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Liberia and International Partners Join Forces to Boost Carbon Market Preparedness

Feb 26, 2024

Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County – Shafick Hoossein, a World Bank Senior Environmental Specialist from the Environmental Natural Resources and Blue Economy Global Practice in West and Central Africa, has emphasized the paramount importance of Liberia’s forestry in light of its economic development. Hoossein stated that the significance of Liberia’s forestry cannot be underestimated, making it a crucial concern for the global community.

By J.H. Webster Clayeh ([email protected])

Hoossein shared this perspective during an event in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, where Liberia’s preparedness for the carbon market was revitalized over the weekend. The two-day event was orchestrated by the REED+ Technical Working Group (RTWG) with support from Fauna and Flora, the World Chimpanzees Foundation, and the Rainforest Trust.

During the event, Hoossein asserted, “Liberia’s forest holds global significance.” This significance, he explained, stems from its unique biodiversity and its potential for both climate change mitigation and adaptation. He highlighted that the distinctive qualities of the forest have captured the attention of local and international entities.

He elaborated, “The rich natural resources within Liberia’s forest have recently gained more focus in the public sphere, drawing attention from the government, international partners, and grassroots organizations. This focus spans across various levels, from national policies to development strategies aimed at protecting global public goods and services.”

Hoossein continued, “We embrace the vision championed by His Excellency, the President of Liberia, during COP-26. At that forum, we stressed adaptation as a primary focus within the forestry sector, thereby setting an example and leading the initiative.”

Regarding environmental efforts, Hoossein shared the group’s support for and enthusiasm towards the mobilization of carbon finance through the carbon market. He emphasized the importance of aligning these efforts with the policy framework and national development activities.

He added, “We further recognize that for this process to succeed, emphasis must be placed on identifying previous consultations and tools that have already been implemented in the Liberia forestry sector project, which concluded in June 2023.”

Hoossein also emphasized, “As carbon markets are implemented, they must align with the achievement of NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) goals, involve high-intensity transactions, and address social and environmental safeguards, including equitable benefits for women, men, and local communities. As development partners, we aim to achieve concrete and tangible results that create value for all stakeholders.”

He concluded, “We urge working groups like this to persist in their pursuit of jointly determined objectives, while also implementing the Liberian climate roadmap that was formulated during the Liberia Forest and Resilience Forum held in February of this year.”

Michael F. Garbo, Executive Director of the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia, echoed these sentiments, expressing the desire for civil society to play a role in every step of Liberia’s readiness for the carbon market. While commending the Liberia Forestry Authority’s initial policy steps, he stressed the need for further actions before the country commits to selling its carbon.

Garbo stated, “Our aspiration is for Liberia to follow international guidelines that will ensure a safe and productive approach. We are especially interested in the welfare of the communities surrounding these forests and how the people of Liberia can benefit when the time comes to sell our carbon.”

Benjamin Karmorh, Chief Technical Advisor of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), confirmed that the organization, responsible for climate change in Liberia, is committed to working with all stakeholders in the realm of climate change. He emphasized, “We are currently dedicating our resources to Liberia’s revised nationally determined contribution, which outlines a robust climate action plan.”

Karmorh emphasized that this document takes into account climate-sensitive sectors within the country. He noted, “One such crucial climate-sensitive sector is Liberia’s forest resources. The nation hosts a significant portion of the Upper Guinea forest, positioning Liberia as having substantial potential for carbon mitigation.”

Indeed, Liberia boasts one of the largest largely intact tropical forest areas in West Africa, though these forests face immediate threats. These forests play a pivotal role in supporting local populations, especially in remote rural areas, by providing food, materials for construction, wildlife habitat, and various ecosystem services.

Buchanan City, Grand Bassa CountyBy J.H. Webster Clayeh ([email protected])