1 August 2008

Liberia: National NGO Policy Launched For Coordination between Govt, NGO

This paper has learned that the government of Liberia has launched what is referred to as "National NGO Policy" intended to guide the establishment, registration and operations of Non-Governmental Organizations in the country.

A statement issued in Monrovia said the policy will ensure better coordination among government ministries and agencies involved with NGOs operation and establish a coherent process for accreditation and distribution of programs and activities across the country.

The policy will provide the enabling environment for the smooth operation of NGOs at the same time ensuring stronger accountability and transparency within the NGO sector.

Launching the NGO Policy document early this week in Monrovia, outgoing Planning and Economic Affairs Minister Dr. Toga McIntosh said the document is a result of extensive consultation with stakeholders in the NGO sector.

The statement quoted him as saying: "the policy provides a better coordination mechanism that will benefit all stakeholders and will guide NGOs in identifying areas of the country where their services are most needed to avoid the clustering of NGOs in one part of the country leaving the vast majority of the country in need of services".

Minister McIntosh commended the role played by UNDP, UNMIL and the civil society in the process leading to the finalization of the policy document. He called for the establishment of the National NGO Council.

The National NGO Council will establish a Code of Conduct for NGOs in line with internationally accepted standards and create public awareness of the Code. The Council will receive petitions and complaints from NGOs, Government bodies and members of the public on violation of the Code.

Also speaking at the ceremony, UN Resident Coordinator and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General Mr. Jordan Ryan said "the National NGO Policy provides a framework which allows for engagement and cooperation between NGOs and the government and gives a greater clarity on the work that needs to be done".

He said the United Nations family is very committed to work with all Liberians to ensure that Civil Society Organizations play their role in the development and peace building of the country and building the relevant capacity for national development.

Mr. Ryan said the policy signals a welcome partnership designed to benefit the people of Liberia and it shows a strong commitment of working together to foster the democratic process.

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