The Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on Wednesday, July 15, 2020 donated assorted environmental textbooks to the University of Liberia (UL).
The assorted text books worth US$ 16, 000 were donated to the university under the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) Project jointly implemented by EPA and UNDP.
The books are intended to be used by students at the School of Environmental Studies and Climate Change launched on September 27, 2019 under the auspices of the NAPs project.
UL former President, Dr. Ophelia Weeks at NAPs inception meeting in March 2018 recognized the need of setting up of a graduate program in environmental science and climate change and sought the support of UNDP and EPA.
With support from the NAPs Project, UL on June 30, 2018 convene a high-level dialogue to develop a roadmap and strategic plan for setting up of the environmental studies graduate program paving way for the signing of a Responsible Party Agreement between the school and UNDP a month later.
The University in partnership with EPA and other government agencies, development partners, and national technical experts developed and subsequently validated the program curriculum and courses, which were successively approved by the Academic Coordination Committee and Faculty Senate of UL.
Asst. Prof. Benjamin Karmorh, manager for Multilateral Environmental Agreement and Focal Point on Climate Change Enabling Activities at the EPA said the donation of the textbooks is part of EPA and UNDP supports to the School of Environmental Studies and Climate Change.
Speaking on behalf of EPA Acting Executive Director, Randall Dobayou at the turning over ceremony held at UL Auditorium on Capitol Hill, Prof. Karmorh said the EPA considers the Environmental Studies and Climate Change Program as its baby and would ensure that it is fully supported.
Providing a brief history of the Environmental Studies and Climate Change Program, Prof. Karmorh said “I am happy to be part of a success story that started over 10 years ago.”
He recollected that former UL President, Dr. Ben Roberts approached him to head the program in 1998 when he got employed with the university, but instead asked that his former boss at the EPA, Dr. Foday Kromah heads the environmental studies program.
He lauded UNDP and Abraham Tumbey, Coordinator of the NAPs Project at UNDP for professionally handling the program.
Prof. Karmorh disclosed that the EPA is engage with the United Nations Economic Community for Africa and promised that he will champion the university’s ITC infrastructure need during the engagement with the institution.
“We want to make sure that the UL benefit,” Prof. Karmorh promised.
For his part, the Dean of the School of Environmental Studies and Climate Change,
Dr. James McClain thanked EPA and UNDP for supporting the program.
He disclosed that the school completed its first academic semester in February with 20 graduate students and over 100 students in undergraduate program.
Dr. McClain said the lack of computer and environmental scientific laboratories would hinder students’ publications and statistical work in environmental studies.
UL President Prof. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson disclosed that the school has within its first year of establishment embarked on several academic activities including the launching of the Least Developed Countries Universities Consortium on Climate Change (LUCCC).
He explained that the LUCCC is a south-south, long term capacity – building program that seeks to capacitate all 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to adapt effectively to the adverse impacts of climate change.
Dr. Nelson said another milestone achieved by the school is a collaborative grant that was submitted to the EU for staff and students’ mobility within African Universities.
“The purpose of the award is to help African Universities acquire more robust environmental knowledge and skills through the exchange of best practices, which will contribute to improving the quality and relevance of teaching and learning,” he said.
According to him, during this mobility program, the University of Liberia has been identified to offer a Master of Science Degree to international students from the other partnering universities in Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environmental Science.
He thanked UNDP and EPA through the NAP for the procurement of four Dell Desktop Computers and two filing cabinets for the school.
Dr. Nelson disclosed that UL will begin its premier E-learning academic special semester due to the ongoing health crisis that has engulfed the global community.
“As a newly established school, the setting up of a fully functional computer lab for instructional, statistics, and research purposes cannot be over-emphasized,” he said.
According to him part of the program is for students in the graduate program to publish an original research article in a peer-review journal, though the publication is not a graduate Thesis.
“Therefore, an Environmental Climate Change laboratory for the analysis of environmental pollutants and climate-related issues is fundamental to the growth of the program,” Dr. Nelson emphasized.
The Team Lead on Governance and Public Institutions at UNDP, James P. Monibah said the UNDP is honored to support the donation of needed textbooks critical for instructions, learning, research, and guidance.
He thanked the Green Climate Fund for the support to Liberia NAP project.