The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr has told a gathering of environmentalists and county superintendents that he is aware that the environment cannot be improved in condition of poverty, nor can poverty be eradicated without the use of science and technology.
Speaking on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 at the start of a two-day National Dialogue on environmental issues affecting the country at Farmington Hotel, Margibi County, Dr. Blama said there is no conflict between environmental sustainability and development.The dialogue is being held under the auspices of EPA and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a financial mechanism for several major multi-lateral environment agreements which has allotted US$6.13 Million for Liberia to execute environmental projects.
Speaking further, Dr. Blama indicated that the dialogue is to initiate and animate exchange of views on how Liberian stakeholders with the assistance of partners can tailor program portfolio that gear toward consolidating the gain already made and advance substantive proposal which focus on long term development priority in the new spending period.
He explained that it is expected that the dialogue will therefore consider and build upon recent gains and re-direct focus mostly on synergistic and integrated project portfolios; which have been identified in recent past as key priority, if we are to turn the corner. He noted that what comes to focus includes the issue of smart agriculture system, coastal management system in the face of climate variability.
“Ecosystem approaches to natural resources capital accounting system to integrate the values of our natural resources into our national accounting system where policy-makers will see the dollar value of our natural resource to compare them make informed decisions about environmental resources,” he added. Dr. Blama further noted “this we believe will not only strengthen our ability, but will also provide opportunity for future generation and to also inherit a Liberia still consider among equals as hotspot for diversity of species, ecosystems and where humanity lives in peace with nature.” According to him, Liberians like others around the world are equally concern about the rapid deterioration of flora and fauna species and disclosed that some of our flagship fauna species have almost wipeout, miles of forest destroyed even though our development activities still in its infancy.
GEF Lead Environment Specialist, Dr. Mohamed Bakarr disclosed that the ‘seventh four year cycle’ of the GEF, a partnership of donors, recipient countries, implementing agencies and civil society organizations was just launched with US$4.3 Billion pledged by donor countries. Dr. Bakarr indicated that Liberia is one of the 145 countries that are recipients of the grant and has over the years developed and implemented innovative projects across all of the focal areas.
According to him, the financing is provided in the form of grants and concessional finance to help recipient countries generate global environmental benefits-biodiversity, conservation, climate change, disposal of hazardous chemicals and waste, sustainable land management to combat desertification and conservation of shared water resources (marine and freshwater).
The Dialogue attracted over 70 participants from sectorial line ministries, agencies, academic institutions, international and national non-governmental environmental organizations, representatives of civil society groups and superintendents from the 15 political sub-divisions.