The NEWS (Monrovia)

30 January 2013

Liberia: We Welcome the Delegates

editorial

The High-Level Panel of eminent persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda gets underway today in Monrovia with several dignitaries, international guests and investors in attendance. Already, some of the guests have arrived and others are expected Wednesday.

World Leaders And prominent personalities are due this morning to participate in the five days event. British Prime Minister David Cameron, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf are co-chairs of the High Level Panel of eminent persons. It also includes leaders from civil society organizations, private sector and government.

Wednesday's Conference Will be the first high profile meeting held in Liberia since 1979 when leaders of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU) gathered here to discuss the future of the continent.

The 27 Members of a High-level Panel were announced in July 2012 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and it is responsible to advice on the global development framework beyond 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Panel Is part of the Secretary-General's post-2015 initiative mandated by the 2010 MDGs Summit. UN Member States have called for open, inclusive consultations involving civil society, the private sector, academia and research institutions from all regions, in addition to the UN system, to advance the development framework beyond 2015.

The Liberian People are enthusiastic that the enormity of the conference is a manifestation of the confidence that the global community reposes in Liberia. That the days of violence have elapsed, and we've realized that democracy is the surest path to peace and stability. As a people, we've taken an oath never to return to the repulsive pages of history.

The Meeting Is intended to boost efforts to lift millions out of poverty and end recurrent cycles of violence in order to accelerate development in the region. The eight MDGs set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction, and a 'Global Partnership for Development.'

In Our Opinion, the HLP meeting is a serious opportunity for the people of Liberia to grasp. We must take advantage of the event to change our conditions by remaining civil and avoid unnecessary confrontations. We believe such an opportunity don't come easy. It took a lot of discussions and networking from the highest echelon of global power to decide on Liberia as venue for such important meeting. It means that we've improved our environment from a violent state to place of peace and stability. For ten years (since 2003), we've kept our country peaceful and stable, rejecting the temptation to go back to war. And we are determined to maintain the peace.

Over The Next few days, the HLP will be discussing critical issues about Liberia and the rest of Africa. While these issues may appear almost insurmountable to solve, however, we are hopeful that a way out would be found. For instances, poverty is a serious menace in Liberia, and it is one of the major reasons for suicide, HIVs, early child birth, gender inequality, among others.

We Believe That to find solutions to these problems, the role of the global community is paramount. It is our expectation that the conference would accentuate quality education and employment opportunities for young people after college. Today, unemployment in Liberia is about 85%, and there appears to be no solution yet. At the same time, maternal health and environmental stability are the new battle grounds not only in Liberia, but around Africa.

We Pray That as leaders of the world discuss these issues; let's remain hopeful as a nation that by 2015 solutions would be found.

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