30 November 2012

Liberia: Post-UNMIL Risk Under Discussion IA hosts Colloquium on UNMIL?s Withdrawal

International Alert, an independent peace-building organisation that works to lay the foundations for lasting peace and security in communities affected by conflict, will hold a two-day colloquium in Monrovia, Liberia to discuss the Stakeholders Risk Analysis and Mitigation Strategy for Liberia. The Colloquium will bring together representatives from UNMIL, Government Of Liberia representatives from the Justice and Defence Ministries, the Civil Society Organisations’ working group on Security Sector Reform, the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, the Women Peace and Security working group, the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia, the Federation of Liberian Youth, the Liberian National Students Union, the Kofi Annan Institution for Conflict Transformation, the Inter-religious Council of Liberia, the Independent National Commission on Human Rights, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, the African Union Liaison Office in Liberia, the European Union Delegation in Liberia, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Liberia Business Association.

Considering the pivotal role the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is playing in the Liberian peace process, this event will give all stakeholders an opportunity to discuss the aftermath of UNMIL’s withdrawal from the country and any risks associated with it.

The Monrovia Colloquium is the culmination of a series of activities under the project titled: UNMIL Withdrawal: Multi-stakeholder Risk Analysis and Mitigation Strategy for Liberia. Since December 2011, Alert and partners have been engaged in the conduct of a desk review of UNMIL’s mandate, stakeholders’ mapping, and mobilization and conflict analysis training of Risks Analysis and Mitigation Strategy (RAMS) Groups in Zwedru, Gbarnga and Monrovia. Each RAMS group, composed of ten persons, regularly met over a period of four months and also participated in two county-based colloquia, at the end of which they drafted reports highlighting their findings and recommendations.

The two-day national-level Colloquium will provide an opportunity for each of the 3 RAMS groups to present their findings and work to a wider audience. By also including presentations by representatives and stakeholders working in the peace and security sector, the event will open up a wider discussion on the topic, with the aim to put together a final synthesis paper with input from all interested stakeholders.

The Government of Liberia and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) are currently engaged in the transitional planning process around UNMIL’s withdrawal. Given the key role the UN Mission continues to play in maintaining the security of the country, its planned withdrawal is cause for concern not only to International Alert, but also to various UN agencies, government representatives and civil society organisations that have been involved in this initiative. The aim of this series of initiatives, and of this final Colloquium, is to invite civil society representatives, the international community and policy-makers to reflect on the risks associated with it and make recommendations as a vital complement, in order to deepen, strengthen and support the transition planning process.

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