UNEP Post-Conflict Capacity Building Programme in Liberia
UNEP commenced its post conflict work in Liberia in November 2003 by assuming the lead for the cross-cutting theme of “environment” in the UN/WB Needs Assessment. This responsibility involved integrating environmental issues and priorities in the needs assessment report, reviewing information from other sectors, holding consultations with stakeholders and fielding missions in 2003/ 2004. As supplementary information to the Needs Assessment, UNEP produced the “Desk Study on the Environment in Liberia”, which was presented at the International Reconstruction Donors Conference in New York on 5-6 February 2004. The report aimed at providing a rapid and strategic overview of the environmental problems faced by the country, and identified the immediate needs to be addressed during the reconstruction and development process. Overall, the study found that the misuse of natural resources has not only been a source of conflict in Liberia and the wider region, but has also sustained it. Furthermore, the massive movement of refugees and internally displaced people have had very serious impacts on the environment. Based on these findings and in consultation with the national authorities, it was agreed that an important contribution towards increasing national and regional stability would be to provide the Liberian Government with the capacity and proficiency to manage its natural resources and economic development in an environmentally sustainable and equitable manner. To this end, UNEP’s efforts over the past two and half years have focused on strengthening the enabling policy and legislative frameworks and the technical capacity of the country’s nascent environmental administration. In April 2005 UNEP established a Project Office in Monrovia, led by an international UNEP staff member.