Federal Coordinating Lead Author:
David Reidmiller, U.S. Global Change Research Program
Lead Author:
Katherine Weingartner, U.S. Global Change Research Program/ICF (through September 2017)
Contributing Authors:
Apurva Dave, U.S. Global Change Research Program/ICF

Looking Abroad: How Other Nations Approach a National Climate Assessment

Overview

In 2013, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Liberia commissioned the Republic of Liberia’s Climate Change Assessment with involvement from the Liberian government. This international support provided Liberia with additional capacity to advance climate science data to the benefit of Liberian decision-makers. The assessment focused on potential climate change impacts on key Liberian natural resources and used refined downscaled modeling to produce data more targeted to the needs of Liberian decision-makers.

Assessment Mandate and Objectives

In March 2013, the Liberia USAID Mission produced Liberia’s Climate Change Assessment to analyze natural resource vulnerabilities with respect to USAID climate change programs in the country. A key motivation for the report was to fill the knowledge gap caused by the loss of climate and environmental information during the country’s civil wars. Its objectives were, broadly speaking, twofold: 1) assess the vulnerabilities of natural systems, and 2) provide a knowledge base to promote national climate resilience and improve the condition of rural subsistence farming communities.

Assessment Process

Although this assessment was not nationally mandated or produced by the national government, several Liberian agencies were engaged in developing the assessment in partnership with U.S. federal agencies. It was prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service International Programs and reviewed by USAID. To achieve its objectives, the Liberia USAID Mission, in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, tasked a multidisciplinary team from the Forest Service Southern Research Station with conducting a climate change assessment. The team briefed Liberian agencies and civil society on the results. It also provided USAID and the Environmental Protection Agency of the Republic of Liberia with the modeled climate data and targeted training on how they might use the data.

Assessment Content Structure

The report focuses on the potential impacts of climate change on agriculture, fisheries, forests, energy, and mining. The assessment also touches on social vulnerability and the capacity of key segments of the Liberian population to adapt to current and projected climate change. It also examines the impacts on society from policy responses to climate change.

International Dimensions

This assessment was launched and largely conducted by an external international entity, namely USAID, though the Liberian government was involved in the process. The climate projections also utilized modeling tools and data obtained from the international community.


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