At National Dialogue To Support NDCs Target UNDP Renews Commitment To Support Liberia’s Carbon Readiness

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The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has renewed its commitments to support Liberia’s readiness for the carbon market globally and has charged civil society organizations to serve as voices of marginalized society so as to help the realization of the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).  UNDP Intern Country Representative Louis Kuupen said active participation of CSOs towards the implementation of the NDCs will help Liberia in the preservation of its national resources, most specifically its forest resources, which are of great social good to the rest of the world. The UNDP Country Representative spoke Tuesday, February 27, 2024 at a one-day national dialogue on NDCs with focus on the forest target.  The national dialogue, which followed series of several other dialogues including a regional dialogue held in Gbarnga, Bong in November of last year, is part of an effort led by the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) with support from UNDP to help Liberia achieve its goals outlined in the NDCs with emphasis on the forest sector.  Like previous ones, the national dialogue was graced by several civil society organizations working in the environmental sector.  Mr. Kuupen indicated that discussions around the implementation of the NDCs are of critical importance to the nation as their outcomes would help government make informed decision.   “We stand ready to support Liberia readiness for the carbon market. In so doing, we stand ready to help you achieve the regulatory framework that can help in the process. This discussion and many others will help because serious issues will be raised from which government can take action,” said the UNDP official.   He urged NCSCL and its collaborating CSOs to develop a roadmap that UNDP can use to help to towards the achievement of the NDCs.  “You must take advantage of this discussion to help in the achievement of the forest target within the implementation of the NDCs. You must see yourselves as active participants in the full implementation of the NDCs,” he added. Also with support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (Defra)through UNDP, the National Dialogue is to strengthen network-building and partnerships, mobilizing national and local CSOs to engage regularly and effectively in forest NDC climate-related processes. Giving an overview of the project, the Chairperson of NCSCL, Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai, explained that the national dialogue is intended to identify policies and governance priorities for driving the implementation of the forestry sector’s NDC targets, through a project which is being supported by UNDP.  According to her, the Council under the UNDP supported project, aims to network and strengthen partnerships by mobilizing national and local CSOs to engage regularly and effectively in forest NDC climate-related processes.  Madam Pope-Kai pointed out that the baseline is to enhance communication mechanisms to share updates on forest NDC action and relevant information to promote advocacy and policy brainstorming and support to the government and other stakeholdersFurthermore, the head of NCSCL asserted that one of the major goals behind the project has been to establish a multi-stakeholder driven process for tracking and reporting on NDCs implementation in the forestry sector.

Madam Pope-Kai told the gathering that the project aims to ensure that at least 25% of priority degraded forest be restored by 2030. She craved a smooth working relationship between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) so as to enhance the concrete implementation of the NDCs.  “The national dialogue is to discuss what is happening in the sector so as to push for possible implementation. We look forward to the new administrations at EPA and FDA to work together,” she noted.  She explained that as an apex body for all CSOs in Liberia with the influence and networking capacity, NCSCL will strengthen the multi-stakeholders working group (National Climate Change Steering Committee) to engage the FDA and the EPA on what has happened and how to increase stakeholders’ engagement to ensuring that the government meets up with this target priority.  According to her, the main focus of the Council is not to re-invent the wheel but to work and strengthen the capacity existence structures.  As part of the many activities, NCSCL has been able to identify different CSOs engaging on climate change and forest issues at the national and local level. Accordingly, the project also aims to strengthen coordination with the National Climate Change Steering Committee (NCCSC), and ensure that CSOs in the sector are aware of the forest targets through information sharing in monitoring the implementation of the NDCs. Liberia is known to hold 43% of the Upper Guinean Rainforest, which is a significant portion under the West African biome (EPA, 2019). Even though the country is noted for its advantages in biodiversity and forest cover, a recent land satellite land cover monitoring from the FDA indicates that from 2009 to 2022, Liberia has experienced deforestation in its Northwest and Southeast Forest covers landscapes and these are on the decrease while forest degradation has at least tripled everywhere (FDA, 2021). The total tree cover loss is about 1,918,352 ha from 2001- 2020. However, the FDA has recommended that the country institutes a strong legal and operational framework to manage and sustain the remaining forest resources in Liberia. Besides, Liberia’s NDC has set targets for the Forestry sector to reduce the national deforestation rate by 50% by 2030 (EPA, 2021). Additionally, the NDC has proposed that the country restore about 25% of priority degraded forests by 2030 and at the same time establish five new Protected Areas to complement the existing government commitment to increase forest Protected Areas to 1.5 million ha, ensuring a 3km buffer zone, by 2030 (EPA, 2021). Under Climate Promise 2.0, Liberia is one of the countries receiving funds from the UK’s DEFRA for a national project. Also speaking at the occasion, the Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Mr.  Rudolph J. Merab Sr., stressed the need for concerted effort in addressing issues regarding the full implementation of the NDCs and other environmental goals. He pledged the FDA’s willingness to working with all stakeholders in ensuring that Liberia achieves the NDCs. “We need your help and we will count on you. We will listen to your discussion here today and we will work together.” Mr. James Kermue Jr., Program Officer of British Embassy in remarks, indicated that strengthening the engagement of key civil society actors is pivotal in accelerating Liberia’s journey towards the implementation of NDCS and fostering a long-term Commitment to net zero and climate-resilient development. He reassured the United Kingdom’s commitment to supporting Liberia in achieving these goals, recognizing the collaborative efforts required for a sustainable and resilient future. “The UK announced at Cop 27 (Nov 2022) additional funding of £6m for the UNDP Climate Promise Initiative which brings the UK’s total contribution to £9million. With the first allocation of £3m in February 2022, Liberia benefitted £156,200,” stated Kermue.  “The funds are used to provide capacity building support to developing countries to increase commitments to nature and nature-based solutions under the Paris agreement through the UNDP Climate Promise.” 

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