Coastal areas in Liberia are highly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. A large proportion of the coastal community lives in temporary and poorly constructed housing with little protection from rising sea levels or storm surges. Many live on very low lying land, often in unplanned, illegal settlements and with the expected rise in sea levels as a result of climate change, combined with increasing storms and sea-surges with significant negative impacts on the lives and livelihoods of people in coastal areas. Already, major economic sectors like fishing and farming are seriously affected as a result of increasing displacement of people caused by flooding and other climate change related disasters.
The Enhancing Resilience of Vulnerable Coastal Areas to Climate Change Risks in Liberia (Coastal Project for short), is aimed at helping coastal communities in three counties develop defensive mechanism against the effects of climate change. The project, launched by the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Liberia in 2010 aims to reduce vulnerability and build resilience of local communities and socio-economic sectors to withstand the threats of climate change in Liberia’s coastal areas. The project is implemented in three counties, hard hit by the effects of climate change – Grand Cape Mount, Montserrado and Grand Bassa.
The project demonstrates how low-cost, low-technology sustainable measures can be adapted to address the effects of climate change in the Liberian context. Through the Coastal Project, the selected communities showcase sustainable methods of community protection against rising sea levels, storms as well as how to manage coastal ecosystems.
- Outcome 1 – Capacity of the climate Change Secretariat enhanced to drive policy coordination in the coastal county of Montserrado to plan and respond to climate change.
- Outcome 2 – At the sites of Hotel Africa and Kru Town, sustainable and affordable measures to protect coastal areas against climate change impacts are demonstrated.
- Project inception workshop facilitated was held and it included participants from the MoME, EPA, MPW and UNDP, Ministries Agencies and Commissions, politicians, local and county leaders, civil society and the media.
- Facilitated a two days technical training workshop from across all the eight coastal counties of Liberia on how to measure beach movement; measure wave dynamics
- Completed local planning and consultation to determine project approach and objectives
- Completed a gender differentiated feasibility and coastal dynamic study for appropriate design that increase protection against climate change induced erosion
- Completed design of a low-cost coastal defense interventions, shared with partners and approved by GoL and partners.
- At present, UNDP and Government of Liberia (GOL), particularly the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), are rapidly implementing the holistic and sustainable solutions, with low-cost, coastal defense interventions through 3 project elements: (1) 1,200m protection seawall, (2) 6~to~25m beach restoration into the sea, and (3) community improvements, including drainage, waste management, and fishing docking areas. 400meters of the defence wall has been completed.
This project represents an effective step in the right direction by working together with the many stakeholders as a part of the overall Liberia Integrated Coast Zone Management (ICZM) Strategy and core national implementation demanded by the Government of Liberia (GOL) and Honourable President Weah.