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Jeremiah G. Sokan

Liberia

Environmental Protection Agency Represented by

Jeremiah G. Sokan

National Coordinator, Climate Change Secretariat
Liberia nominated the Environmental Protection Agency as its National Designated Authority (NDA) to the GCF in October 2014. Mr. Sokan serves as focal point to the Fund.

Share with us a game-changer programme that GCF could fund in Liberia that would represent a paradigm shift?

When talking about Liberia it is important to first contextualize the country’s state of development—after a long period of civil war, causing infrastructure destruction and mass exodus of expertise, capacity and knowledge, the country is slowly getting back on track. Our needs are great and span all sectors. Looking to climate change, Liberia will be impacted by sea level rise as 70 percent of the country’s population lives in coastal cities. With a 560-kilometre coastline, erosion is a significant threat not only to the economy but the health of our citizens and their livelihoods. Heavy rainfall already today causes severe flooding in the capital of Monrovia where drainage systems cannot cope, essentially paralyzing the city and the movement of people and goods. If we can put in place effective coastal zone management and boost the defenses of the population and economy, we will be changing the game in Liberia. The establishment of the GCF is a breath of fresh air to address such issues with a long-term perspective. One such project we are working on focuses on the capital to increase climate resilience in this economically important and densely populated region of the country.

What are the major challenges and opportunities in implementing Liberia’s Paris Agreement commitments?

As a least developed country, a challenge for Liberia is moving towards a green, low-emission economy. Fortunately, the Paris Agreement provides a partnership platform where resources, capacity and technology can be made available from the global community and multilateral institutions. This will help promote sustainable development and shift our economy in a positive direction. The GCF is unique in that it can help mobilize the private sector. This is of paramount importance.

Why is the private sector an important partner for Liberia?

The business environment is weak in Liberia so efforts to attract and strengthen the private sector is a priority to leverage partnerships for implementing the country’s sustainable development agenda. We want to utilize the GCF to enhance and refine our engagement with the private sector to boost investments and attract capital investment. At the NDA level, we are working hard with GCF to accredit a national financial institution to serve as a funding platform to support other industries and companies to transform Liberia’s infrastructure and bring green innovation into the country.

How do you engage communities in the country’s climate agenda?

Liberia has a very effective bottom-to-top engagement process. Our experience from the civil crisis has given us a good understanding of how to relate to each other and the intrinsic value of effective communication. Today each community has a ‘leadership committee’ that brings together regular citizens, civil society organizations, women’s groups and other stakeholders to discuss issues of importance. This platform has been instrumental in communicating national priorities, including as regards climate change. To GCF specifically, the NDA has initiated many consultations, workshops and town hall meetings to solicit project ideas and increase awareness of the Fund. Overall Liberia’s approach to community mobilization has proven successful in sharing information and gathering inputs, and it will continue to play a key role in communicating our engagement with GCF.

Associated link

Liberia INDC