UNDP’s Development Dialogue On Carbon Markets Pulls Experts’ Participation

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On 26 June 2024, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted the annual development dialogue under the theme, “Making carbon markets work for forest communities in Liberia” to prepare Liberia for effective engagement with carbon markets. Delivering the opening remarks for the online discussion, the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Louis Kuukpen noted that there is an urgent need to scale up solutions that support forest communities to effectively protect and sustainably manage their forests.  Kuukpen stipulated that Liberia has a total forest cover of approximately 6.6 million hectares, which is approximately 69% of the country’s total landmass with 153.45 tons per hectare of carbon. He, therefore, said, “We must scale up efforts to ensure that the livelihoods of communities are protected and that they can become viable agents for biodiversity and forest area conservation and protection”. In April 2022 the Government of Liberia reached out to UNDP requesting support for enabling the country to engage in carbon markets. Giving the overview of the development dialogue, UNDP Programme Coordinator Abraham Tumbey said, “UNDP accepted to support Liberia in developing a carbon readiness roadmap that would help Liberia achieve the twin objective of reducing emissions from forest loss, sustainable management and protection of forests thus contributing to climate action while at the same time enabling access to carbon finance to expand Liberia’s fiscal space and accelerate inclusive and sustainable development.” Tumbey further acknowledged the interest, collaboration, and partnership with the World Bank, the UK Embassy in Liberia, the Embassy of Sweden in Liberia, the West African Alliance on Carbon Market and Climate Finance, and USAID. Throughout this process, UNDP has consistently made it clear that Liberia has great potential for accessing carbon markets but there are requirements for dedicated institutional arrangements, legal national frameworks, and strategies to improve conditions for carbon market operations.  Panelist Lawrance Sherbo who is the District Commissioner in Kangba district in Gbarpolu country noted that it is important to engage with forest communities and respond to their questions explaining the importance of carbon and what development benefits are for them as communities. The UNDP Climate and Forest Technical Specialist, WahidaSha echoed Shaebo’s views stating that when projects are identified, communities must be informed on how they will benefit and what are their expectations for participation in such projects. She said more trust is built on how the carbon trust markets should work in communities taking into consideration the traditional knowledge of forest communities.  Responding to the attendee’s questions on what the government is doing to address carbon harvest, Nora G. Bowrie, Managing Director for Community Conservation and Carbon Harvesting said the government is working on developing a carbon framework and progress is underway with relevant ministries. UNDP is a global leader in promoting sustainable development, providing policy briefs, and supporting national development processes worldwide. The development dialogue seeks to convene leading intellectuals and experts to explore carbon markets and their potential benefits for Liberia.

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