UNDP / Liberia - Review of Financial Management Capacity, Setting up of Accounting System and Training of Staff- Environmental Protection Agency, Government of Liberia.
To enhance the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia in achieving its core mandates, there was a need to conduct a review of EPA’s Financial Management, provide capacity-building support, and access their ability to manage large funds under the National Adaptation Plans (NAP) project. The EPA is the principal authority in Liberia responsible for the management of the environment; coordinate, monitor, supervise and consult with relevant stakeholders on all activities in the protection of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources. As such, the NAP project was under the supervision of the EPA.
The NAP was a Green Climate Funded project introduced by The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support Liberia’s adaptation process for medium-term investment planning in climate-sensitive sectors (i.e. agriculture, energy, waste management, forestry, and health) and her coastal areas. It ran for 2 years and focused on these four components: strengthening institutional frameworks and coordination for implementation of the NAPs process; expansion of the knowledge base for scaling up adaptation; building capacity for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into planning, and budgeting processes and systems; and formulation of financing mechanisms for scaling up adaptation.
The NAP project contributed fund level impact towards strengthened institutional and regulatory systems for climate-responsive planning and development. To access the readiness and preparatory support of the Green Climate Fund and recognise the EPA’s capacity to manage large funds and meet internationally approved financial standards, an accounting system was needed.
The design and development of the accounting system were contracted to Bewsys by the EPA. The Bewsys consulting team scoped through the requirements to understand the objectives, mandates of the EPA, its finances, donors, and activities. To ensure that the EPA met internationally approved standards, the Bewsys consulting team reviewed EPA’s existing financial capacity based on recent audits. This helped the Bewsys Team to build an accounting system that reflects the operational and administrative functions of the EPA. The system was custom-built on the finance, monitoring and evaluation, document and library, reporting, system administration, and integrated content management of the Bewsys Regulatory MIS.
The system was designed to feature a real-time web-based database monitoring system that allowed for the acquisition of real-time data and statistics available for timely decisions, policy-making, monitoring, and project implementation. Also, a web-enabled integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) was considered in the development of the system to enhance support for regular operations such as a Project Management Information System (PMIS), and manage major business processes such as budgeting, donor financing, and fund management.
An HR management system was also featured to support operations on personnel management (i.e. leave management, travel management, salary management, performance evaluation, etc.). Understanding the demands of the desired system, the Bewsys technical team ensured that the system was designed to maintain the volume, storage, and speed for instant online data entry, recording, retrieving, producing, and analyzing the data and its contents.
In collaboration with EPA’s programmatic team, the system was piloted to ensure the functionality and feasibility before the full scale-up of the system. Additionally, the Bewsys technical team provided capacity building support and hands-on training to the EPA staff in areas of IT, software, and accounting packages.
The EPA’s execution in delivering on its national mandates and accessing international climate funding has been made easier with the accounting system. The EPA now qualifies as a delivery partner and National Implementing entity. With the introduction of the system, the capacity of department staff within the EPA has improved to adequately access and implement multilateral climate financed projects. This is contributing to creating an enabling environment to promote climate action and building strong institutions for the sustainable development goals.