February 28, 2024

President Weah; Land protection is important

Liberia President George Manneh Weah in attendance with world leaders at the COP15 informed his peers that the theme; LAND.LIFE. LEGACY: FROM SCARCITY TO PROSPERITY draws collective attention to the necessary preservation, protection, and managing land more efficiently. The Liberian Leader said, land is a major natural resource that is too often taken for granted, and it is important that conference become aware that, if it is neglected, or used unwisely, can become a wasting and deplorable asset. Mr. Weah noted that the connection in the Theme between “Life” and “Legacy” is profound, as they do not only derive sustenance from land but also have a duty to ensure that it will continue to support the lives and livelihoods of future generations.

According to Mr. Weah, it has been announced that the global stock of healthy land is being increasingly degraded through the combined effects of desertification and drought.  It is therefore important that they as leaders use the forum to formulate new policies and approaches to mitigate the negative impact of these phenomena, by restoring degraded land and combating desertification.

The Liberian Leader recapped his participation in Glasgow, Scotland COP26 last year October; “I represented my country at COP26, and fully participated in the discussions, because we are of the view that Africa happens to be one of the most vulnerable regions in the world that are heavily impacted by climate change, which tends to impede the growth and development of our dear continent. As I stated in Glasgow during COP26, the problem of climate change is not of Africa’s making, yet we continue to experience the worst consequences of it.   Drought and floods are beginning to occur with increasing frequency on the continent, and in many countries which have never experienced them before.

This has not only led to the deaths of thousands of our citizens, and the displacement of millions of our people, but has also caused a direct reduction in food security and an increase in cross-border migration of populations.  Unless we act urgently and decisively together to deal effectively with this problem, drought and desertification brought about by climate change have the potential to create major insecurity on our continent”.

Mr. Weah addressing COP15 stressed that the issue of finance is key to addressing land degradation and ecosystem restoration to avoid drought. He acknowledged and commended the various international mechanisms such as the Global Environment Facility, Green Climate Fund, and many others that are working with countries to address the issue of combating drought, reducing or preventing desertification, and restoring lost land.

The Liberian Leader alarmed that there is an essential imbalance in the current style of climate financing.  He noted that those who are the richest in terms of forest resources and biodiversity are also the poorest in terms of socio-economic development.

“We who are the lowest emitters of harmful greenhouse gases, and who bear the brunt of the impact of climate change, benefit the least from the solutions and financing for tackling climate change.  And we, who maintain and protect the largest remaining tracts of forest reserves, receive the lowest payments for these ecosystem services”.

President George Weah proposed the establishment of an African Carbon Trade Mechanism for the continent so that Africa’s economic growth and development can benefit from its forest resources in a manner that is equitable and commensurate with its positive contributions to the fight to reduce global warming. And announced that Liberia stands ready to host the meetings for the establishment of this Mechanism.

According to the Liberian Leader, with one of the highest annual rainfalls on the African continent, Liberia is not yet a drought-stricken country.  Nevertheless, in preparation for the unknown future, in 2019 my Government completed and submitted the first National Drought Plan, in fulfillment of the objectives of the UN Convention to Combat Drought and Land Degradation. He re-committed his government promise to keep thirty percent (30%) of Liberia’s forest will remain untouched, through the establishment of several protected areas. 

Photo Credit: Executive Mansion

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