10 December 2012

Liberia: Nation Meets Over Vision 2030 Experts, Ordinary Citizens Pour Into Gbarnga

Development planners and theorists, national and local government officials, as well as ordinary Liberians, are today commencing three-day conference aimed at vetting the country’s multiyear development agenda in the Central provincial capital Gbarnga, where the National Steering Committee (NSC) of Liberia Rising 2030, otherwise known as National Vision 2030, are expected to officially present to the nation findings from a vigorous nationwide and Diaspora consultations. As The Analyst reports, swarms of people began arriving as early as last weekend and all it set for the national discussion.   

Scheduled for December 10-12, the Vision unveiling ceremony will provide Liberians an opportunity to further discuss and examine the result of the visioning process which ended a few months ago.

The national discussions, according to a release, will be formally addressed and opened by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf leading an array of Government officials. Other participants include members of the National Legislature, leaders of political parties, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, national youth organizations, and marketers.

The three-day National Conference will debate the findings of the draft report of Regional, District and Diaspora consultations. It will be conducted by a National Conference Committee, composed of members of civil society, of various socio-economic groupings and of the general public.

The Committee is chaired by Dr. Togba Nah-Tipoteh, an eminent Liberian, and co-chaired by Dr. Elwood Dunn, an eminent Liberian historian, and Ms. Kula Fofana, a strong advocate for youth rights.

Participants from all segments of the population, including the Diaspora Liberian community, have been invited to participate in this important national process to agree the country’s future through a structured national conversation based on impact of the past and present on the future.

This national forum is expected to approve a National Vision 2030 document that provides a guide to harmonious national development that benefits all Liberians.

The Secretariat of the 2030 Committee says throngs of citizens from all walks of life will converge on Gbarnga to make a final choice as to how they desire to see their beloved country in the next two decades.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other government officials including members of the 53rd National Legislature are poised to lead the dialogue on the country’s future.

Spokespersons of the Committee told The Analyst that the Vision 2030 unveiling conference will bring together an array of opposition political leaders, civil Society organizations, as well as national youth and other pressure groups, the media and ordinary Liberians.

National Vision 2030 is an 18 year development agenda aimed at among other things, transforming Liberia into a middle income nation by 2030.

The official website of the Vision describes it a non partisan process by which Liberians will build a consensus on the future of the country or the formulation of a shared vision through a participatory process - setting the agenda to address the social, political and economic challenges that confront and may confront Liberia over the next 18-years and perhaps beyond - and a development framework consistent with the long term vision.

According to the Website, the formulation of a National Vision is a broad participatory process for the people, by the people and of the people; setting and defining the parameters of - political, economic and social development - for building a reconciled and unified nation. A nation envisioned where citizens share a strong sense of national identity and community, commitment to ethical governance, and government partnership in pursuit of national development goals. The visioning exercise belongs to the Liberian people and as such, the people of Liberia will set the agenda.

The participatory nature of the exercise, the Secretary says, is taking the discussion to the people across the country and beyond its shores.

It further states: “The conversation on the future of the country was set off at the Regional Consultations led by the president. Grouping proximate counties into five regions, the Regional Consultations provided citizens of the various counties an opportunity to dialogue on the future of the country and respond to findings gathered by the National Core Team on five system components. Similar exercise has been taken to the communities through the nationwide District Consultation process. To date conversation on the future of the country has been held in 156 districts. Following the district consultations the exercise will be extended to Liberians in the Diaspora to also incorporate their unique perspective into Vision 2030, to address some of perennial social, political and economic challenges confronting transformation in Liberia.”

It can be recalled in 2004, President Sirleaf unveiled the dream of making a long term development plan for the nation. This was done during her tenure as Chair of the former Good Governance Commission (GGC), now Governance Commission (GC).

In mid 2010, the Government of Liberia (GOL) through Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs (MOPEA) and the GC officially disclosed to Liberians of a long term development agenda, describing it as a successor to an earlier three years program-Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).

GOL began the visioning process by firstly holding a number of consultative meetings with development partners, friendly governments, international None-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) here.

As it is said to be a none regime and political initiative, the visioning process was break in 2011, so as to give way to the heated political season which gave President Sirleaf a second term.

Nonetheless, the process continued early this year when President Sirleaf constituted the NSC which is chair by veteran Liberian Economist Dr. Togbah Nah Tipoteh and co-chair by Youth Advocate Madam Kulah Fofana.

Liberians have since welcomed the endeavor, as was evidenced by their overwhelming participation during the various consultations held simultaneously across the nation.

Unlike ‘from mat to mattress, higher height and Vision 2024,’ the NSC has assured Liberians of its commitment to ensure that Vision 2030 is legislated by the 53rd National Legislature so as to keep successive governments’ feet to the fire, relative to the implementation of the vision.

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