This week, from Wednesday, January 30 to Saturday, February 2, Liberia will be hosting a meeting of the High Level Panel (HLP) on the post-2015 development agenda. The HLP was established in July 2012 by the United Nations Secretary General. He appointed 27 Eminent Persons from around the world to consult and advise on the development goals the world will set for itself after the expiry of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
The HLP is Co-chaired by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Having previously met in New York and in London, this is the third of four meetings of the Panel. The meetings in Monrovia will focus on how all countries can put in place the building blocks for sustained prosperity.
This is not a Government of Liberia meeting. As with the first two meetings, the agenda, the content of the meetings, as well as who can attend the Monrovia Meetings of the Panel, have all been determined by the HLP Secretariat in New York. And as it also was with the first two meetings of the HLP, the Monrovia Meetings of the Panel will be closed to the public permitting only the HLP members to attend and to participate. As such, no government officialswill be in any of the HLP meetings other than the President, in her capacity as Co-chair.
We recognize that the meetings will cause some disruptions to government business, to the normal flow of activities, and to our ability to move around the city. We are sorry for these disruptions and will do our best to keep these temporary inconveniences to a minimum. However, we believe they are a small price to pay because the HLP meetings provide an opportunity to show a 'Liberia Rising' to the world.
The fact that such a globally significant meeting is being held in Monrovia is recognition of the huge progress all of us continue to make especially in the areas of peace, security, governance reforms, democratic consolidation and socio-economic development. We can be proud of these achievements sustained over the period of the last 10 years. As a result of our collective hard work and steadfast leadership, Liberia is now seen by the international community as a country making significant progress, and importantly, a country within which to invest.
As one of the Co-chairs of the Panel, President Johnson-Sirleaf is also having a direct impact on the development priorities the world sets for itself. In this role, she is ensuring that the priorities of Africa and Africans – the issues affecting poor countries and post-conflict societies – areproperly reflected.
To host the Monrovia Meetings, Liberia's cost will be limited. The international delegations will be funding their own travel and accommodation arrangements. Most other costs are being covered through a generous grant from Sweden.
And so, as we join hands to welcome our visitors, on behalf of the President, and all of the organizers, let me thank you for your support in making the Monrovia Meetings of the HLP a success.
Thank you, and may God bless Liberia.
Lewis G. Brown, II