a deepening of the involvement of CSOs in climate actions.

Ezekiel Nyanfor, a youth climate activist urged the government to go beyond symbolic youth inclusion by inviting them to meetings and climate events, to skilling them to take part in implementation of climate projects, climate negotiations such as the upcoming COP27, and supporting their projects.

UNDP Liberia’s Resident Representative Stephen Rodriques described the launch of the NDC Implementation Plan as “a clear commitment of the Government of Liberia to take ownership and lead the national drive to combat climate change”.

Mr. Rodriques reminded everyone that the climate is undisputedly changing, and that the need for action is more urgent than ever, as the climate emergency is projected to get considerably worse in future.

“From the science, we can hear the cries of people dying in the future; we can clearly see climate disasters coming,” said Mr. Rodriques, as he highlighted crop failure and crop loss due to unprecedentedly heavy rainfall and flooding in Panta, Bong County and Foya in Lofa County. He also highlighted global disasters experienced since June 2022, including floods caused by heavier than usual monsoon rains and melting glaciers in Pakistan that have killed more than 1,700 people, and severe heat, storm, drought, and fires experienced in Europe and North America.

“Even though Liberia is not contributing much to global warming we must act now because the consequences of climate change are most devastating in the global South. We cannot afford to sit and wait for developed countries to act. Liberia must more forward proactively to implement the NDC plan while forging partnerships to increase investment in climate adaptation and mitigation,” said Mr. Rodriques.

He reiterated UNDP’s commitment to continue supporting the Government of Liberia’s efforts to implement climate smart strategies that will help the country achieve its goals under the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), as well as the sustainable development goals (SDGs).