The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: EU to Hold Dialogue With Civil Society

The second Structured Dialogue in Monrovia with Liberian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) is scheduled to begin today.

The event, which takes place at the Royal Hotel in Sinkor beginning at 2:00 pm today, will be co-chaired by the EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Attilio Pacifici and Ms. Francis Greaves, Chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL).

Civil society institutions including the National Civil Society Council, NGO Coalition, and Liberia's International Non-Governmental Organizations (LINGO) will also be in attendance in addition to European Union Member States representatives.

The dialogue will focus on an update on the EU programming exercise, the role of CSOs in the implementation and monitoring of the Government's Agenda for Transformation and the Liberia Development Alliance, and the role of CSOs in promoting transparency and fighting corruption.

A release issued by the EU Delegation to Liberia says the dialogue intends to facilitate an open discussion about issues of common interest around EU-Liberia relations.

It also seeks to reach mutual understanding and build consensus on the main challenges related to Civil Society Organizations through an open and inclusive forum; finding ways to improve the effectiveness of CSOs, and to advance and strengthen partnerships.

Before the 'Structured Dialogue', the EU will hold discussions from 10:00 am with Liberian CSOs that are implementing the EU Non-State Actors (NSA) program which aims at supporting actions that promote an inclusive and empowered Civil Society in Liberia.

The second NSA meeting - the first one took place in November 2012 - would centre on progress assessment and challenges identified, and would also involve Non-State Actors (NSA) organizations including Care, Handicap International, Oxfam, Trocaire and Search for Common Ground (SFCG).

The Structured Dialogue is an initiative through which the European Union (EU) aims at opening a space for civil society organizations (CSOs) to reach mutual understanding and building consensus on the main challenges related to CSOs through an open and inclusive forum.

The Structured Dialogue will further discuss how to improve the effectiveness of CSOs, to advance and strengthen partnerships.

During the final conference of the Structured Dialogue organized on 17-19 May 2011 in Budapest, participants endorsed a Final Statement of the Structured Dialogue. The Dialogue brought together 700 participants from the EU and partner countries, with participation from representatives from over 60 countries, from grass-root organizations, national Platforms, the European Parliament and EU Member States.

The Dialogue is now considered a point of reference by all stakeholders. The Budapest conference was co-hosted by the Hungarian Presidency and by Commissioner Andris Piebalgs who described civil society and local authorities as an essential component of any working democracy.

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