Forest Sector Carbon Readiness Gap Assessment Report Validated

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On May 27, a significant milestone in Liberia’s commitment to sustainable forest management and climate action was achieved as key stakeholders convened at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia for the review and validation of feasibility studies supporting the Forest Sector Carbon Roadmap and Actions for Liberia. The primary objective was to get feedback and advice from practitioners in the field, from their various perspectives and was part of the quality assurance efforts for finalizing the report.  This collaborative effort marks a pivotal step in ensuring the long-term preservation of Liberia’s rich forest ecosystems while contributing to global carbon reduction goals. The report presents a collaborative effort summarizing the findings of a feasibility study that identifies the status of national efforts to support carbon readiness.  It provides an actionable recommendation to the Government of Liberia, supporting its efforts to identify readiness activities, set and clarify roles, responsibilities, and capacity gaps, set timelines, and map opportunities and risks in the carbon market related to the forestry sector. The event was supported by UNDP Climate Promise in collaboration with EcoHealth Alliance under the USAID-funded Community Works Activity Project. It brought together representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the European Union (EU), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ministry of Agriculture, UNDP, NGO representatives, and civil society organizations. During the review session, stakeholders examined the findings of the feasibility studies on several key areas including policy and institutional landscape, classification of carbon, carbon rights, benefit sharing, safeguard system, and capacity building. The meeting was concluded with stakeholders providing their feedback and inputs that are to be incorporated before submission of the document to the Government of Liberia.  Liberia’s forests, covering over 4.3 million hectares, are a critical natural resource for the country and play a vital role in the global fight against climate change. The validation process highlighted the collaborative spirit and shared commitment of all parties involved. Keynote speakers, including representatives from the FDA, the EPA, and international partners like the European Union, USAID, and UNDP, emphasized the importance of a unified approach to addressing climate change through government ownership, leadership, and coordination. Speaking at the program, the Executive Director of the EPA Dr. Emmanuel Urey Yarkpawolo called for broad collaboration across government to harness the potential of carbon markets, noting that the agency as a regulatory institution, would perform its statutory role and function and should not take ownership of the resources; committing to collaborate with other agencies such as FDA to operationalize carbon market initiatives in Liberia under a national framework to be developed. “The EPA is there to regulate the resources to conform with the environmental laws of Liberia and in keeping with international laws and agreements. We are committed to safeguarding the environment through sustainable practices and promoting public awareness of environmental issues” said Dr. Yarpakwolo. UNDP Resident Representative a.i Louis Kuukpen stressed the need for the government to prioritize the operationalization of a dedicated national inter-agency infrastructure with a clear policy direction and high-level political will to lead the carbon readiness initiatives, mobilizing all the development partners that are committed to supporting the government in this venture.  Mr. Kuukpen also called on the government to be resolute, harmonizing mandates and putting aside institutional and agency tussles to achieve the national agenda. “Today, we assemble not just as policymakers, scientists, or leaders, but as custodians of the wonderful endowment of this beautiful nation called Liberia and our precious planet. The path to a sustainable future is the path to progress. It signifies sustainable financing that can drive forest conservation, inclusive growth, and national development such as green job creation, and improved livelihoods for all Liberians, including those dependent on forest resources. It is the route to becoming a global leader in the fight against climate change,” he added. It is expected that the report will inform actions by the government of Liberia in developing a Carbon Roadmap for Liberia, setting the stage for concrete actions and policy implementation. These efforts are expected to enhance Liberia’s capacity to participate in international carbon markets, attract investment in sustainable forestry, and improve the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. As Liberia continues to advance its environmental agenda, the collaborative validation of these feasibility studies serves as a beacon of progress and a call to action for continued partnership and innovation in the fight against climate change.

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