Adaptation

Liberia submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UNFCCC in 2015, which provides the platform to integrate its Low Carbon Development Strategy into the country’s long-term sustainable development Vision by 2030. The country also implemented its Initial National Communication in 2013 and National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) in 2008.  Current climate change mitigation and adaptation activities are guided by the National Policy and Response Strategy on Climate Change (2018).  Liberia is one of the first recipients of the Green Climate Fund and a signatory to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. Liberia’s NAPA process identified several projects and urgent adaptation needs in which three projects have been selected to address the most urgent priority needs of the country. These projects, given by priority rank within the NAPA, include: (i) agriculture adaptation; (ii) a national meteorological and hydrological monitoring system; and (iii) coastal defense. In Liberia, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the primary agency responsible for preparing the National Communications under the UNFCCC and the NAPA. The country’s National Climate Change Steering Committee and Secretariat, established in 2010, are responsible for creating an intergovernmental framework for combatting climate change in Liberia.

Adaptation Options for Key Sectors
  • Cassava is the country’s second most important staple, and is more resilient to climate changes (particularly higher temperatures). Increased cassava production may provide a key alternative food source. 
  • Expanded areas of cultivation should be considered and trialed in the central and northern agricultural zones of the country.   
  • Investments in research and extension services can enhance the capacity and delivery of information to the agricultural sector, with particular reference to climate change and the implementation of adaptation options.
  • Liberia's government should work in the development of an appropriate policy, legal and investment environment, particularly with regard to property rights and land-use policy.  
  • Improvements should also be made to the weather monitoring network and associated weather information systems, including the publication and distribution of agriculture-specific weather forecasts on a frequent basis.
  • Energy generating capabilities must be scaled up for Liberia to become more resilient to climate change and meet its development goals.
  • Strengthened institutions and individual capacity needs to be built in renewable energy technology and management and policies should be designed to promote private investment in renewable energies such as increased hydro-power capacity and solar.
  • The country’s six main rivers: Mano, St. Paul, Lofa, St. John, Cestos and Cavalla, have considerable potential for hydro-power generation.
  • The rehabilitation of existing hydro-power plans remains a priority with great incentive for the country to build new hydro-power plants for increased production capacity.
  • Liberia’s health-care infrastructure needs to be upgraded to support more systemic climate change resilience. Capacity needs to be built to support the adaptation to extreme weather events and support the necessary response capacities. 
  • Delivery of training can improve health-care personnel capacity to prevent diseases connected with climatic factors.
  • Increased investment and a targeted climate-health-adaptation research agenda can support the identification and analysis of trends and develop indicators to improve health sector capacity to react. 
  • The development of Health Early Warning systems is needed, specifically for heat wave warnings and flooding.

 

 

  • Investment needs to be made in Liberia to support structural adaptation changes in the country’s water management infrastructure, planning for urban expansion, and sanitation and quality drinking water requirements. 
  • Planning and adaptation strategies for water resources in Liberia are also important to include within development strategies for agriculture and energy sectors.  
  • There is critical need to support the protection of river catchments and other sources of freshwater (including aquifers) in order to secure a steady supply of freshwater across all sectors and communities. 
  • A Vulnerability Assessment should be conducted on Liberia’s Water Resources sector, inclusive of the mapping, documentation and dissemination of necessary information to stakeholders. 
  • An increase in urban and rural domestic water supplies and urban sewage services are necessary to help combat sanitation vulnerabilities, water-borne diseases and their social and economic impacts. 
  • Climate change impacts in Liberia should be mainstreamed in all water resources management plans and programs to secure environmental safety and sustainable fresh water supply for the country in the immediate, near and long-term future.
  • Adaptation and improved coastal zone management should focus on reducing the environmental and socio-economic impact form catastrophic floods, coastal erosion, and sea level rise; specifically, in settled areas. 
  • Policies for aquaculture, urban infrastructure, integrated coastal management as well as flood-related disaster risk responses need to be developed and implemented and related physical planning and building control measures and regulations should be instituted.
  • Liberia should promote disaster risk management, disaster preparedness, and protective infrastructure (e.g. seawalls and flood reservoirs) to protect against rising sea level. 
  • Support should be directed towards the rehabilitation, management, and protection of wetlands and mangroves in order to buffer coastal communities from storm surge and coastal erosion.
  • Efforts should be made to establish mechanisms for coastal erosion control and promote alternative sources and technologies to enhance water availability with a focus on identifying and mitigating potential salinization of drinking water.
Gaps and Needs
  • Gain a better understanding of the timing and magnitude of incidence of several important indicators of climate change in the future, as well as the key vulnerabilities, development impact, and possible adaptation responses.
  • Widen the participation of the public, scientific institutions, women and local communities in planning and management, accounting for approaches and methods of gender equity.
  • Strengthen environmental monitoring capabilities for strengthened and more effective environmental management.
  • Enhance Liberia’s adaptive capacity through the rebuilding of the national hydro-meteorological monitoring system and improved networking for the measurement of climate parameters.
  • Strengthening of technical capacity to integrate climate change risk management into farmer level agricultural capacity.
  • Improve observational data through the additional of weather stations and hydro-meteorological instrumentation.
  • Improve technical capacity to analyze hydro-met data and project impacts across sectors.
  • Establish institutional capacity for providing timely early warning systems.
  • Development of early warning systems about dangerous hydrometeorological phenomena and climate risk management.
  • Ensure integration of National Environmental Strategy goals in sectoral and regional plans.
  • Implementation of cross-sectoral climate-smart solutions at national and subnational levels.
  • Implement regional-scale cooperation among countries in West Africa and to emphasize the benefits of collaboration and institution building in the region.
  • Establish a National Steering Committee on Climate Change to ensure the integration of low-carbon, climate-resilient considerations into development planning by providing overall guidance, political support, and leadership, ensuring adequate resource allocation and monitoring the results related to the national efforts to address and adapt to climate change.
  • Integrate climate change concerns into relevant policies and planning processes at the state and national levels.