Protecting the environment in Liberia is the core mission of the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA). The Agency has put forth a vision to achieving such goals domestically and globally. The First International Environmental Sustainability Conference was held on September 21-23, 2011 in Washington DC, USA for the capacity building and logistical support of the EPA-L. The conference was quite a resounding success to which the EPA has endeavored to expand upon to attract more partners and further broaden the scope of educational awareness and institutional capacity building. EPA’s partners such as the Africa Environmental Watch (AEW), along with other partners in the US including, but not limited to, the National Council for Science and Environment (NCSE), University of the District of Columbia (UDC), Environmental Law Institute (ELI), USAID, United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), individuals and others took the lead in the planning and executing of the conference in 2011.
At the conclusion of the conference, there were tangible deliverables to the EPA and other institutions in Liberia that brought into consonance several signed MOAs between the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and The Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA), the William V. S. Tubman University (TU) in Harper, Maryland County, Liberia and the Stella Maris Polytechnic (SMP) of the Catholic Diocese of Liberia. As a follow up to the MOAs, a team of Technical Experts (TE) from UDC and AEW traveled to Liberia to conduct needs assessments at the EPA, SMP and TU in Harper, Maryland County. While in Liberia, the assessment team was able to meet leadership of over 15 government institutions and corporate entities regarding promoting environmental awareness and sustainable initiatives as part of the broader narrative of EPA’s five-year Strategic Plan. The Plan focuses on the promotion of environmental educational awareness in all sectors, critical review of environmental laws, policies and ordinances, compliance and sustainable future, that will not only make Liberia environmentally safe, but ultimately create job opportunities and economic growth for the nation.
Building on the Momentum
The Second International Environmental Sustainability Conference, which will be held in Liberia, is intended to build upon the successful outcomes of the conference in Washington, DC. Overall, we seek to identify and strengthen plus build on new opportunities in the context of environmental service improvement. We also seek to bring together stakeholders to further reinforce our partnerships and collaborations as well as other opportunities that would continuously enhance the capacity of the EPA-L in meeting the challenges and complexities of the evolving environmental issues which are both domestic and global in scope.
The proposed conference therefore is envisioned to attract the public sector, international donor and development partners, educational community, and the private sector, bringing in the industrial and business communities, civil society organizations and the general public. The overall objective is to work through the processes of analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOTs) of the Agency’s internal and external capabilities.
As a result of the First Environmental Sustainability Conference held in Washington DC, USA, Tubman University (TU) in Maryland County, Liberia, is to benefit from a $13M latex manufacturing plant that is being negotiated. The investors for this project attended the first environmental sustainability conference in Washington, DC and have since visited TU in Maryland County, Liberia for assessment. The plant will have the capacity to create 350 employment opportunities and other economic incentives for the Liberian people.
Since that conference, TU’s president and other officials of the University have traveled to UDC to seek needed assistance for other programs such as improvements of the nursing program at TU. Discussions are still ongoing and look quite promising. TU is also in consultation with UDC to build a $50,000.00 water station/solar panel on the campus of TU. With these current negotiations, the probability is great for realizing a boost for the region. Plans are being made to continue the Second International Environmental Sustainability Conference to TU to further illuminate and showcase what is coming to not only the county but the region. Overall, through this second conference, the EPA should be able to see its vision from the first conference bearing tangible results/outcomes. For the EPA, the Second International Environmental Sustainability Conference will showcase to the government (the executive, legislative and judiciary), the diplomatic, academic, industrial, corporate business communities, the civil society and general public, the thriving progress of the Agency in protecting and managing the environment in all sectors for a sustainable future where human resources, economic and social prosperity can be assured.
While challenges may still exist, with sustained domestic and global partnerships, the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia is poised to lead the way for a sustainable environment for Liberia – now and tomorrow!
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