The Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) through its Community Rights & Corporate Governance Program (CRCGP) Wednesday, June 21, 2023, launched the Just Energy Transition (JET) project. The JET is a thematic program within the Green Livelihoods Alliance (GLA 2.0) Forest for a Just Future and it will be implemented in Liberia by the SDI from 2023 to 2025.
The JET project aims to promote renewable energy (RE), in recognition and respect for human rights. JET is the gradual movement towards lower carbon technologies. It will not negatively impact society, jobs, and livelihoods. But will positively impact the livelihoods of communities in Liberia and around the world.
Speaking ahead of the official launch, the Program Lead of the Community Rights & Corporate Governance Program (CRCGP), Mr. James G. Otto called on national-level actors, especially policymakers to begin to initiate and make real commitments to the global fight to protect the environment.
Mr. Otto said, “A critical contribution in this direction is a commitment to invest in renewable energy and the protection of the environment; especially forests.”
It can be recalled in 2014, Liberia and Norway signed a US$150 million partnership agreement. The Government of Norway partnered with the government of Liberia to halt the destruction of Liberia’s rainforest.
The deal foresees an end to new logging contracts, more scope for forest-dependent communities to manage their forests, and increase protected forest areas.
Liberia is home to 43 percent of the remaining Upper Guinean forest, which also covers parts of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast. It is estimated that one-third of Liberia’s 4.3 million people live in the country’s forests, with many more reliant on them.
As a right-based organization, SDI seeks to promote climate justice by collaborating with partners and allies to ensure an inclusive Just Energy Transition in Liberia. It connects locally to global levels for struggles to address climate change by supporting a Just Energy Transition. The project will be implemented in six (6) of Liberia’s 15 counties. They include: Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount (western region), Grand Kru, Sinoe, and Maryland Counties in the southeastern region).
Making a PowerPoint presentation officially launching the project at the Civil Society Oil Palm Working Group (CSO-OPWG) monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, the Lead Facilitator of the JET Project, Madam Angie Y. Fissibue said during the implementation of the project, they will be engaging every sector and organization relevant to the implementation of the project.
Madam Fissibue said “We will do more awareness on the positive and negative impacts of low carbon/dirty energy taking into consideration the effect it has on our environment and our survival. We will keep engaging and closely working with you [members of the CSOs] spreading the advocacies and ensuring that all hands are on deck for the full implementation of this project. We hold you dear to our heart so that collectively we can achieve together.”
“The energy transition is important to our country Liberia and its future growth and sustainability. Just Energy Transition (JET) in a simple manner will help us move away from fossil energy and toward clean energy in a way that also addresses social issues,” she said.
The JET project is new in Liberia and as such; research will also be done to review existing laws and policies on oil and gas as well as other environmental instruments in Liberia.
“This will be done by engaging line ministries and agencies that are responsible for oil, gas, and environmental safety in Liberia. The improvement of the governance process for Just Energy Transition at national and local levels will be very cardinal during the project. Our advocacy will allow communities and actors to see themselves as part of the process, because a just society requires the involvement of everyone. We will work with local government officials, community leaders, youth, women, and every stakeholder. We will partner with the local radio stations and other media institutions to spread the message in order to reach the larger population,” she said while making a presentation at the official launch of the project.
Making a brief statement, the Regional Program Officer of the Community Rights & Corporate Governance program (SDI) with oversight of the Green Livelihoods Alliance (GLA 2.0) Forest for Just Future Program, Mr. Richard N. Sam reminded the participants that the JET is very new in Liberia, but said it will speedily take root based on their continuous engagements at both local, national and international levels looking at laws and other policies.
“We work with the Environmental Governance Institute (EGI) and Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) in Uganda, Friends of the Earth Mozambique/JA!, Friends of the Earth Togo, Friends of the Earth Ghana (FoE Ghana), Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities (AERC), AbibiNsroma Foundation (ANF) in Ghana it’s the first time in Liberia and it’s all about transitioning from fossil fuel, mass sources of energy, extractions for metals, addressing human rights issues and moving to clean energy sources. So, it will mainly be on research, awareness, and capacity building, Mr. Sam said.