UNDP leverages EPA experience through donor support

PRESS RELEASE

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the Environmental Governance Programme (EGP) funded by the Swedish International Development Agency- SIDA, is supporting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin its initiation of decentralization process to promote inclusive environmental governance that facilitates the platform for stakeholder’s engagement and input in decision-making in keeping with the Government 100 day deliverables outline on January 22, 2024.

UNDP will provide technical support including training on environmental governance and support the EPA in developing the guidelines for setting up the County Environment Committee, leveraging its broad regional experience and global expertise. The decentralization efforts are expected to continue beyond the first 100 days of the Government through the establishment of additional county offices in River Gee and Grand Kru counties with the deployment of staff and accelerating the establishment of County and District environmental committees.

The objective of decentralizing the EPA is to localize decision-making, increase efficiency and visibility, enhance accountability and environmental governance, facilitate community engagement, strengthen capacity building, and ensure effective compliance monitoring and enforcement and environmental education.

With its visibility in Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Bomi, Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, and Maryland counties, the EPA is expanding additional four counties with the establishment of 4 new county offices – Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Rivercess counties and the deployment of staff to conduct effective environmental compliance and enforcement monitoring as well as environmental awareness and education activities.

The expansion efforts are intended to increase the presence of EPA in 13 counties nationwide since its founding in 2003. To foster this effort, the Government, on April 11, 2024, appointed the Policy Council which is expected to add steam to the decentralization efforts.

With the financial support for the procurement of logistics for the county offices, the EPA conducted an assessment mission earlier this month covering the four newly added counties where the agency plans to establish the four new county offices to decentralize EPA operations. At these offices, staff deployed will conduct effective compliance monitoring and enforcement as well as environmental awareness and education.

During the assessment mission, the teams met with local government officials to discuss the EPA decentralization plan, worked out modalities for the establishment of county offices, and as well discussed plans to strengthen coordination between the EPA, local government, sector line Ministries, Agencies & Commissions, and local communities in the promotion of environmental management and governance.

Following the assessment mission, the EPA recently completed technical training for staff expected to be deployed at the new county locations, and an official launch of the county offices is expected before the 100-day plan of action by the Government elapses.

To enhance the capacity of deployed staff, UNDP provided technical training, conducted field missions, and will offer support to convene the policy council meeting from May 3 – 4 2024 at Farmington Hotel in Margibi county, where the guidelines for setting up the county environmental committees will be released.

The EPA was established by an act of the Legislature on November 26, 2002, and published into handbill on April 30, 2003, to serve as the regulatory Institution of the Government of Liberia for the sustainable management of the environment and its natural resources. The EPA operates on three basic legal Instruments: The National Environmental Policy (NEP), The Environmental Management and Protection Law of Liberia, and the Act Creating the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Act creating the Agency provides the legal mandates and authority to manage coordinate, monitor, and supervise in consultation with relevant line Ministries, Agencies and organizations, and other relevant stakeholders for the protection of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources.

The EPA management has fully reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to achieving the 100-day deliverables of the Government of Liberia and the decentralization process of the EPA consistent with the Act that created the agency more than 20 years ago.

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