The Ministry of Finance says a high level delegation, headed by the Minister of Finance, Amara M. Konneh, is representing Liberia at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development known as Rio + 20.
A Finance Ministry release named other members of the delegation as the Minister of Agriculture, Florence Chenoweth, Gender and Development Minister, Julia Duncan-Cassell, as well as the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Anaya Vohiri.
The release said Liberia participated in a variety of events in support of the country’s development agenda at the conference.
With 50,000 participants including more than 100 heads of state in attendance, Rio+20 represents a pivotal next step in ensuring global alignment to the principals of sustainable development.
According to the release, the Conference is a critical step in the effort to ensure sustainable and equitable growth and development that is also environmentally conscious.
In Rio, an agreement entitled: “The Future We Want” has been reached on how to accelerate the implementation of sustainable development, in keeping with previous international agreements that promoted the need for environmental protection, while protecting the rights of developing countries to maximize its growth via the use of natural resources. This agreement expands global cooperation on the issue of sustainable development.
During the high level conference, Minister Konneh informed the gathering about the opportunities, challenges and progress that Liberia is going through to restore basic social services especially affordable energy.
He reaffirmed the country’s commitment to ensuring that Liberia will fulfill its obligation to ensure the protection and management of the environment in the framework of the goals of sustainable development.
The release said Mr. Konneh also called upon developed countries for financial and technical support to developing countries to assist them deal with the threats climate change poses to their development initiatives.
While in Rio de Janeiro, Minister Konneh has also had a series of bilateral and technical discussions with the Brazilian Minister of Mines and Energy as well as with major private sector and state-owned infrastructure and energy firms Oderbrecht, Electrobras and Petrobras.
In these meetings, he outlined Liberia’s development agenda stressing the need for Liberia to rebuild its infrastructure, particularly energy, and requested that the Government of Brazil partner with Liberia on this effort, the release said.
Minister Konneh’s requests were favorably received and it was agreed that a Brazilian team, comprising executives and technicians from Electrobras and Oderbrecht, will visit Liberia in July to seriously engage Liberian officials on the renovation of the Mt. Coffee Hydro Plant and transmission and distribution.
In another development, the Governments of Liberia and Norway also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on “cooperation aimed to increase access to sustainable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The agreement recognizes the need for “reliable, affordable and sustainable energy” that will meet Liberia’s 21st Century needs while reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions that destroy the environment.
By its engagement with Brazilian authorities, the Government of Norway and with other bilateral and multilateral partners, Liberia’s participation at the Rio+20 global conference represents a vital opportunity to ensure the fulfillment of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s pledge to provide “small light today, big light tomorrow.” Upon the fulfillment of the promises made in Rio, big light will have come to Liberia, the release ended.