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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Liberia: How Climate Change Could Leave Liberians Poor

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The World Bank Group’s new Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) for Liberia explores the mounting risks that climate change could undercut Liberia’s economy and push more Liberians into poverty. Highlighting the role of proactive action, the report calls for adaptation and better planning for

While Liberia is among the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases responsible for global climate change, it is among the most vulnerable countries to climate impacts. For instance, rice – Liberia’s main staple – is highly reactive to increased humidity, extreme temperatures, heavy rainfall, and the pests that flourish under these conditions.

The CCDR finds that Liberia’s rainfed rice production could be reduced by up to 13 percent over 2041-2050 from climate change compared to the baseline scenario. The resultant decrease in income and heightened reliance on costly imports could exacerbate poverty and food insecurity for many Liberian households.

Liberia is likely to face a growing threat from hotter temperatures, erratic rainfall, and climate disasters such as floods, windstorms, and heat waves over time. Yet readiness to adapt has been low, as the lack of detailed data on climate hazards and disasters has hampered effective risk assessment.

The Report discusses pathways for more resilient growth and intensified climate adaptation in Liberia, which hosts one the largest rainforests in West Africa and has potential for carbon markets and benefit-sharing from climate financing.

“This Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) examines Liberia’s development trajectory through the lens of the country’s vulnerability to climate change,” said Robert Taliercio, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

“It identifies Liberia’s development risks and opportunities, models various scenarios of climate impact and intervention, and proposes ways to strengthen resilience and finance climate actions that support Liberia’s development aspirations of inclusive growth and poverty reduction.”

The CCDR identifies four priority climate actions that respond to adaptation and migration needs:

  1. Climate Risks and Readiness – shifting towards a policy framework that integrates climate finance, risk, and coordination;
  2. Essential Infrastructure – upgrading and designing infrastructure built with climate risks and opportunities in mind;
  3. Human Development Promotion – moving towards targeted investment in human development to reduce dependency on natural wealth and increase climate resilience; and
  4. Sustainable Land Management – focusing on sustainable land-use across sectors, emphasizing community benefits from natural capital.

“The CCDR underscores the importance of leveraging the private sector in meeting Liberia’s climate goals,” said Kyle F. Kelhofer, International Finance Corporation Senior Country Manager for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

“It advocates for creating an enabling environment for increased private sector investment in climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy, and waste recycling to reduce energy costs and promote sustainable development.”

The Report calls for scaling up reliable water and sanitation services and enhanced solid waste management practices, including investment in drainage and flood protection systems to protect against heavy rainfall and storm surges.

It also recommends increased resilience in the operations and maintenance of unpaved roads and exploration of public-private partnerships for low-carbon mass transit solutions.

Looking ahead, the Report calls for improve monitoring and enforcement of mining and forestry sectors and strengthening capacity of the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) to regulate land use and manage conflicts.

 

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