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US$ 25M On Hand For West Point Coastal Defense Project …Says EPA

The National Coordinator of the National Climate Change Secretariat at the Environmental Protection Agency has disclosed that money has been provided for the construction of the Coastal Defense Project in West Point.

He said the overriding objective of the engagement is to enhance national and local ownership in the implementation of these projects, and at the same time create avenue for smooth implementation.

Speaking yesterday at the stakeholders’ consultation and awareness on Enhancing Climate Information System for Resilient Development in West Point, Jeremiah Sokan explained that the amount of US$ 25 million has been given by their partners and that of the Government of Liberia.

Sokan noted that the government and its partners have already hired those that are responsible for the construction of the project and that the UNDP currently has US$ 1 million for keep till the commencement of the project.

He assured residents of West Point that the defense project once started will be completed with the new project.

West Point is vulnerable to climate change effects including sea level rise and the increased frequency of high-intensity storms and so the construction of a coastal defense would address barriers to effective climate change adaptation in the coastal area.

Recently, the government through the EPA launched the Monrovia Metropolitan Coastal Resilience Project (MMCRP) in the slum of West Point intended to address barriers to the effective climate change adaptation in the coastal zone of Monrovia.

According to the EPA, the project includes an infrastructure component for the construction of a rock revetment in other to protect West Point against coastal erosion and storms.

West Point has an estimated population of 5, 206, 375 and it is a township in Monrovia located on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean between the Mesurado and St. Paul Rivers.

The densely populated slum is particularly vulnerable to climate effects including sea level rise and the increased frequency of high-intensity storms which according to the EPA has resulted in coastal erosion and shoreline retreat thus threatening the sustainability of ecosystem services and directly impacting Monrovia’s fishery sector.

The most critical time in a project occurs right at its start. This is where everything required for the project’s success must be identified and duly considered. Critical as such is stakeholders’ participation and involvement.

The EPA is the nation’s designated and executing entity for both the CIS and MMCRP and in this capacity; it must ensure that all actors including the government, accredited entities and local communities are rallied to play their respective roles during the implementation of the projects.

The projects while in their proposal stages, relied extensively on stakeholders’ input therefore it is imperative that these stakeholders are rallied during implementation.

The one-day stakeholders’ engagement therefore presented an opportunity to gain national and local support during the various phases of the projects’ implementation.

In 2016, the Government of Liberia through the EPA in partnership with the UNDP Liberia Country office submitted a joint proposal to the Green Climate Fund for the Monrovia Metropolitan Coastal Resilience Project.

Liberia and the world at large face enormous challenges from the impacts of climate change. Liberia is increasingly vulnerable to climate risks and climate-related hazards due to low adaptability, weak human and institutional capacities, technology, infrastructure, financial systems, amongst others.

Climate vulnerability severely impacts Liberia’s priority sectors, including agriculture, food security, health, energy, water resources, forestry and wildlife, fishery, mining, industry, transport, and tourism.

Liberia’s coastal cities including the capital city, Monrovia, are extremely vulnerable to the climate change impacts of sea level rise (SLR) and the increasing frequency of high-intensity storms, both of which contribute to coastal erosion and shoreline retreat.

SLR is a significant contributor to accelerated coastal erosion, and along with the increasing intensity of offshore storms and waves, exacerbates coastal erosion, the impacts of which result in severe damage to buildings and infrastructure in the coastal zone.

Additionally, SLR is threatening the sustainability of ecosystem services provided by mangroves in the Mesurado Wetland at the center of the Monrovia Metropolitan Area (MMA) which is further exacerbated by urban encroachment, and overexploitation of mangroves.

These changes negatively impact the habitat for economically important fish species and the loss of these nursery areas will have a considerable impact on the fishery-based livelihoods of approximately 55,000 Monrovians, 46% of whom are women.

Writer’s email: billwincooper20@gmail.com

WhatsApp: +231770786013

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